How to add a marker in pro tools

If you are a Pro Tools user, you may find yourself taking advantage of the markers feature in the Edit window. Markers can be used for many things, but one thing they let you do is notate where each section of the song starts and ends (i.e. Verse 1, Chorus, Outro). I find this extremely helpful especially when recording another band whose songs I’m not as familiar with. Once we setup the guide track, we go ahead and put markers in so I know where to punch in and out as needed.

Seeing In Color

What I find very helpful however is to switch on the color option for these markers. It helps me see even quicker where the song changes. Let me show you what I mean. When you insert markers into your session normally, this is what they look like, gray and dull:

The first thing you need to do is go to your Preferences window. Simply click on Setup from the menu bar and choose Preferences.

Make sure you have the Display tab selected. On the right there is a section labeled “Color Coding”. Simply check the first box labeled Always Display Marker Colors and you’re done.

Close out of the preferences and flip back over to the Edit window and voila! You now have beautiful colors in between the markers, helping you identify sections of the song with a brief glance.

It’s The Little Tweaks

I know it sounds simple, but this one minor tweak can help speed up your work flow exponentially over time. And every minute and ever second you can get back by having a streamlined process and interface in Pro Tools is time you can spend on other things like mixing or trying something creative that would otherwise be a time waster.

Markers in Pro Tools

This blog is part of our new series of tutorials based on Avid’s flagship Digital Audio Workstation, Pro Tools.

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Getting started with Markers in Pro Tools

Pro Tools is a software that lets you produce, record, edit and mix audio as well as MIDI performances.

If you are producing music in Pro Tools, often you will yourself in situations in which you write music in “blocks” such as verses, choruses, bridges, etc.

Once you have written these parts, you can benefit from having a graphical timeline in which these parts are labeled with their respective names such as “Verse 1” or “Chorus 3” for example.

Having these parts displayed not only lets you order the song logically, but also navigate through these parts faster, especially when mixing.

On this tutorial, we will explore an overview of the Markers in Pro Tools:

Create or open an existing Pro Tools session:

How to add a marker in pro tools

Before we start adding markers, we need to make sure the colors are enabled for the markers.

2. Click on Pro Tools – >Preferences:

How to add a marker in pro tools

The Preferences Window will open as:

How to add a marker in pro tools

Make sure you are on the “Display” tab and check the “Always Display Marker Colors” box:

Now we can start adding markers to our Session.

Suppose we want to add a marker at the start of the Song, right at bar #1.

3. Locate your cursor and playback at bar #1:

How to add a marker in pro tools

4. Click on the “+” sign next to “Markers”:

The New Memory Location window will open as:

How to add a marker in pro tools

This window has some parameters that we can define as:

  • Number: This field lets you type the number associated to the marker’s order.
  • Name: This field lets you type the name of the marker
  • Time Properties: These options let you select between “Marker”, “Selection” and “None”
  • Reference: This drop-down list lets you select the location reference of the marker.
  • General properties: This list shows miscellaneous options you can assign to your markers.

For the purpose of this tutorial we will create a Marker called “START” on bar #1. The parameters will be set as:

  • Number: 1.
  • Name: START
  • Time Properties: Marker
  • Reference: Bar|Beat.
  • General properties: All unchecked.

5. Apply the previous configurations to the New Memory Location window:

How to add a marker in pro tools

6. Press “OK” and the marker will be created as:

How to add a marker in pro tools

7. Repeat these steps to create other markers within the song:

How to add a marker in pro tools

We have successfully created our Markers in Pro Tools.

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Introduction

Song writers and composers who use Pro Tools to create their songs will often find themselves collaborating with other musicians, it may be to add another instruments or perhaps even sending their sessions off to get orchestrated and transcribed for performers.

The sessions sent will need to be clearly organised and informative to ensure the recipient can get to work as soon as possible, and what can be more time consuming then having to listen through the song over and over to work out the chords being played?

Thankfully Pro Tools has a simple, but very useful tool, which is often overlooked by users although it can save a fair amount of time… Let’s check it out.

What are Chord Symbols?

Chord symbols are primarily timeline markers which denote the chord being played at that time and are displayed as a small yellow arrow which don’t look too dissimilar to tempo and key markers. It is worth mentioning here to save confusion that the chord symbols are entered manually by the user, as opposed to ‘PT analysing the session and placing the markers by itself which is not a feature unfortunately! Thankfully, the program makes it easy to add the markers into your session so you’re not spending more time adding markers than writing music!

While they may be mainly associated with the timeline in the edit window, the markers also come into play when working in the MIDI and score editing windows. We will look into its score abilities a little later on once we have a better understanding of what chord symbols are and how they can be applied to your session.

Quick Tip: Chord symbols are not contained when exporting a sessions MIDI data, and in fact have no effect on MIDI data within your session whatsoever.

While Chord Symbols have no MIDI relation, they can still be treated just like memory locations and tempo maps in that they can be imported into a session.

Chord Symbols In The Timeline

Below you can see a screenshot of the edit window timeline in Pro Tools, the image shows both key and chord markers although yours may look a little different, this is because you can customise your timeline to display only the tools you will be making use of in your sessions.

How to add a marker in pro tools

To choose which tools are available in your timeline simply navigate to View > Rulers > Chord Symbols.

How to add a marker in pro tools

You can also make the Chord Symbols visible by selecting ‘Chords‘ from the Ruler view selector or MIDI editor window as shown below.

How to add a marker in pro tools

Adding Chord Symbols

Chord symbols can be added in a number of different ways, it is most common for them to be placed at specific timeline locations with playback stopped.

Place your cursor in the timeline position you wish to add a symbol, grid mode is probably the easiest to use here to ensure the placement is precise. More information on edit modes can be found on our post here.

When you are happy with the cursor placement, you can either click the ‘+‘ symbol to the far left of the chord timeline ruler, or you can also perform the task by holding the control key (Mac), Start (Windows) and then raising your cursor up to the chord timeline ruler where the cursor will change to a ‘+‘ symbol allowing you to place them manually.

As soon as you have placed a chord symbol you will be presented with the Chord Change Dialogue window where you can set the specific values, let’s take a look at customising the chords now.

Chord Change Dialogue Window

How to add a marker in pro tools

The chord change window will appear anytime that you either create or modify a chord and allows you to set the specifics of how the chord is built.

As you can see, the dialogue window is quite straight forward and simply asks you to select from the following options:

Chord (1): This is where you set the main chord key (eg. C, D, Eb…)

Chord Quality (2): Allows you to set the chord quality (eg. Major, Minor…)

Bass Note (3): Allows you to set a specific bass notes, for those who are not familiar with this kind of chord build, simply changing the bass or ‘root’ note can give the chord an entirely different sound.

Diagram (4): After you have set the previous options you will be given the final choice to choose which guitar tablature diagram you wish to use which will appear in the score editor.

When you are happy, simply click ok and you are done.

Making Adjustments

Should you want to change a chord which has already been placed, you can simply double-click the chord symbol, make your changes in the dialogue window and then click ok once more.

Chord symbols can just as easily be deleted by either Option_Clicking (Mac) Alt_Clicking (Windows) the chord symbol, or by making a selection across the chord symbol timline and pressing the delete key.

Sibelius

As mentioned, Pro Tools now also supports the feature to ‘Export to Sibelius’ from the file menu, this of course will include your chord symbols created in your Pro Tools sessions and would be particularly useful if you are a songwriter who wishes to transcribe your song for other musicians to play later on.

It is very common for musicians and songwriters to quickly record their melodies within Pro Tools making use of great sounding virtual instruments, and then sending it across to Sibelius when it is finished to tidy the notation up for performers and add more definitive directions such as slurs.

Final Words

We hope that you have found this article useful on what we believe to be a hidden helping tool for songwriters! If you have used chord symbols in your sessions then please do leave us a comment below or say hello on Twitter.

One of the fastest ways to speed up your music production workflow is to learn the keyboard shortcuts of your DAW. Using a mouse to point and click adds up to minutes and hours over the course of project, when you could be pressing a couple of keys on the keyboard. That’s why we’re starting a series of essential keyboard shortcuts that will help you use Pro Tools, Logic Pro, Ableton, Cubase or any other DAW much more smoothly.

Often when mixing or mastering, it’s important to be able to jump around to different parts or sections of a track. If you’re mixing vocals on a song, for example, you may want to be able to quickly jump from the chorus to a verse to hear how they’re interacting with the mix. This is where using markers can be a huge time saver.

A marker is a placeholder in your track that you determine as an important point in the mix. With markers in place, you can quickly navigate to the important sections in your track without having to use a mouse.

A simple application of using the marker tool is putting points at the verse, chorus and bridge of a song. But, you can certainly use markers as extensively as you want. You may, for example, want to put a marker at every important change in the mix, such as the point where drums come in or where the harmony line cuts out.

You can name your markers for even easier organization and navigation using the best sat nav . This can be quite helpful when you’re collaborating with others and trying to communicate about different parts of the track.

Logic Pro | Marker Keyboard Shortcut

In Logic Pro X, the keyboard shortcut to create new marker is ⌥ ’ (hold the option key while striking the apostrophe). You also can navigate to the next left marker (⌥ ,) and to the next right marker (⌥ .).

Pro Tools | Memory Location Keyboard Shortcut

In Pro Tools, markers are called “memory locations.” Creating a new memory location is as easy as hitting the enter key next to the number pad. To quickly move through these memory locations, hover your cursor over the markers timeline and strike the tab key.

Ableton | Locator Keyboard Shortcut

In Ableton, markers are called “locators.” Creating one is as simple as holding control and command while striking the ‘A’ key. Once they are set up, you can MIDI map buttons to toggle between locators using your MIDI controller.

Cubase | Marker Keyboard Shortcut

Cubase will allow you to set markers using command and a number correlating the marker in sequence. (Command 1 to set the first marker, for example.) Once they’re set up, hitting shift and the corresponding number will navigate to that marker.

A quick disclaimer: new versions of your DAW can sometimes mean old keyboard shortcuts are changed. Often an online search can quickly tell you what the most up to date shortcuts are.

Whether you’re arranging, mixing or mastering, having the ability to quickly jump to the different sections of your track without scrolling and clicking will save you time and frustration. By learning the keyboard shortcuts to set markers in your DAW you’ll gain a tool that will benefit your projects for years to come.

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Before you begin recording in Pro Tools you’ll want to setup a guide track. This will include a click track set to the right tempo and maybe a scratch recording or two. It’s easy to set the tempo in Pro Tools and let the click follow along, but what do you do when your song calls for some tempo changes? How to make the click follow those so you can still play alongside the grid? It’s easy, no worries.

Switch Out of Manual Tempo Mode

The first thing you need to do is get out of the default manual mode that Pro Tools keeps the tempo at. Usually you can just manually type in a tempo setting in the Transport bar/window. You’ll see the same tempo BPM reflected in the Tempo ruler over in the edit window. See below for an example. Our song is set to 130 BPM in manual mode.

If we want to have tempo changes however we’ll need to leave manual mode and instead click on the conductor track icon to switch. You’ll notice instantly that the tempo is grayed out in the transport bar and set to the default of 120 BPM. (If you wanted to change this back to 130 you could simply double click the red diamond next to the tempo in the ruler, and change it there).

Create New Tempo Markers

If we wanted to make a tempo change at Bar 3 in this song, we would simply click on bar 3 to place the cursor there and then click on the “+” sign in the tempo ruler to add a new tempo change. A dialog box will pop up asking us what tempo we would like to change it to. In this case I would simply type in my new BPM for bar 3 onwards and click “OK”.
Now if you look at your tempo ruler you will see the initial tempo (in our case 120) at the song start and then at bar 3 our tempo change to 100 BPM. If you have a click track enabled you will hear it audibly slow down as the play/stop marker crosses over the third measure. To make more changes simply add more tempo changes using this same method. You can even click and drag these tempo change markers to new locations, double click them to change the tempo, and even option+click them to delete.

How to add a marker in pro tools

One of the things I have found less experienced users of Pro Tools find confusing is the way playback behaviour can mysteriously change so that playback starts from an unexpected place on the timeline. This can be very frustrating but if I am asked why its “being weird”, it is often to do with the two buttons with the unfriendliest names in the edit window: “Link Timeline and Edit Selection’” and “Insertion Follows Playback”. While they don’t have snappy names, once you understand them you can finally feel properly in control of your session.

Edit and Timeline Selections

How to add a marker in pro tools

There are two kinds of selections in Pro Tools: Timeline and Edit. A Timeline selection is a selected area of a timescale ruler (minutes & seconds, bars & beats, samples etc). A timeline selection dictates where playback or recording will start and where it will stop or loop. It can be identified by a pair of blue or red arrows in the timescale ruler depending on whether any tracks are record armed. An Edit selection is a selection made on one or more tracks, actually on the track playlist itself. Edit selections control what audio or midi will be affected when making any kind of edit whether that is separating a clip, deleting, copying etc. The in and out points, when not obscured by the timeline selection arrows, are indicated by orange “pipe and a dot” markers.

Linking Edit and Timeline Selections

The most intuitive way of setting Pro Tools up is to link the timeline and edit selections so that whatever audio you select in the edit window will play because Pro Tools automatically creates a timeline selection to match any edit selection and vice versa. This means whatever you “point at” in the edit window will play, many users of other DAWs select exclusively in the timescale ruler and while this is perfectly effective, is unnecessary if timeline and edit selections are linked. To link edit and timeline selections either press the button below the Grabber or use the shortcut shift + /. I find I use Pro Tools with linked timeline and edit selections very nearly all the time.

Insertion Point

How to add a marker in pro tools

If you look in the toolbar display in the edit window you will see a large display of the current position of the playback cursor (more on this in a moment) and to the right of that, the start, end and length of the edit selection. You will find the equivalent info for the timeline selection in the transport window. If you click in the timeline without dragging you will create an insertion point. The insertion point looks like a blinking vertical line across the selected track. Playback starts from this point and a solid line moves away from the insertion point. This is called the playback cursor. It is useful to think of the insertion point as an edit selection with no length (i.e. the edit selection in and out points are in the same place or to put it another way, an edit selection is a “stretched out” insertion point).

Insertion Follows Playback

The “Insertion follows Playback” button changes the playback behaviour between two states. Unselected, playback begins at the insertion point, the playback cursor moves away to the right as the audio plays and when you press stop it returns to the insertion point. In this way you can repeatedly play from the same point over and over again. With the Insertion follows playback button engaged the insertion point follows the playback cursor. When you stop playback the insertion point position updates to the position of the playback cursor giving the same behaviour as a tape machine with playback continuing from where you last stopped playback. The shortcut to switch from one to the other is pressing N in command focus or if not in command focus press Cntrl + N.

Losing Selections

If you think of an edit selection as a stretched out insertion point then the annoying experience of forgetting you have insertion follows playback enabled, pressing play, and losing your carefully set up edit selection when you stop playback makes perfect sense. The insertion point/edit selection position updates to the playback cursor position and you, therefore, lose your edit selection. You can’t fix this using Command + Z but Command+Option+Z will restore the previous edit selection – Very, very handy.

Pro Tools’ Elastic Audio features powerful warping and time flexibility algorithms when editing rhythmic parts, dialogue and ADR.

How to add a marker in pro tools

The concept of warping audio is the movement of Transient Event Makers in context to the underlying audio in association. Music editors may conform Event Markers to a grid, consequently “locking” drums into place and producing “solid” time. Dialogue editors may warp ADR to the location dialogue attempting to achieve perfect sync. Whatever your reason for utilizing Elastic Audio, this tutorial focuses on the keyboard symbols, techniques and functions with their relationship to warping techniques in Avid’s Pro Tools.

Elastic Audio

Before we begin there are a few things to discuss when it comes to warping audio. Pro Tools offers real-time processing for Elastic Audio (displayed as a plug-in) as well as rendered processing for CPU conscious users. There are five types of Elastic Audio plug-ins to choose from: Polyphonic, Rhythmic, Monophonic, Varispeed, and X-Form (the later features rendered processing only).

How you elasticize the audio will vary greatly depending on what type of track you are warping. Percussive tracks with defined transient peaks such as drums or handclaps should use the Rhythmic algorithm. Audio featuring vocals or dialogue works best with the Monophonic algorithm. Choose the correct Elastic Audio option in the Elastic Audio pop-up selector on the track header (for multiple tracks press option to enable):

How to add a marker in pro tools

Analysis and Warping

To begin, we will select the analysis view from the track view selector. Now you will see the Event Transient Markers that Elastic Audio has generated. These markers notate the highest (loudest) transient peaks in your waveform. For dialogue and vocal performances, it’s common for Event Markers to be located at the start of each syllable and one where the last syllable of the vocal phrase ends. To add markers, press control + grabber tool. To delete, press option + grabber tool. Additionally, Warp Markers act as boundaries to the Event Transient Markers.

How to add a marker in pro tools

If you have a long audio track it may be advised to split it into several clips, as there are different types of warps that may affect the whole clip.

Range Warp

Range Warp is typically the most useful from of Elastic Audio, as it will compress the audio on one side of the Event Marker while expanding it on the other side. To perform Range Warp, simply hold shift and use the grabber tool to drag an Event Marker. This forces the adjacent Event Markers on either side of the Range Warp into Warp Markers, acting as the boundaries of the Range Warp. This allows you to change the relative time to each syllable without moving or warping any adjacent audio in the clip.

How to add a marker in pro tools

Telescoping Warp

Unlike Range Warp, Telescoping Warp applies time compression and expansion across the entire clip, or up until a Warp Marker. To perform the Telescoping Warp, simply click and drag an Event Marker. There should not be any Warp Markers near the Event Marker. When each warp is completed, Elastic Audio will create a Warp Marker at the end of the affected clip.

To create a Warp Marker, press option + click + grabber tool. To remove a Warp Marker, double-click, or option + click + grabber tool. To transform a Transient Event Marker into a Warp Marker, simply hovering the grabber tool over the Event Marker until the ‘Telescoping Warp’ cursor appears, then option + click.

How to add a marker in pro tools

The Accordion Warp

The Accordion Warp can only be performed when there is one Warp Marker inside the clip. This is important because this type of warp affects the entire clip, compressing/expanding across all regions equally. For this reason, the Accordion Warp is typically not suited for dialogue and vocal audio clips (though you may hear this type of warp during the impossibly fast speaking at the end of a radio spot). To perform the Accordion Warp, drag an Event Marker on either side of the Warp Marker. Observe how the entire region compresses/expands equally.

How to add a marker in pro tools

Conclusion

With many different types of Elastic Audio plug-ins to choose from, along with three warping types, experimentation is key when determining which type is best for you. In addition, there are third-party plug-ins such as Synchro Arts’ VocALign PRO that perform this feature both manually and automatically.

How do you warp your audio? Share in the comments below.

How to add a marker in pro tools

Sounds In Sync EdiMarker 2 has been announced. The release of EdiMarker V2 means that all the tools from Sounds In Sync are now 64-bit applications and so are now compatible with macOS Catalina. It should also mean that support for macOS Big Sur should be a little quicker in coming. In this article we have the details of all the new features add to EdiMarker in version 2.

What’s New In EdiMarker V2?

Here is a list of what’s included in this major update:

New 64bit app with updated user interface that is macOS dark mode compatible.

Ability to load and export multiple files of the same type in one batch.

Option to import Text files including Nuendo, Reaper and iZotope RX marker files.

Fields can now be delimited with a tab, comma or semicolon character.

Option to import Microsoft Excel files to avoid text encoding issues.

Option to read timecodes with a frame rate from 23.976 to 60 FPS DF.

Creation of log files containing locator errors when found during file load.

Option to convert frame rates above 30FPS to the equivalent standard definition frame rate.

Export AAFs or MIDI files. AAF files provide:

The ability to export marker comments.

Compatibility with frame rates above 30 FPS.

A way to append markers in Pro Tools.

You can download and install EdiMarker v2, and if you do not already own EdiMarker it will provide the option to activate a three-day trial license the first time you run it. Running EdiMarker v2 will not affect any EdiMarker v1 files.

EdiMarker v2 requires an iLok license which can be purchased from the Sounds In Sync web store. The EdiMarker installers can be downloaded from the Sounds In Sync download page.

NOTE: EdiMarker v2 requires either macOS 10.10+ or Windows 8+, while EdiMarker v2 licenses require either a 2nd or 3rd generation USB iLok.

What’s New In EdiMarker 2.0.1

Sounds In Sync has now released EdiMarker v2.0.1. This new version contains the following update:

Fix so application quits when the main window is closed for Windows version.

What Is EdiMarker From Sounds In Sync?

EdiMarker is an application that allows sound editors, sound supervisors and music producers to load markers into Pro Tools. EdiMarker does this by loading the data from a Text file (including a Nuendo, Reaper or iZotope RX marker file) or a Microsoft Excel file. It then exports this data as an AAF file or MIDI file which Pro Tools can import.

EdiMarker can convert one file at a time, or when several files need to be converted with the same file type and settings, the ‘Multiple Files’ tab can be used to batch convert a set of files.

EdiMarker Features

Imports Text files including Nuendo, Reaper and iZotope RX marker files.

Fields can be delimited with a tab, comma or semicolon character.

Imports Microsoft Excel files to avoid text encoding issues.

Loads markers with locations stored as:

a Timecode with a frame rate from 23.976 to 60 FPS DF (hh:mm:ss:ff).

a Footage (fff+ff).

Minutes, seconds and milliseconds (mmm:ss.sss).

Creates log files containing locator errors when found during load.

Converts frame rates above 30FPS to the equivalent standard definition frame rate.

Exports AAF or MIDI files for Pro Tools to import. AAF files provide:

The ability to export marker comments.

Compatibility with frame rates above 30 FPS.