About This Tutorial

Ardour 4 Tutorial

Reading time ~4 minutes

This tutorial provides a beginner’s introduction to using Ardour for basic sound recording and editing tasks. It assumes you already have Ardour up and running on your computer. Please note that this tutorial does not (yet) cover any MIDI functionality.

For information on how to install Ardour on Linux and Mac OS X, please visit https://ardour.org/requirements.html. If using Linux, distributions such as KXStudio and UbuntuStudio offer a wide selection of useful music software, including Ardour.

The remainder of this page includes Credits and Conventions Used in This Text.


The main body of the manual was written during a Book Sprint led by Derek Holzer in the moddr_lab (http://moddr.net) at WORM in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, between 23 and 27 November 2009, with input and support from the international community of Ardour users and developers. The tutorial was originally written for Ardour 2.X versions. The original FLOSS manual can be found at http://en.flossmanuals.net/ardour/.

In December 2014, the tutorial was updated for Ardour 3.5 and moved to GitHub. The text was completely revised, and screenshots were replaced with newer ones. In August 2015, a similar revision was made to update all screenshots and text to Ardour 4.2. The 2014 and 2015 revisions were made by Bruno Ruviaro.

The Ardour community is invited to contribute content to this tutorial. All text and image files live in https://github.com/brunoruviaro/ardour4-tutorial, which makes it easy for anyone to fork, revise, and remix this text. More info here: http://brunoruviaro.github.io/ardour4-tutorial/how-to-contribute-0/.

This FLOSS manual complements the Ardour reference manual currently under development by the Ardour community, which aims to provide an encyclopedic listing of Ardour’s features. That reference manual can be found at http://manual.ardour.org/.

For a full list of Credits and the License, click HERE.

Conventions Used in This Text

Below are some basic conventions we have adopted in this manual.

Mouse Clicks

Ardour requires a two-button mouse to run (or the emulation of that on your system in some other way). A Click is assumed to be a left button mouse click. A Right Click refers to the right-hand button on the mouse. A “Control”, “Cmd” or “Apple” key pressed with a mouse Click is not the same, and may in fact give a different result.

Key Names & Combinations

The names of keys to be pressed are written in quotation marks and italicised, like this:

“Control”, “Return”, “Backspace”, “R”

Key combinations are written like this:

“Control” + “X”


“Apple” + “X”

Many functions are accessible in Ardour by clicking on the various menu items. Additionally you may need to access functions through the menus of OS X, Ubuntu, or other Linux distributions. To illustrate this we use two conventions: the first is illustration via screenshots (images), and the second is through a Syntax like this :

View > Zoom > Zoom to Session

The above example is shorthand for “first click on the View menu, then choose the Zoom item of the list, and then click on Zoom to Session”.

Glossary Words

This tutorial does not assume any previous knowledge of computers or audio editing, so terms which might be unfamiliar to the general reader are capitalized throughout this manual, and are listed in Boldface the first time they are used in a chapter. Glossary words are also defined in-line the first time they occur in the manual, and are included in the Glossary at the end of this manual.


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