Muting Instrument Tracks (and a little more)

When an Instrument Track is Muted, the Mute is actually an Audio Mute. This means muting the track is absolute and cuts the sound immediately. It does not behave like muting a MIDI Track where there is a possibility of having the last note(s) overhang after the mute and may be a desirable effect.

Obviously, a plug-in assigned to the VST Instrument rack solves the problem by providing both methods: Audio and MIDI muting. But sometimes this isn’t convenient…simply because you’ve committed to an Instrument track. Yes, you can swap over…but it’s time consuming.

A quick but less that perfect workaround is possible: use the Mute tool to mute the selected Parts. I say less than perfect because this method is not automatable and a little unpredictable, timing-wise.

In the process of looking at this, this came to mind: perhaps a simple modifier key when Mute is clicked. Example: OPT/Click Mute=MIDI Mute. Could be pretty handy.

Something else occurred to me while using the Mute Tool. This tool could use a Modifier key like the Glue Tool. Example: OPT/Mute(tool) to Mute All Following Events. Could be handy as well…particularly when you are trying to mute a single line of parts in a vertically reduced view where drag/selection can be difficult.

Any merit to this?

Excellent breakdown Weasel. +1 makes total sense.

Sounds right to me.

I’m in :wink:

The idea of suggesting this mute behavior mod as a Preference had occurred to me when I first posted. But I thought: why bother?….a modifier key seems like the least invasive thing to do. But as I looked at the functionality of the Instrument Track, I changed my mind.

The reason has to do the perceived functionality of the Instrument Track.

Although the track class combines MIDI data entry/editing and Audio (Routing, Sends and Inserts) into one convenient package*, the primary data entry and Part Editor are MIDI in nature.

So why force the issue of an Audio Mute on what is primarily a MIDI track? I guess it bolls down to how you work with the track.

If you work with an Instrument Track as though it were an Audio Track, then the Mute functionality makes perfect sense, providing the same expected mute behavior you’d get from a normal Audio track. But….if you are primarily creating music with VSTi’s and External MIDI instruments, then the incongruity of the two mute behaviors comes to light.

Depending on how you work, globally setting audio-centric or MIDI-centric Instrument Track mute behavior Preference (Mutes MIDI or Mutes Audio) might prove to be a better overall workflow convenience.

And here’s the kicker. Whichever global method gets set in Prefs could easily be overridden locally with the original modifier key/Mute concept. It’s a win/win for both schools of editing, particularly because the implementation doesn’t paint anyone into a corner. It’s all about workflow.

*debatable, regarding multi-timbral assignments