Track organization and workflow

We all have different preferences about how to work. For instance:

-Instrument track vs. instrument rack
-Adding tracks as you go vs. templates

Regardless of your preferences, shouldn’t there be a standard way of doing things when it comes to track organization?

Colors, folders, track names, and the order in which the tracks appear vertically are all organization tools that we can use to our advantage, but there is no one right answer on how to use them. You can use all of these in different combinations.

Here’s one scenario:

-High pitched instruments at the top of the screen, low instruments near the bottom
-Track color determines a tracks FUNCTION, not its instrument family. A red track is always a melody, a blue track is always an accompaniment etc.
-Folders determine instrument family (Brass, strings, synth, percussion etc)
-Naming convention is like this:
“1.2.3.Instrument description”
1 = instrument rack position
2 = MIDI port number
3 = MIDI channel number

Here’s another scenario:

-Instead of organizing by pitch, instruments are grouped in regard to their FUNCTION. Instruments at the top are always a melody. instruments at the bottom are always percussion etc.
-Track color determines instrument family. Red for strings, blue for brass etc.
-Folders do not lend themselves to this approach, because the instruments are already organized by function. A vocal which is in unison with a string line would be adjacent to each other, making it impractical to have a string folder and a vocal folder.
-Track naming convention: “Instrument description R1.P2.C3”
R1 = rack position 1
P2 = MIDI Port 2
C3 = MIDI Channel 3

What method do you use, if any? I’m sure we’d all be rich if we had a nickel for every time we got to the end of a project and found ourselves buried in hundreds of tracks routed to god knows where.

Interesting question, and since I’m so bad at this I’d sure love to hear others’ working habits. :slight_smile: I typically end up doing this so ad-hoc it’s ridiculous. “Okay, browns for guitars (because they’re made of wood). Ukulele… lighter brown. Strings… um… okay, red I guess. Okay, now blue for the piano tracks because this song is about water and the primary instrument is piano. Well, in the intro anyway. Okay, now I’m midi editing two piano tracks together and want to make it obvious which is which. Temporarily make one of them red, it’s an obvious difference. Now, also edit the midi string part. Oops, that’s red too…” etc etc. Same thing with track order. I try to put tracks near other tracks that make sense, but can never decide, like you mentioned, if a vocal part that doubles the guitar line should go next to the guitar line or next to the other vocal parts. Or with the “verse” tracks because it’s a key feature of the verses (yeah, sometimes I arrange and group them by what part of the song they represent but that usually breaks at some point). Depends on the day of the week and whether or not it’s raining out pretty much.

And I do tend to use folders when I need to bundle some tracks of some sort of “similar-ness” together. Not sure how the folder-group-edit function in C6 will affect that.

Very interesting topic.

I do it this way:

The project window is always split into two.
The back project window comprises all those tracks that do not output sound, i.e.midi tracks, marker track, arranger track, tempo track etc. Midi tracks are coloured in lighter violet and marker tracks, arranger tracks etc. are in darker violet. These two colours i don’t use for anything else.
The front project window comprises everything that outputs sound: vsti tracks, audio tracks, groups and effects. Colouring here is according to the track’s function in the song: rhytm sections + bass are blue; lead lines (vocals, solos, but also if there’s a rhytm section playing a solo or some sort of lead) are yellow; “midds” (guitars, pianos, organs, strings, synths) are red. Group tracks are coloured according to this scheme with the colour of what is mainly routed into them. The effect tracks have their own exclusive colour (green) independently of what they’re doing.

Audio and vsti tracks are named with small letters, group tracks and effect tracks are named with capitals. Vsti sampler tracks are not named after the vsti sampler itself, but after the part they’re playing (e.g. “drums” instead of Battery 3, or “piano” instead of Kontakt 4). Synths usually do not have such generic names like samplers and so the tracks are named after the corresponding synths (e.g. “Absynth”).

:open_mouth: :open_mouth: :open_mouth:

My organisation is a throwback to the Atari when (apparently) the sequencer scanned the midi from the top down so all timing critical parts went to the top of the screen.

Drums/Bass Kik very top followed by Bass then snare etc.

Now I still keep the kit at top Kik/s, Snare/s, toms, O/H’s, room, H/H’s followed by bass, guitars, then other instruments and vocals at the bottom.

I like to keep a tempo track floating about and move it to where it’s needed.

All tracks get meaningful names right at the beginning.

Group tracks get moved to immediately under the relevant parts and coloured to the same but darker.

I make extensive use of folder tracks to keep the arrange tidy.

Drums are always Orange, bass is always Green the others get coloured acording to what I think at the time but in a multi song project all songs get the same colours for the same instruments to make identifying parts easier.

I’m a big proponent of tiding as you go and making decisions early on, I hate faffing about and screen mess.