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Chapter 11.  Project Editing  >  Destructive and Nondestructive Editing

Destructive and Nondestructive Editing

Sometimes, we get musical ideas that require us to take risks or try things out, and listen to them see how they sound. If you don’t like it, it’s nice to be able to put things back the way they were. If only life could be so easy! Most of us have used the Undo command time and time again. When you are typing an e-mail to a friend, you can undo operations many times over until you get it right. However, if you save the e-mail, open it later to change things, and save it once more, you are replacing the original e-mail with the new one unless you saved the new version under another name.

Working with audio files is quite similar in the sense that a Cubase project offers you a way to reorganize the information inside the application without affecting the saved data on the disk. Furthermore, Cubase, unlike an e-mail text file, doesn’t even change the content of the files it refers to unless you specifically tell it to. If you applied the same philosophy to editing e-mails, you’d have a document with text that doesn’t change, but you could place this text anywhere you wanted inside the actual e-mail and then save the layout of the e-mail separately. In Cubase, the media files are called clips. These clips are on the hard disk inside a project subfolder appropriately called Audio. When you save a project file, the project itself does not contain the audio, but merely a link to the original audio clip. When you split an audio event and place it somewhere else, you are changing the reference points found in the project file to the audio clip, but you are still not editing or transforming the original clip in any way. The same applies for effects or volume changes you might add to a project; all of these transformations do not affect the original audio file. This type of editing is referred to as nondestructive editing.


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