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Moving Vocals & Tracks Between Sessions

How many of you have had a musical idea that can go in several different directions? I bet most of you have, it common with the creative cycle and it comes up quite a bit in production. Lucky for you, Pro Tools has some great feature that lets you quickly and easily deal with this situation.

Importing your vocals, or any track, from one session to another is a feature that has many different benefits in multiple situations: creative experimentation, music production, mixing, post-production, and re-mixing.

So let us suppose you want to import a vocal, with all of the settings, from one session into a new session. In the File menu of Pro Tools you will see a sub-menu called: Import. By selecting this, you will get another drop down menu that looks like this:


The first choice at the top of this sub-menu is: Session Data. This feature allows you to bring in information from an existing session into your currently open session. The really important thing to keep in mind is that you first want to open the “new” session you intend on bring any data in to. Once you select Session Data, you will be prompted to search for the session you want to bring data in from: your previous session that has the material in it already.


You can notice at the top of this window it states: Choose a file to import session data from. You will have to find the original session on your computer; this is why file management is so important. Once you select and Open the original session you want to import from, you will see a very intimidating looking window in Pro Tools:


There are many uses for this function in Pro Tools, but for what we’re doing you’ll mainly be dealing with this section of the Import Session Data Window:


The “Source” section refers to all the tracks from your original session. It tells you the name of the track, what type of track and the destination into your new session. When you select a track name, notice how it highlights in blue, and the destination becomes “New Track”. Every track in your original session is available to import as well as the Tempo / Meter Map, Key Signature / Chord Map, Markers / Memory Locations. You might want to consider some of these other options if the situation dictates. Per my example here, I chose to import Tempo. Key Signature and Markers, since I did not intend on changing any of these; I just wanted to try different sounds and a different style of production.

Since I chose to bring in all of my original vocal and background vocal tracks, as well as maintain the original song structure and tempo, my new session looks like this now:


Over the years, this function has proven invaluable in many situations for me. I think that once you start exploring some of the ways you can use it in your work, you’ll find a great workflow tool.

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