Real copy or Ghost copy

Official support for:

How to copy parts by default: Real copy or Ghost copy?

Real copy
Ghost copy
Total votes: 27

9582 posts since 24 Jun, 2008 from Europe

Post Sat Jul 18, 2009 5:00 am

In MU.LAB, when you [Cntrl]+drag a sequence part, the part is copied to a new part but the new part references the same sequence.

This is also known as ghost copying.

If you want to copy the part and also copy the sequence to a new sequence, the also hold [Shift], so it's [Shift]+[Cntrl]+drag.

This is also known as real copying.

If you have created ghost copies and you want a certain part to be a real copy afterwards, you can always do: part context menu -> "Duplicate Sequence".

Now i wonder what the majority of users prefers as the very default for copying parts: Should it be ghost copies (cfr MU.LAB now as described above) or do you want MU.LAB to make real copies by default ([Cntrl]+drag), and allow making ghost copies using [Shift]+[Cntrl]+drag?

It might seem as a bit ridiculous question, but i'm convinced it's not.

It's about a basic behaviour which is at the front of the application, and which is an important choice musically.

So here is the poll :)

Oh, last but not least: Please avoid answering 'make it a preference'. I know it could be a preference, but that's not what this poll is about. And therefor not a poll option.

Curious for your opinion!

User avatar
1137 posts since 24 Dec, 2004 from Adelaide, South Australia

Post Sat Jul 18, 2009 5:50 am

I would have thought that setting the default to 'real copying' would give a lot more choice for the user. You can either retain the original sequence, or you can change the sequence and make it a unique clip, different from the parent.
Ghost copying gives you less options, so should not be the default behaviour.

I think I have that right...
Mixcraft 8 Recording Studio : Reason 10

9582 posts since 24 Jun, 2008 from Europe

Post Sat Jul 18, 2009 6:16 am

Euh, it sounds like you mean the opposite :o I'm sorry if this is a confusing question.

It's indeed easier to go from a ghost copy to a real copy (context menu -> "Duplicate Sequence") that to go from a real copy to a ghost copy (you have to select the proper sequence from the sequence list).

I think that's the reason why MU.LAB currently defaults to ghost copying.

But i had this interesting discussion last week and the person stated that defaulting to ghost copies may be less musical because it slightly tends to result into more loop based music.

What do you think?

User avatar
1137 posts since 24 Dec, 2004 from Adelaide, South Australia

Post Sat Jul 18, 2009 6:30 am

The default behaviour for clip copying should be, to create a unique clip each time a clip is copied. This would mean more flexibility because each clip is unique and can be altered at will and results in less loop type music, as that person suggested.
So, is this ghost copying or real copying?
Mixcraft 8 Recording Studio : Reason 10

152 posts since 15 May, 2009 from Germany

Post Sat Jul 18, 2009 6:43 am

In principle ghost copy as default is ok,
but sometimes I forgot that I've done only a ghost copy,
changed some notes, and by this also changing the original part by accident.

So my conclusion is: ghost copy as default, but by some better highlighting it should be more visible that's a ghost copy only.
Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler!

9582 posts since 24 Jun, 2008 from Europe

Post Sat Jul 18, 2009 6:50 am

That's real copying.

Yes the advantage is that each part can immediately be altered as you want, independently from any other part.

But at the same time there also is the disadvantage that if make an edit to such real-copied part and you want the other parts playing 'the same sequence' (musically) to reflect this edit, you'll have to copy the edit in some way.

Explicit example: (assuming a MU.LAB which defaults to real copies)

A newbie user starts a new session and creates a basic 1 bar drum part.
Now the composition grows and the user [Ctrl]+drags = copies the drum part to other places in the composition.

Now the user decides to finetune that drumpart a bit, e.g. edit the velocities a bit more to add more subtility in the drum groove.

Wouldn't he be surprised that the edit is only done in that one part?

Mmm, maybe i'm too used to ghot copies myself.

Maybe the newbie user would find it logical and would copy the edits back to the other places in the composition.

And when a user wants ghost copies (as a more advanced feature) he/she has to also hold [Shift] while [Ctrl]+dragging parts.

Sounds OK to me too. The idea is growing on me.

More opinions please :)

User avatar
1137 posts since 24 Dec, 2004 from Adelaide, South Australia

Post Sat Jul 18, 2009 7:20 am

Well, in that case, I don't really see the point of ghost copies, but to save a little bit of time. Tracktion uses what you term 'real copying' as default behaviour and it's actually better because you can make small changes on a per clip basis if you want to making for less looping and repetition. Otherwise, you simply leave it as it is. No need for ghost copies then. Real copying covers both areas easily. The only thing the user misses out on is seeing all changes applied across the clips at once, but I'm not really sure that's an advantage anyway. If you wanted to achieve that, you'd just not edit the unique clips.

I would have thought it makes more real world sense to a newbie user. You have two clips and you want to change a chord in wouldn't expect the other one to change as well. That would be annoying. You'd want every clip to be independent of one another. It makes more musical sense. We only talk of ghost clips because it's become a feature in sequencers, but when you really think about it, it doesn't actually make much musical sense to a new user. You'd just copy clips back and forth where you want them as you change them. That fits much more in line with default behaviour of most software actually. The ghost clip thing seems a bit redundant to me when you can achieve exactly the same thing with more flexibility by using 'real copy'.

Trackers, for example, have never worked on this basis. You create each and every note as you go along. Lots of people consider it a strength and a feature.
I personally would consider 'real copying' to be a strength in mutools, not a drawback.

27 posts since 12 Mar, 2002 from Hochheim, Germany

Post Sat Jul 18, 2009 11:45 am

another vote for "flipping" the shortcuts , because when I start creating an new track
, I begin with a simple sequence and make directly several real copies an modifie these.
After this, I start to arrange these sequences and for this I use then ghost copies.
And: I often forget to press the shift button. :bang:
ctrl+mouseclick for real copies will make my life easier...:D

User avatar
6331 posts since 8 Feb, 2003 from London, UK

Post Sat Jul 18, 2009 3:05 pm

Mostly when I'm copying, I want to be referring to the same clip. Clips are often repeated non-linearly - alternating ABAA ACAA etc, so I want to keep clip A and make the occasional change to make B, C... So the ghost copy is best for me.

Hun #3
4230 posts since 25 Mar, 2002 from A quaint little village just south of Hamburg, Germany

Post Sat Jul 18, 2009 3:10 pm

I was voting for 'real copy' to begin with but pljones's post made me realize that it's really how I do it too. I'm so used to the old system now. Whatever the final result will be, give the 'ghost copy' camp a vote more. ;)

9582 posts since 24 Jun, 2008 from Europe

Post Sun Jul 19, 2009 1:19 am

Just to be clear:

Real copying and ghost copying will both be possible in all future MU.LABs.

It's just about which one will be under [Ctrl]+drag, and which one under [Shift]+[Ctrl]+drag.

53 posts since 13 Jun, 2009 from San Diego

Post Sun Jul 19, 2009 3:26 pm

As a "noobie" I voted for "real" copy for Cntl/Drag, as this is more consistent with other software paradigms that I was familiar with already, and I am only now realizing, with this discussion that I had made "Ghost" copies. I will have to go back and investigate this phenomena. I know that it was in the documentation, but being new to the process, a lot of the documentation for learning new software doesn't become relevant until it "bites" you back, then I look it up and remember, so as to not be "bit" next time. Having both options easily accessible is clear, as you have described it. Perhaps the terms, "clone" and "copy" instead of "ghost" as a clone retains the attributes made to it's source, whereas a copy can be altered, at least this is how it works in 3D apps. Thank you again for your consideration of user input and the quality of the development.

User avatar
1301 posts since 21 May, 2004 from Serbia

Post Sun Jul 19, 2009 3:47 pm

I prefer ghost copy as default.

Clearer visual difference between ghost and real sequences, as EGGu said, wouldn't hurt.

48 posts since 2 Nov, 2005

Post Sun Jul 19, 2009 6:15 pm

I vote for ghost copies as default. I suppose it took a little time to me to get used to ghost copies, but once you realize how it works you find it very useful, specially when editing a section that occurs several times in the song, like drum fills and stuff like that.

59 posts since 16 Jul, 2009

Post Mon Jul 20, 2009 1:49 am


The default is already set to ghost and should remain so. It follows the MULAB style of speed and efficiency you have got the programming right first time.

MULAB does not need to follow the trends of other software it is unique and very special, it can make the way for others to follow.

The poll is in its early stages, but there is no land slide to make a change away from ghost copy. 249 views and only 15 votes. The majority of viewers have chosen not to vote which is an indication that most people do not want the change.


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