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lapasoa

the right tempo of your song

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You have some nice idea for a new song and of course you want to record it on your CbB. Tell me please the way you  choose to get the right tempo for your new song.

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Quite often its a fairly simple case of playing in a drum/rhythm track and recording a demo track onto it (guitar, singing, whatever you want to do) and messing around with the tempo until it sounds right.

Sometimes I'll step away from the DAW, imagine the piece in my head and then use tap-tempo into an app on my phone (Metronome Beats Pro on Android is a good app for this).

It's very easy to select one tempo throughout the song, and not vary it. However, the tempo of a song/tune may vary for effect as the piece is played. Craig Anderton did a good article on this some time ago (anyone have the link?)  The choruses may speed up a few bpn, then slow for the verse, etc.

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I have found it important to write the song first, and know what you're trying to achieve. Once I start messing around with click tracks or MIDI drums it's easy for me to lose sight of my original idea and start working on something at the wrong speed. Then when I want to finish the song, e.g., write a bridge or more verses, the "feel" can be wrong. Some advice I was given that I've tried a couple of times is to play the song all the way through without  drums or click on whatever instrument you play, then use that recording to create a tempo map for the song. Subsequent tracks will follow that map (either automatically, as MIDI, or manually, as you overdub), even as it fluctuates, or "breathes." This won't work for every kind of song, but sometimes it does.

Of course, writing a million songs and recording them will give you the experience to "know" right away when you've got the speed right, but you knew that.

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What a friend of mine does -- incidentally the same friend I often "ask" for -- is use an existing song by some other artist that's similar to the one you want to write as a reference/inspiration. 

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2 hours ago, jerrydf said:

It's very easy to select one tempo throughout the song, and not vary it. However, the tempo of a song/tune may vary for effect as the piece is played. Craig Anderton did a good article on this some time ago (anyone have the link?)  The choruses may speed up a few bpn, then slow for the verse, etc.

Maybe this is the article you mean...

I always start a song with MIDI-based instruments because that makes it so easy to vary the tempo, which makes finding the optimum tempo easier.

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As someone who creates beat-less ambient stuff I don't even belong in this topic but I just wanted to say, isn't tempo something that is used to impart a particular feeling to a piece? 

You can take any known song and change its tempo in order to mess with its chemistry.

And some genres only work at 140bpm.

 

I'll get me coat.......

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I do it like this.

I free style record on my guitar the song I have trusting my tempo as I wrote it this is how it goes.

Then tempo extract that track so other tempo based items effects and midi can lock to the free form tempo. For upbeat stuff this is almost always around 120 bpm it seems.

 

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I write everything out. Then learn it and rehearse it.  So by the time recording starts, the tempo is pretty much set.

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22 hours ago, lapasoa said:

You have some nice idea for a new song and of course you want to record it on your CbB. Tell me please the way you  choose to get the right tempo for your new song.

I really never chosen a tempo. When i write a song, the tempo is there already.  When i pick up a guitar and start writing a song, as soon as I find the verse, intro or even the chorus, the tempo of the song is the tempo i am playing it at when i wrote it. Its all feel for me..

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Once I've written the song, I'll usually drop a MIDI drum loop and play along with my guitar.  I'll adjust the tempo until I find the right pace.  Then I'll record the audio tracks and specific MIDI parts.

Sometimes I change my mind and have to erase the audio to adjust the tempo (i know you can time-stretch, but i prefer to let my performance fit naturally).  The rare time that the song tempo will change mid-way through, I program it into the project (Time View, i believe - not at my DAW now).  That way the MIDI fits properly, and i follow along organically with the "real" instruments.

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I sing it/play it on the piano and whatever tempo feels natural to sing it, that's it. To get this to a bpm value, tap your foot while you're singing it, then turn on the metronome in Cakewalk and adjust it to match the tapping. 

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I do the following:

  • Select Views->Tempo from the menu to display the tempo map on the multi-dock.
  • Double click on the tempo list entry on the right hand side to bring up the tempo dialog
  • Click the "Click here to tap tempo" button 

 

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I do things a little different than most (no surprise there).

- I lay the idea down without a click track.

- I listen back to the idea and as long as its not a multi tempo song...

- Open Tempo tap using the Add a tempo change screen.

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1 hour ago, Slugbaby said:

Once I've written the song, I'll usually drop a MIDI drum loop and play along with my guitar.  I'll adjust the tempo until I find the right pace.  Then I'll record the audio tracks and specific MIDI parts.

This works for me too. For songs with vocal parts, I find it helpful to sing a scratch track before recording all the audio tracks. Sometimes the tempo that seemed right for the guitar or piano part isn't comfortable to sing to and needs to be changed. Like other people have mentioned, I like to use Tempo view to map out tempo changes throughout the song -- maybe speed up the choruses a little, add a slight pause at the end of a bridge, or slowly increase the tempo throughout the song. I just keep tinkering with Tempo view until everything feels right.

My workflow dates back to a time when there was no simple, reliable way to extract a tempo from a freely recorded audio track. If you wanted to use MIDI drums or other parts, it was easier to record to a loop or click from the beginning. I'd be curious to hear more from people who use Melodyne or some other tool to extract a tempo from a freely recorded audio track. How well does this work? Do you have any tips for getting the best results? I could see the benefit of this approach if it's workable.

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