Absolutely Needed For Composers: gradually change the tempo using foot controller

Being able to gradually change the tempo (Retardando and Accelerando ) while recording using foot pedals in three ways:

  1. By tapping on foot switch new temp just like conductors do
  2. by tapping on foot pedal that increment or decrement the tempo
  3. Using a continuous Foot pedal to detect tempo changes either positively or negatively.


On the tap tempo:
I’m pretty sure you can do this. I’ll have to experiment to work out an appropriate work-flow (much of this will depend on if you’re wanting instant tempo changes in a live setting, or to fashion a tempo track while ‘recording’ a part), but I believe it involves first using the linear time mode while recording. Use a local MIDI transformer to convert your pedal stomps to a MIDI note on a track of its own (also set to linear time). If you like you could even assign that stomp track to some sort of Metronome click sound (You could use a sampler track, or send it to your favorite VSTi drum kit).

You’d want to use another local transformer to filter out your pedal events (or you could just run a quick logic editor to delete them later) for the track(s) that are recording your playing (minus the pedal stomps).

So effectively, you’d be recording 2 tracks at the same time. One holding your live playing, and the other holding your pedal stomps. Later, you could ‘merge tempo from tapping’’ and Cubase would create a tempo track for you. Go back to tempo mode, and hopefully things line up with the tempo grid all ready for possible quantification if desired.


On changing tempo via Continuous Controller:
It think this is possible using a Generic Remote map and a Virtual MIDI port. You’d need to record your live automation on a standard MIDI track which would be diverted into a Generic Remote Map via virtual MIDI port (Use something like loopMIDI if on a Windows PC).

I haven’t tried it yet, but It also might be possible to use the Generic Remote maps to bind a pedal based CC to ‘tap in a tempo’ during live playing. The catch here is that it’d only work in ‘fixed tempo’ mode. On the plus side, you could again use a virtual MIDI port and route the pedal(s) through a MIDI track and into the Generic Remote map; thus, making it possible automate the process of changing tempos on fly in a hand’s free manner.

Generic Remote maps offer a lot of not so obvious power user abilities. I’ve discovered a lot of interesting ways to automate DAW features that don’t have dedicated automation lanes using a regular MIDI track, virtual MIDI ports, and multiple stacked Generic Remote maps. Examples include automating things like arming and disarming tracks, launching macros, logic editors, and more.

This is not practical as I cannot play two lines in different tempos. I was talking about real-time manipulation of tempo.

I guess this is NOT possible.

Your continuous approach seems to be more practical. I will give it shot.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

I had a closer look and have NOT been able to find a way to link a CC to alter the DAW tempo in real time.

So far I can’t find a way to alter the transport tempo via remote.

I can record in linear time and build new tempo maps from click tracks, or via MIDI tempo analysis easy enough though. I was easily able to set up a scenario where I could tap with my foot into one track, and record a piano part on a second track at the same time. After I stopped recording I used the MIDI function to build a tempo track from tapping based on my stomp track.

Some other approaches that might be worth a try are macros to ‘change tempo track’ versions, or enable/disable tempo tracks. I’ll brainstorm on that and get back if I find something.


I’m not sure what MIDI controller you use, but some do have a built in ARP engine and can manage the clock/tempo. I.E. My MPK2 has a built in arp engine. To use this feature set of the MPK2 I have to set up CuBase to sync to it as the master clock. This particular controller has a tap tempo feature.

What sorts of controllers do you have? If you’ve got one with a sequencer or ARP engine built in, chances are you could make CuBase lock up and sync with it (Works here with my MPK2). In this case you’d need to set the keyboard as the master clock source, and the DAW as the slave.

I have PSR-A3000 ( yamaha workstation), I set the midi setting in PSR to use it as a controller in cubase. I can set it as master clock however, there is no way to change tempo via midi in PSR. I have already investigated it. Actually, no Yamaha keyboard can do that. I have also Yamaha KX and Roland Fantom XR!

Thank you. I was able to do the first approach.