Adding A Pause

Boy, I’m asking for trouble posting this -here- but if there are any Score users left, I have something of a possible ‘noob’ question:

I’ve been trying like h e l l the past year to write concert music in Cubase (with ‘Score’) and VEP/VSL. For the -most- part it works better than I had thought it would with one GLARING problem… tempi and pauses.

I usually end up doing what a college buddy (30 years ago) called a ‘Bartok’… :smiley: ie. writing a TON of time sig changes to add a beat here and there for the sole purpose of making the phrases breath. But of course all these tweaks are -not- like Bartok where the point is to count/think in those phrases. And of course nobody but Frank Zappa would want to count or read this crap… even though the MIDI ‘sounds’ OK.

AND also, ‘of course’, in good ol’ Bach/Brahms etc. ya just throw in a pause or a ‘slow down’ and keep writing in 4/4.

IN SHORT: Is there some totally obvious way to add pauses (breaths) in MIDI notation that I’m just not getting? I want to stay in 4/4 in Cubase Score but still have the MIDI ‘breath’.



PS To Forum Admin: The Search could be improved IMMEASURABLY simply by adding a proper list of Stop Words. If I recall, PhpBB3 has a default list. I just tried searching for the above answer and was surprised to find that basic words like ‘to’, ‘a’ and ‘the’ are not filtered. A quick review shows lots of people getting beat up for ‘not searching first’, but realistically, I can’t see anyone finding what they need as things stand.

That’s what the conductor is for! :slight_smile:

OK, reaching back 20 years to music school… I don’t have ANY experience in Score, but what about adding a fermata over the beat you want to hold? Will this stretch out the playback at all?

In Cubase, you could slow down the tempo during the last beat of the phrase and then bring it back up for the first beat of the next measure–all without changing the bars/meters.

But hey, don’t sweat it. I’ve been to some scoring sessions where there are 5/4, 7/8 measures thrown in typical 4/4 pieces just for timing. That’s what “scoring” is all about–making the music do exactly what you want it to do with notation (tied notes across bar lines etc.).

Sadly, I don’t think either MIDI or Cubase understand ‘fermata’ or ‘caesura’

A fermata is not a huge problem. But any kind of cut (caesura) -is-. Many guys like me need to do a MIDI mockup and then hand out notated parts. Showing players a bar of 1/16 just to add a ‘pause’ is ridiculous.

It would be great if MIDI, or Cubase allowed for a -time- outside of the ‘beat’. ie. I wish there was a way to insert a ‘pause widget’ that would say, ‘hold for 1/10th of a second then resume tempo’ that has no relation to the MIDI tempo… and would not affect the notation.


Use the Tempo View (Ctrl+T). Cubase has a tempo slider there that enables you to record timing changes (i.e ritardando, accelerando, fermata, etc) on the fly, without changing your MIDI or Score. You can also use the Tempo Track as well.


Yes, I was going to suggest the Tempo Track Editor too (first making making sure that all tracks are in Musical Timebase, as opposed to Linear). You can then add fermata, commas etc. to your score (they are purely graphic :wink: )

Hi Vic… er… Frederic :smiley: Good to see some of the old guys still around.

I guess I’m not being clear… I want to have my gateau and eat it too.

I want the MIDI playback to sound good -and- I want the notation to be good. AND I want to be able to make changes to the MIDI as I go and have it all stay together. I am certainly not shy of criticizing Cubase, but the grousing of Score is, IMO, a bit over the top. It actually has worked -OK- for me. EXCEPT for the pause thing… which is a TOTAL drag.

There are many MUCH better alternatives if you have a ‘finished’ MIDI piece and simply want to go one way into a notation program.

But I try things at a rehearsal… hear how crap they sound with real players v. the MIDI mockup… and then I go back to the drawing board. It’s =much= faster working in Score in this way than having to ‘import’ into a separate notator every time I change -anything-.

Anyhoo, thanks for the replies. I think the real ‘answer’ would be if Cubase added a ‘Pause Event’ as a I described below… basically a delay timer you could set for a fixed # of milliseconds. Sort of like a ‘Global Glitcher’.


You may already know this, but Cubase has a Display Transpose function (AND a Quantize Display function) in the Score Editor where you’re able to have a realistic playing performance while displaying correct music notation at the same time:

Going back to your original question, did you try using the tempo track to edit the tempo? Again, this will NOT change your MIDI or Score data, it only affects the playback of the project (which is what you want, no?). I’m not an expert, but I believe you should be able to do just what you’re asking for with Cubase alone.

Absolutely :wink:
Let’s say the piece’s basic tempo is 120 BPM, and you want to place a comma on the 3rd beat of bar #24, and have it return to normal for the 4th beat…
All you have to do is place a tempo event at that 3rd beat (say, 40 BPM), followed by another tempo event of 120 BPM on the 4th beat. Done! :slight_smile:
(well, there might be one further manip…let’s say you had a quarter-note playing on that 3rd beat. You would now have that note just playing slower (so therefore, longer). But you really want to hear a pause. So, change the length (in real MIDI terms) of that note to, say, an 8th-note, then change the displayed note length for it (in the Set Note Info dialog) back to a quarter-note.

I do almost exclusively non-click track projects, and with many pauses, slow downs, etc. FWIW, I do what jose suggests, and it works just great:

For slowdowns: The tap tempo function works great … it generates a tempo track that exactly matches the music. So, for overdubs during the slow down period, can just use the click track as a guide (or a Jamstix snare rim, etc.) to help guide overdubs.

Pauses are a little trickier, especially for knowing exactly when to come in for overdubs when the pause ends. I take the tempo from the bit that follows the pause, then extend it backwards into the end of the pause for a few beats so the click track (or Jamstix rim shot) can act as a sort of “count in” to the music that follows the pause.

The hard part for me is generating a drum fill during the pause. Does anyone have suggestions for that? Cubase would of course be good here to generate a smooth tempo track transition between the parts that bracket the pause (using the pencil tool, or the slider perhaps), but I’m usually looking for something with more “soul” or feel than that, for example a fill that might have a stutter couple of hits/false starts/etc., ultimately leading beatifully into the part after the pause. To do that now, I usually just sort of close my eyes and channel Ringo* as I tap on my keyboard … :laughing:

*(Except for the way Ringo played the transition between “We’re going home …” and “You and I have memories” in the song “Two of Us” on the Let It Be album … that, ahem, “fill” could have been Cubase-generated! Maybe it was Paul? :laughing:)

In terms of the score: I think since you are not changing the time signature - all the tempo changes would be transparent to the people you distribute the score to, and you can just “conduct” the tempo changes (do conductors ever have ear pieces with click tracks?).

I hope all this rambling is helpful at least a bit, and if anyone has any ideas for how I can do the above better (other than hiring a drummer!), I’d be more than grateful to hear them!

Thanks for the very helpful and very detailed replies. Much appreciated. I’m gonna do some more studying before replying further as I have -not- had the successes y’all have described. So I’ll give it another shot.

Perhaps it’s because I’m unconsciously resisting all these tempo changes—since they -are- ‘workarounds’. I loath ‘workarounds’ on basic principle. :smiley: I think my ‘pause event’ would be much cleaner, but then… so would water-powered cars.

And at the risk of sounding chronically, passive aggressive re. Cubase fora, I honestly did not expect such good responses. VERY HEARTWARMING!



JC - tempo changes are the way to do what you are wanting to do - if I’m reading correctly - hear it the way you want it played, but have it notated correctly. The score editor is just an extension of the sequencer in Cubase, not vice-versa, so think of it in that respect. Use the sequencer to set your tempo changes so it sounds the way you want, and write your score the way it should be read. That’s how mockups are typically done.

If I’m working in Sibelius (or paper) and translating that back into Cubase, I’ll write my tempo and dynamics changes (fermati, etc), then create a tempo map in Cubase to sound the way the mockup should. Adding measures and beats will only confuse musicians (I’ll often use odd measure beats for pacing a score to picture, but it always has to make sense in printed form so it can be conducted and played correctly.)

A significant pause would just be a beat at, for example, 20 bpm, or a ramp down to some low tempo value, then back to tempo (or some accelerando back to tempo to start the next played measure).

BTW: Are we all talking about ‘Musical Mode’ and ‘Linear Mode’… the orange clock/note on the Track Inspector?

So I leave the audio track in ‘Linear Mode’… ie. the CLOCK icon in the inspector. And then use the NOTE icon for all the MIDI tracks, right? Then as I add tempo events the MIDI tracks follow the tempo track but the audio tracks stick @ the same time in seconds.



So I leave the audio track in ‘Linear Mode’… ie. the CLOCK icon in the inspector. And then use the NOTE icon for all the MIDI tracks, right? Then as I add tempo events the MIDI tracks follow the tempo track but the audio tracks stick @ the same time in seconds.

It depends :wink:
As regards audio, there are two distinct things to take into consideration…

  1. Audio clips are placed on tracks, just the same way as MIDI parts… so, if there are several audio clips on a track (for example, a drum loop, repeating every 4 bars… each instance starting on beat #1 of the corresponding bar), if you change the Tempo, with that audio track set to Musical Timebase***, each clip will still start at the same bar position… but the clip itself will not change tempo unless you also…
  2. Set the audio clip to Musical Mode (in the Audio Pool)
    (***If set to Linear Timebase, each clip would retain its start position in time, not in bar position)

So, to answer your question, was the MIDI in sync with the audio before attempting a tempo change in Cubase? (and to achieve that, you had, as you said, added extra beats, but kept the tempo constant?)… because if so, it will no longer be in sync after making an actual tempo change, unless you fulfill steps 1 & 2 above.

If in fact you already have the MIDI playing correctly (but because of added beats, and with constant tempo) and you simply want to change the way the MIDI appears in the Score (i.e. changing that odd bar to “regular” 4/4, but with a tempo change), then you will need to do this a slightly different way…

  1. Put everything (including MIDI) into Linear Timebase (and Musical Mode switched off, for the audio clips)
  2. If you had inserted extra time signatures (to accommodate the extra beats), delete them (yes!)
  3. Use the Timewarp tool to line up the grid in Cubase with the MIDI events (this will effectively create tempo events to take care of those commas/fermata).

Don’t you have a day job, Vic? Travail? :smiley:

I just had an epiphany that really blew my mind… It’s like a riddle where the answer is right in front of me. It seems like the key is breaking the track into EVENTS and making each EVENT start on a bar line… and then you can make all the tempo changes you want on the beats immediately before the bar. OK great.

So that’s -real- progress. THANKS AGAIN VIC!

But there is NO frickin’ way to take a single long MIDI Event and do lots of tempo changes the way I had hoped… which I can’t explain in 25 words or less so I won’t even -try-. It makes a ton more work for me, but it -does- work as everyone describes and it -does- make the notation work reasonably.

Again, the only reason this is necessary is to make reasonable notation. Wouldn’t even be mentioning it otherwise.



The Cubase terminology is very confusing …

Musical Mode applies to audio only, and when activated, the audio gets stretched and sounds different as the tempo changes.

The little orange note you mention is the toggle for something different, Musical Timebase. When activated and the tempo is changed, whatever is on the track (MIDI or Audio) will keep its same starting position in terms of bars/beats (the start position in terms of minutes/seconds will be different if the first tempo point you edited is before the start of the part). The difference between MIDI and Audio in Musical Timebase is that MIDI will get stretched out as much as necessary to finish at the same bar/beat as it did before the tempo track was changed; audio will finish on whatever bar/beat it happens to so that it remains the same duration in time as before the tempo was edited. This means the MIDI will “sound” different, but the Audio won’t (as long as the audio hasn’t been changed to Musical Mode before tempo track editing). It also means that MIDI/Audio parts on Musical Timebase tracks that were simultaneous before the tempo editing will be completely out of sync afterwards.

Linear Timebase, the clock icon (grey :smiling_imp: ), is sort of the opposite. Anything on the track (MIDI or Audio) will stay at the same minutes and seconds start time, and last for the same duration of time, no matter where on the track the tempo track is edited (meaning, before or during the part). This holds true for MIDI as well as audio! When you play the track after tempo editing, the MIDI and Audio will remain in sync, and sound just like it did before editing the tempo track. The start/stop times and duration in terms of bars/beats will change (in the same amount) for the Audio and MIDI as a result of the tempo editing.

So, in your example, when you change the tempo track with the MIDI track in Musical Timebase (the NOTE icon) and the Audio track in Linear Timebase (CLOCK icon): MIDI will start and stop at the same bar/beat, but will be a different duration in terms of minutes/seconds (and have a different start time in terms of minutes/seconds if the first tempo point you edited was before the start of the MIDI part), compared to before you edited the tempo points. The MIDI will also sound stretched/compressed/different if you edited tempo points in the MIDI part.

Also in your example, with the audio track in Linear Timebase, the Audio will remain at the same start/stop times (minutes/seconds) after tempo editing, which of course means it will start and stop at different bar/beat measurements - the opposite of the MIDI track in Musical Timebase. Also different from the MIDI track in Musical Timebase, the Audio in Linear Timebase will sound exactly the same as before the tempo was edited (as long as Musical Mode is not activated).

Finally, if you had put your audio into Musical Mode before changing the tempo track, it would behave exactly like the MIDI track did when placed into Musical Timebase in that a) its duration would not change (in terms of bars/beats) as a result of tempo editing, and b) it would last a different duration (minutes/seconds) and sound all “stretched out” as a result of tempo changes. Unlike MIDI on a Musical Timebase track, however, its starting bar/beat will not remain the same if tempo editing is done prior to the start of the parts.

I don’t know if this is the right way to think about it, but I think of Musical Mode as a way to make Audio respond to tempo changes similar to the way MIDI does when it is on a track that is set to Musical Timebase (the difference being that the start time of the audio is not necessarily fixed - it will be different if tempo changes are made prior to the start of the part). And I think of Linear Timebase as a way to make MIDI act like Audio in that it is not responsive to changes in tempo as far as minutes/seconds are concerned.

If you have a chance, please show how you’re getting along with your pauses, slow downs, etc. - I’d love to see some other ideas for how to do that!

Thanks -

Another guy with too much time on his hands. :smiley:

I will have to study what you wrote in detail, but for -now-, I have gotten the results I need by using an audio track as my ‘guide’ (Linear Timebase - clock icon)

And then, make sure that ALL FORTY MIDI TRACKS are in Musical Timebase (and you have to check each one INDIVIDUALLY grrrrrr)…

And then, split each event on ALL FORTY MIDI TRACKS at each point where you want a pause.

And make sure that each MIDI note ends a teeny weeny bit before that last beat.

And -then- add your tempo change on the last 16th of the beat right before the cut with all 300 members of the choir screaming their guts out on A flat… making EXTRA SURE you don’t change the tempo on beat one of the next bar because it’s -really- easy to alter it unintentionally.

And that’s it… on to the Turkish March.


PS: Maybe it’s -not- strictly necessary to cut MIDI into separate events for every time or tempo change, but so far, it’s -predictable-. IOW: I can stretch things and I only run the risk of screwing things up at that event… whereas before, when I played with this, I wouldn’t realise I’d screwed something up FIFTY BARS EARLIER.

PPS: Also, a lot of times, I don’t -know- the time sig I want to use beforehand. By breaking a track into events based on -phrases- I can enter the time sig which makes the phrase easiest to count—or best represents how one should -feel- the phrase…My fave example being Bartok’s Music For S/P/C which everyone hears in -exactly- the wrong way until you see the part. Those Hungarians.

Would putting them all in a group track and just splitting the group track work (hit the “=” sign in the top left)? I’m just starting to use group tracks, so not sure if it would work …

Wow, that’s also crazy. I don’t use the logical editor, but I wonder if you could tell Cubase to do this for you somehow.

suntower wrote: …And make sure that each MIDI note ends a teeny weeny bit before that last beat …

Wow, that’s also crazy. I don’t use the logical editor, but I wonder if you could tell Cubase to do this for you somehow.

Select all your Midi tracks (ctrl-A), place the cursor where you want the cut (the last 16th note), and ‘Edit | Functions | Split at Cursor’ (alt-X). If you do this in the Key Editor, you’ll pretty easily be able to select and delete all the little note-lets to the right of the cursor that you don’t want.


I worked at it some more today and I came across the fly in the ointment… no matter how ya slice and dice it, it’s a one way trip… not Cubase’s fault.

The method I worked out… from others wisdom… works -fine- using the audio as a guide track. BUT… It presumes that the guide audio is set in stone. If I need to go back and redo the audio yer kinda screwed.


  1. You have yer guide audio track (say a vocal) set to Linear Timebase.

  2. You then set all MIDI tracks to Musical Timebase and add pauses and holds as needed by adding tempo events.

  3. Now you want to redo the final vocal track. Since there’s no conductor flapping his arms, and the click can’t give ya proper count in it’s tough for the singer to time his entrances so the first few notes of the bar after each pause is a bit ragged. (That really -is- the great thing about a conductor. All ya need is a decent arm swing on the upbeat and yer in business.) I dunno how Cubase can help with this but it’s gotta be dealt with.

  4. Let’s assume that the performance is OK enough that a bit of timing editing will fix it. So -now- what? Switch all the MIDI tracks to Linear Timebase so they ‘stand still’ and then switch the audio track to Musical Timebase so they can be stretched? Or…

Now… let’s add one more challenge: The piece I’m working on has -many- audio tracks that will need to be added after the MIDI is all sorted out for notation.

In summary, what I need is:
a. A way to to ‘count in’ the live tracks after each MIDI pause for doing overdubs.

b. A way to easily switch back and forth between tweaking the audio track vs. the MIDI (what I’ve been working on in this topic) and then doing the reverse. It seems like a pain to be switching a lot of tracks one by one between Timebases

Any words of wisdom on -this-?


Well, perhaps not wisdom, but how about creating a “count-in” (audio or MIDI) track to mix into the live players’ cans? (Could be your voice, or a MIDI instrument, or whatever.)

I suppose, in principle, you could use video instead (if there’s a suitable screen they can see), but I expect that would involve too much work.