BPM values and time signatures

Though I work since decades with Cubase I am today confused about Cubase metronome BPM values.
If I set tempo 60 in a 4/4 time signature I get 60 beats pro minute.
But if I set tempo 60 in a 4/8 time signature I get 120 beats pro minute!
Of course the beats click on each 8th note and the grid resolution is right but the speed is 120 beats pro minute and not 60!
Cubase seems to always use quarter notes as beat units regardless of the time signature.
It means then that all tempo indications in Cubase are correct only if you use a quarter note as denominator
As soon as you use something else for the denominator the BPM value is not correct any more.
Why is it so?
In a 4/8 time signature a beat is a 8th note
In a 4/4 time signature a beat is a quarter note.
If I set tempo 60 in a piece with a 4/4 time signature the metronome should have the same speed as in a piece with a 4/8 time signature and tempo 60.

I found this thread: https://www.steinberg.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=56065
where this behaviour has been already mentioned but there is no answer on why it is so and if it is the way it should be.

It seems also as before Cubase 9,5 there was a metronome setting called: “Use count base” which allowed the user to change the rhythm of the metronome.
In this page there is a description of this feature: https://steinberg.help/cubase_pro_artist/v9/en/cubase_nuendo/topics/playback/playback_metronome_setup_r.html
Use Count Base
Activate this to set the rhythm of the metronome. For example, setting this to 1/8, gives you eighth notes (two clicks per beat).

I never used this setting before so I am not sure that this setting would correct Cubase behaviour and I can’t find this setting in Cubase 9.5

Any thoughts on this?

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Maybe that’s why they put the little quarter note next to the bpm in the transport- It’s always to the quarter note. Also it permits people who want to to have insanely fast metronomes, like quarter = 2400 bpm with a denominator of 32. It sounds like a 40 hz tone. :open_mouth: edit: and you can get an A tuning note with 206.25 bpm with a denominator of 64

But, as of 9.5 they have added advancements to the metronome, now you can set it up sensibly, using the new click patterns.

Also we now, finally, have actual correct compound time signatures, and can adjust the grid to follow.

You linked to the 9.0 docs, which talks about the countbase. My contempt for that “feature” cannot be expressed with mere earthly words. :laughing:

check out the new feature: https://steinberg.help/cubase_pro_artist/v9.5/en/cubase_nuendo/topics/playback/playback_metronome_setup_r.html

Thank you fror your answer.

OK, I can understand some of the reasons why the bpm are always set to quarter notes in Cubase.
I also can see that this can be quite usefull for fancy tempi as you describe them :wink:

But don’t you think it should be possible (at least as an option) to set the bpm to the real note value?
After all a beat is a beat undependently of the note value.

Why I stumble on this is because I have to write scores.
And in the context of music notation it is quite usefull for the conductor to have real bpm values.

EDIT!
False statement about Dorico deleted!

But don’t you think it should be possible (at least as an option) to set the bpm to the real note value?
After all a beat is a beat undependently of the note value.

Of course!

In the Score Editor you can place a tempo indicator with whatever subdivision you like, and it puts the right, real Maelzel’s Metronome bpm. It’s in the Form symbol palette of the Score Editor, and this works perfectly. Where ever you place it, it shows the current tempo, and you set the subdivision. It is correct for people who read and write sheet music, even conductors. :wink:

The Score Editor is the musical part of Cubase. :stuck_out_tongue:

OK.
As I see you seem to have an answer for everything :slight_smile:
This division between daw and score editor in Cubase makes indeed sense.
Working with Finale and now with Dorico, it’s a long time ago that I had to work deeply with Cubase Score, so I did’nt notice this.
BTW I am glad that Dorico uses the “correct” metronome BPM.

Thanks for your time

glad to have been found this thread because I was getting crazy setting the right tempo until finally realized the same thing, that they don’t use “beats per minute” (bpm) they always use “quarters per minute”, which they don’t makes very clear neither the application nor the documentation.

There are lots of weird things regarding the metronome, it seems the people that developed that part doesn’t understand anything about how the music is read or written in a score.

If you try to set the tempo using the beat calculator is even crazier. You select a range of a song that is for example at 6/8, so you set the tempo of your project at 6/8 too. Set in the calculator the number of beats (8th notes) of your selected range, and you have to divide by 2 the calculated BPM, because the beat calculator uses “bpm”, but the time signature is configured in “quarters per-minute” in the project.

Even a simple and free metronome application in my mobile phone allows me to change that configuration, the base unit of the metronome, “quarter per minute” or “beat per minute” (and when you select “beat per minute” means that the beat is what you set in the time signature: 8th notes, quarter notes, etc), it even let me count with “dotted notes”.

If you want to use compound time signatures such as 6/8 the behaviour is ridiculous, the metronome counts 6 clicks per bar, doubling the velocity, when the usual thing would be to count 2 “dotted-quarters” per bar.

So if you have an score in 6/8, that indicates the tempo in “dotted quarters”, that is the usual thing. I think I’ve never seen a score in 6/8 with the tempo in 8ths, and of course it will be ridiculous to give you the tempo in quarter notes. You have to multiply the tempo per 1.5 (3/2) if you set cubase time signature to 6/8, or if you want to hear the count clicks in “dotted-quarter” notes you have to set the signature to 2/4 (but the score editor will show all wrong)

I read that at the end most of the people creates its own midi tracks to use as a metronome, because all those restrictions, cubase metronome only works well with simple time signatures such as 4/4 (if you don’t want to make tricks or calculations)

It is a pity that such a powerful application gives you so bad support for a so simple feature that even a mobile app can offer to you.

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I agree it’s very annoying to have the BPM always set to quarter note. Adding the function to set it to eight notes or half notes or whatever the actual beat of the bar is does not hurt anybody, but helps a lot of us. RIght now, I have to do the math (which is doable, but in such a complex program like Cubase it’s ridiculous that I need to do that every time I choose any time signature with anything else other than a quarter note as the beat base).

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