Different Time Signatures for different tracks in a project? - (for polyrhythms / cross-rhythms)

I recently returned from southern Africa - I was there when Omicron was discovered and got stuck there for awhile, so I decided to use the time to study African rhythms. African (and jazz and Afro-Cuban music, etc) is characterised by lots of polyrhythms and cross rhythms. As the musicians here know, it’s perfectly normal in those styles of music for some of the musicians in a piece to be playing duples while others are playing triples, so I want to do more of that in my own work.

How is that done in Cubase? When I set a time signature in the Transport Bar it seems to set it for the whole project. If I’m editing one track, say to 12/8, then I go to another track that was 4/4, it’s now 12/8, too. How do I give different tracks different time signatures and what other features does Cubase have to support polyrhythms?

Thanks in advance.

Cubase can’t do different time sigs simultaneously

Multiple time sigs are not needed (or used) for traditional Afro-Cuban and jazz styles. It’s all done with compound time sigs, and tuplets. That’s what I’ve learned from playing jazz for a certain amount of time, including Afro-Cuban, and other polyrhythmic music.


PLease, add the feature-request tag.

Compound time signatures are a great solution when the polyrhythm being made is comprised of simple time signatures like 3/4 or 4/4. If fact, that’s what I was doing with the 12/8 in my OP.

But compounds become unwieldy when the underlying rhythms comprising the polyrhythm are, themselves, compound, complex, or have a big numerator because you have to multiply the numerators of the two underlying time signatures to get the numerator of the new compound one.
And the ones I’m trying to learn/make are comprised of both compound and complex beats… think a 9/8 over 7/4 polyrhtythm or Dave Brubeck meets CK Ladzekpo. (did they ever meet? - if so it must have been amazing)

I’ve added the feature-request tag but going back over historical comments I see people have been requesting this since Version 5 so I’m not hopeful.

Indeed. It depends on the needs involved, eg, producing sheet music has different demands than composing/producing in Cubase.

As far as workarounds go, using the Select tool in “Sizing applies time stretch” mode is one way to make it happen, and if time sigs are needed you can create an artificial one using text.