Re-recording part in a variable-tempo project: Grid

Edit: As folks who record free-tempo/variable-tempo music know, re-recording a part in the middle of a project plays havoc with the grid at points after the re-recording.

After a few posts in this thread I came up with one way to get this done, it’s described in the7th post of this thread, 23 July 2016 , at 1622 hrs (as it appears on my screen).

It’s kind of lengthy, if anyone has a shorter way to get this done, please share!

Thanks -

Folks, I have to admit, I am losing my mind on this.

I’ve got a variable-tempo song, MIDI and audio, with an 8-bar MIDI solo. I’ve applied Time Warp to the entire song, so the bars line up with the music well. All this also applies to the solo … it has a varying tempo, in some places with quite a lot of tempo variation/rubato, and the bars line up nicely.

But now we want to re-record the solo … and since it speeds up and slows down in different places, it takes a little longer or shorter to play than the original solo, and so doesn’t fit nicely into the original eight bars.

No problem: I just move every thing after the solo to the right to make room, re-record the new solo on a new MIDI track, drag the post solo project back left to meet the end of the new solo, do a Time Warp in the new solo to adjust the tempo track so the bars align nicely there, and everything should be good, right …

But no:

  1. The timing from the end of the new solo onward sounds off. As far as I can tell, the tempo track did not follow the events when it was dragged far to the right to re-record, then dragged back to the left to meet the end of the newly recorded solo. On closer inspection, the tempo track is completely misaligned from the musical events, from the point of the project split onward.

  2. Sometimes (not always though), the automation also seems to behave badly - being shifted/dissociated from the events it was meant to automate, even though I have the appropriate Preference chosen (Automation Follows Events, by memory).

Things I have tried: paying attention to what I think are the right choices for Musical Timebase, Linear Timebase, Musical mode (maybe I’m not doing that right?); using multiple methods to move the project from the end of the solo to the right to re-record, then back to the left to meet the new solo afterwards (for example, selecting the whole project and cutting at the start of the solo then dragging, as well as using the range tool functions like global copy/cut time/delete time, etc.) …

Can someone please give some advice on how to do this? There is no answer that is too detailed for this poster … I promise :stuck_out_tongue: !

Thanks -

Dragging the tempo around in an already mapped project is a nightmare, all the tempo markers after the altered ones will be off.
would be better to try and fix the tempos so you are recording to set tempo/s.
Note all the intended tempo changes bar points. i.e. say it goes from 120 bpm to 135 bpm at bar 36, etc, etc
do the “set definition from tempo” thing to straighten the projects tempo, then write in the intended tempo changes.
then re-record the lead section.

Before I do this sort of thing I always bounce all audio to create 1 audio part per track, can always chop back up later if needed.

Hey, Split, great to see you! Just like the old days, me asking a question, and you helping out :smiley: .

I think you are saying: 1) Set all the tempo points to one value from the beginning to the end of the solo (after preparing the audio with Set Definition From Tempo), then 2) write in the solo’s intended tempo, then 3) Re-record the solo to the newly re-written tempo (click track)?

If I’m understanding that correctly, the problem as I see it is that the “intended tempo” doesn’t exist until the solo is played. It’s hard to write out ahead of time, as it has slowdowns, pauses, etc. And I think it will be hard for the soloist to play that solo to a pre-determined tempo - it’s kind of an “emotional, eyes-closed” kind of deal, that they probably would be distracted from by trying to squeeze it into a pre-determined tempo.

But, as a follow up question to what you wrote - will the tempo markers after the altered ones be off, and need fixing?


Cool…good to be back in bits!
The simple answer I think is yes :slight_smile:

Thanks, Split. We really don’t want to record the solo at a flat tempo or to a click track though, which I think is what you may be suggesting?

What I’ve done is put a clearly visibly identifiable tempo change on a beat at the very end of the project. Then, after I’ve recording the solo in the middle of the project, I manually adjust the subsequent tempo points (point by point, manually editing) until everything lines up again at the end. Very tedious, and easy to mess up if one loses focus for even a moment.

Surely there’s a better way?

I think I got it!

Just to clarify - it is too hard to try to play the 33-second re-recorded free-tempo solo and have it end up at the same point as the original run in a free-tempo project, as it has major league slow-downs, pauses, speed ups, and the like. The consequence of not getting it to fit exactly into the time of the previously recorded solo is that the grid will be off at all subsequent points in the project. I found it was very easy to make a mistake remembering all the steps to take to get the project back on grid, so I wrote down them down for my benefit, and copied them here in case someone else might find them useful.

BTW, these steps aren’t limited to re-recording a solo of course, they would help keep things on the grid every time a variable-tempo/free-tempo project is changed in any fashion, for example adding an intro, etc. They should work in any variable-tempo project, whether MIDI only, or MIDI plus audio.

Also, it’s quite a lot of steps, if someone has a way to do this that is simpler/shorter, please share!

Here’s the step-by-step:


  1. Put all the tracks in Linear Time Base (critical! This is what was making me fail till now).

  2. Place the cursor to just before the solo starts.
    [Edit: manually place 2 tempo points in the Tempo track now: One immediately before the cursor, and one later in the project, on the grid at the first beat beat after the solo. These will be “joined together” in the end, as described below.]

  3. “Select: From Cursor to End”.

  4. For some reason, not all tracks get selected, so you may have to go in and manually select some others via CTRL-click: possibly some of the Group/FX track volumes and automations (it seems kind of random on mine whether they all get selected or not), and definitely the Tempo Track (and the Marker Track, though that can always be addressed later).

  5. Drag the selected part of the project (which is everything from the start of the solo onwards) way to the right to get it out of the way. Then chop off and trash the left portion of what was dragged, the part that has the old solo - chopping off all tracks: solo, tempo track associated with it, etc.

Just as an internal check for consistency, the Tempo point you added in Step #2 should now be on the left edge of what remains after you chopped off the post of the project that had the old solo.

  1. Re-record the free-form MIDI solo, don’t worry about having to fit it into any predetermined time period, or mimicking the slow downs/pauses/speed ups of the original solo - just play away - yayy! :smiley: :smiley: .
    (Of note, though the re-recorded solo is played free-form with variable tempi (as was the original solo), the project tempo assigned by Cubase to this freely re-recorded solo is a single value, equal to the value of the last Tempo point before the old solo as it turns out and obviously must be when looking at what goes on. The variable tempo associated with the old solo was dragged right with the old solo itself, and was trashed with the original solo in step #5, above).

  2. When finished recording, go and re-select the part of the project you dragged right to make room for the new solo, and drag it over to the left to meet the end of your new solo.

  3. Make sure you include the Tempo Track points when you drag left in Step #7. The two tempo points you created in Step #2 should now be immediately adjacent to each other.

[EDIT: I think this Step #8, dragging the Tempo points left to meet the end of the newly recorded music, can be skipped here, as it needs to be done in Step #14, below.]

And now, the entire project plays with the re-recorded solo, complete with its own slow downs/pauses/and speedups, distinct from the original solo’s, as if it were done that way in the first place!

The last thing to do is to get the start of the music after the solo to land right on the grid so (for example), VST drums are correct for the project after the solo.

  1. First, put the cursor so it is on the first musical downbeat after the solo. This might be a note, or a pause/rest/break, but unless the biggest coincidence in the universe happened, it won’t be on the correct grid line for the first beat after the solo ends.

  2. Then Do a CTRL-T to open the tempo editor.

  3. Then select the last tempo point before the cursor. It might the the last point before the solo started, or if you’ve Time Warped the new re-recorded solo, it might be in the solo itself. Either way, select the last point before [the start of the music after the solo, which would be at the cursor per Step #8].

  4. Then move that tempo point (the one you selected in the last step) up or down (easiest to do via the Info Line). See how the cursor slides left or right as you do that? Adjust the value of that tempo point until the cursor lands right on the beginning of a bar.

  5. Exit the Tempo Editor.

  6. Finally, you may need to drag the Tempo points L/R just a bit to match them up with the musical events (like you did in Step #8).

Et voila! All music is now on the grid!

This worked for the project I’m working on … I will feel even better when I get to the next project and it is repeatable.

If anyone else happens to have a different way of doing this kind of thing that allows the re-recorded part to be played click-track free, with variable tempo, without needing it to end up at the same time as the original, please post here. Shorter would be better!

Thank you!

Ha… well done, as they say in a place not to far away from me (fauldhouse) “A hard things no easy” :slight_smile:

Thanks, Split!

I’m a little worried that it may not work in Cubase 8.5. I read in SOS that the cursor behavior when the Tempo track is adjusted has been changed - so now it stays fixed in time (rather than on the beat). Or possible the other way around, but the point being it has changed.

That would be just the kind of thing to mess up something like this. Not that it couldn’t be done in those circumstances, I’d just like to not have to re-think all that again!

Cheers -