Tempo map for something like this

How would you create a tempo map for something like the below where the track itself will stay at its randomness? I’m working with a similar thing where strings will be overdubbed and it’d be convenient to establish some sort of visual audible tempo grid beforehand.

Detect tempo doesn’t work of course. I’ve gone so far as to creating an audio track of kbd generated hihat hits…for the entire song… while listening to the orig audio…then spending a lot of time manually moving the individual hits around to get closer to the feel…which doesn’t work very well when I then have Cubendo13 “detect tempo” off of the hihat track.

Any other suggestions? I’ve watched Greg videos and Dom videos but those examples always seem to at least have drums.

Maybe I’m already doing it the best way…but looking for other opinions.

I assume you mean this video from Dom, which really is the best way to do it. While having drums certainly makes it easier, both visually & aurally, it’s not really needed. Just put the Tempo Event where you would have a 1 if you were counting along. You could even record yourself counting or hitting something alongside the song as a guide.

Have done this soooo many times through the years, for so many scoring sessions.(And funny enough, have also played with the Kingston Trio! But that’s a different story).

Haven’t seen Dom’s video, but the most effective way I’ve found, over various DAWs, but most effectively in Cubendo and Performer, is to identify the most discrete rhythmic element (usually the bass, sometimes rhythm guitar if no drums are present) and using warp to grid to adjust to it every few measures. Your’re looking for averages, not specifics, as a rule.

If you have SpectraLayers or RX, unmoving into stems could make that exercise a whole lot easier-- especially separating the bass (or drums if they’re in there).

Ultimately you get a very usable, exportable tempo map which will import into PT or whatever they’re using on the scoring stage.

Good luck,


I’ve also done hundreds of these freeform tempo maps over the years. I like the technique that Dom shows in his video but one thing I’ve found using the Grid Warp is that cubase assumes that you want the previous tempo to stay intact. It can get frustrating real fast with constant fluctuations and tempo anomalies.

I resort to entering tempo events manually and pushing them up or down as needed.

This song has a few anomalies.
The intro appears to have nothing to do with the cadence of the song because of how he played it. But it actually is relatively in time.

Truncate the top of the audio file so it starts right on the down beat of that guitar intro and snap it to bar 2 or 3 so you have some click coming in. That’s my personal preference so you can have some air in front for your mix export.

Find the average tempo of the intro. The plucks in the intro are the downbeat.
Helpful hint: it starts at around 90bpm, goes up to 94 - 95bpm for a while and then gradually keeps increasing up to about 100bpm.
The end strum stays pretty much in time.

Keep your tempo track nice and big so you have lots of headroom to move the tempo up and down.
Now just keep adjusting the tempo as you go. Sometimes every bar, sometimes every two bars, sometimes every downbeat. Be grateful that the song is only 2:23 :slight_smile:

If you run into a rushed note (and there are a few) do your best to average the tempo over a bar. Then you can go back and correct the performance later while keeping the natural fluctuations intact. If you want to keep the performance as is you’ll need to make adjustments to every 1/4 note when they flub.

That intro into vs 1 is the trickiest part.

Hope that helps.

Good point. You can also set the display range for the Tempo Track so it only shows a range, 85-105 BPM for example, effectively doing a vertical zoom.

True, and I left part of my process out… once you’re in the ballpark, you set the basic tempo (via the last node in the tempo map) to that general bpm, and it makes for a much smaller jump.


Thanks guys. I’m experimenting with the suggestions.

The thing I’m working with hovers in the 125bpm range although moves all around due to being only guitars, bass gtr & vocals. It has a good feel between the players and was obviously well-rehearsed.

I did first demix the thing and pretty much focus on the main rhythm guitar guy part for placing tempo marks…while muting the other tracks. I may end up nudging the bass around a little tighter to the guitars.

I’ve probably been overthinking how tight to get a map happening…I’ll keep experimenting.

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