Tempo Rubato

Hi. I’m really wondering about something.I can’t find an answer anywhere.No video covers it,no manual.
I’m making orchestral music with samples and midi.

When I quantize and make everything tidy in the pianoroll matrix. How can I make that mechanical unhuman and organized values “untidy”,human and play rubato?

The way I do it is I press record and play it by ear (which is what I wan’t) But then it’s very messy and unorganized. Now I have 1 track of a ‘live performance’ (playing rubato) but every other track needs to match the performance…so I can’t quantize those…They will sound too mechanical and unhuman compared to the track played by ear…I “have” to play them by ear aswell. So everything becomes very messy but it plays excactly as I wan’t it. So there are tracks which is very human and emotional BUT extremely untidy and unorganized.

Is there a way to quantize,tidy things up and organize everything…but at the same time make the midi play rubato? On my song right now, the tempo changes slightly in waves like a rollercoaster (tempo rubato) But I don’t know how I make a human live performance out of “mechanical” quantized notes.

1.Record,play and enjoy my own performances played by my ears as I want it.But work in a messy enviroment.
2.Record,play and quantize but not enjoy what I’m hearing but work in a organized enviroment.

I can’t pick one,I want both! Is it possible?

I’ve tried tempo dips (tempo track/map) but they’re too square and not smooth enough.

Tempo Rubato (Italian for: stolen time) is a musical term referring to expressive and rhythmic freedom by a slight speeding up and then slowing down of the tempo of a piece at the discretion of the soloist or the conductor. Rubato is an expressive shaping of music that is a part of phrasing.

This loose term “rubato.” It describes the practice of playing with expressive and rhythmic freedom. Specifically “tempo rubato”.Some time is “robbed” from one passage or group of notes and given to another.

One can distinguish two types of rubato: in one the tempo of the melody is flexible, while the accompaniment was kept in typical regular pulse (yet not rigidly in mechanical fashion; but adjusting to the melody as necessary—see below). Another type affects melody and accompaniment. While it is often associated with music of the Romantic Period, classical performers frequently use rubato for emotional expressiveness in all kinds of works.

Rubato, even when not notated, is often used liberally by musicians; e.g. singers frequently use it intuitively to let the tempo of the melody expressively shift slightly and freely above that of the accompaniment. This intuitive shifting leads to rubato’s main effect: to make music sound expressive and natural. Frédéric Chopin is often mentioned in context with rubato.

While rubato is often loosely taken to mean playing with expressive and rhythmic freedom; it was traditionally used specifically in the context of expression by speeding up and then slowing down. In the past expressive and free playing (beyond only rubato) was often associated with the terms “ad libitum”:

Tempo rubato means literally in robbed time, i.e., duration taken from one measure or beat and given to another, but in modern practice the term is quite generally applied to any irregularity of rhythm or tempo not definitely indicated in the score.

A tempo rubato. Lit. “in robbed time”, i. e. time in which, while every bar is of its proper time value, one portion of it may be played faster or slower at the expense of the remaining portion, so that, if the first half be somewhat slackened, the second half is somewhat quickened, and vice versa. With indifferent performers, this indication is too often confounded with some expression signifying ad libitum

one thing that might help is if you make groove quantize template from your original performance and use that to quantize other accompaniment instruments to get the others " in time " with your perfromance. When you apply it you can also set the degree to which the other parts will lock to your template in the advanced quantize menu then manually move things around as u feel needed. that wont help visually in the editor

Do read up, in the manual, and also in these forums, about the TimeWarp Tool, and (maybe better in the case you describe) “Merge Tempo from Tapping” (where you basically record a live metronome track along with your recorded music, then Cubase creates a Tempo Map based on that track, effectively lining up its tempo grid lines to the music you have already recorded).
It’s quite a vast subject, so I won’t go into further details for the moment :wink:

nice Vic_france! great to know thats a feature i have never used - i was wondering during my response if there was a way to create a tempo map from a groove quantize preset or similar( something i’ve never had to do).

Thanks guys!
‘Groove quantize template’ seems to me as a way of copying a tempo from a song you like for example. So I didn’t really get that.
‘Time warp’ makes a little more sense. But ‘tempo from tapping’ seems the more obvious natural choice. That means I can be the conductor and get that ‘played by ear’ thing going instantly. I thought that was only possible in Sibelius.

Go on Vic.Go into the details;D Groove quantize and Time warp seemed to be deep and not easy to get by reading through it. But tempo tap seemed like the right thing for me now. I thought about clicking it manually or giving the tempo a curve but I can’t find tools to bend the tempo nicely and gradually in a curve.

Would this be covered you think in cubase video tutorials? I’ve seen dvd’s from ask videos that would be easier to grasp than to read my way through it.

Here are a couple of threads that deal with various aspects of the subject (quite a bit to plough through, unfortunately :wink: )…

But the basic principle is…

  1. Put all tracks (MIDI, and audio if present) into Linear Timebase, as opposed to Musical Timebase (toggle the “quarter-note” icon of each track into a “clock” icon). Also, if present, make sure that all audio clips (in the Pool) do not have Musical Mode activated.
  2. Make sure that Tempo is set to “Track” rather than “Fixed” (in the Transport Bar). Open the Tempo Track Editor, and set a basic tempo in Cubase that is reasonably close to the starting tempo of your music.(don’t worry, because you have set to Linear Timebase, this will not affect the actual tempo of the music :wink: )
  3. Drag the events on all tracks, so as to make the first downbeat of the music correspond with a barline in the Cubase grid. (allow yourself a bar or two at the beginning… you might eventually have need for a count-in, for example :wink: )
  4. Create a MIDI track (Linear Timebase, this one also :wink: ), with its output set to some metronome-type sound, and record, “tapping along” with the recorded music (probably quarter-notes is best).
    Because this is just a regular MIDI track, you can edit this tapped performance until you are satisfied with it (the better, and more “musical”, this click track sounds against the music, the better the eventual Tempo Map will be :wink: )
  5. Select the MIDI Part containing the tapping, then go to the MIDI menu>Functions>“Merge Tempo from Tapping”… set the parameters as desired… if you had tapped as quarter-notes, then set “Tapping” to 1/4, and “Begin at Bar Start” (unless the music starts with an up-beat, of course :wink: ). Hit “O.K.”
    Normally, that should be it! :slight_smile:
    Now (and only now, not before), if there are any time signature changes to be made, do so. (Cubase always makes its calculations in “beats” rather than “bars”).

THANK YOU. I feel blessed. I was gonna ask you for a little tutorial! :smiley: Very appreciated. That’s more how the manual shoud’ve been like :stuck_out_tongue: Vic style…

I totally understood it loud and clear. Again thank you.

And if I understood correctly the metronome click sound can be anything of my choosing(samples) because it’s the midi information cubase needs,so I just need a nice click to my liking…

Yep :slight_smile:

FWIW you can create a template from any audio file or midi file

Ok.I’ll dig into all that you provided for me.Thanks.

The problem with the Groove Quantize method, in this instance, is that the source material does have to be rhythmic, and fairly stable tempo-wise.

Ahh… I’m hoping Ask video cubase 5 tutorial covers all of this in more than a generic way. Bundle 4 dvd’s. Beginner to advanced. “buy”.

hmm…I’ve tried it now… The tracks doesn’t respond to the tempo track.

I didn’t fully get:“Drag the events on all tracks, so as to make the first downbeat of the music correspond with a barline in the Cubase grid.”
I have to translate everything in my head to my language…I’m not english.Don’t know what events are.

The notes I tapped became different lengths…is there a way to make them all quarter notes?

It was difficult to make the tempo track musical when the song is playing mechanical and slower/faster.


Are you looking for something like this?

Greetz Bassbase

Now it is I who doesn’t understand… you wanted the tempo track to correspond with your recorded music, yes? Do you mean that (after having completed all that) you then wish to change the tempo track, and have the music follow the new changes? Yes, that is possible (I’ll describe that at the end of my reply***).

I didn’t fully get:“Drag the events on all tracks, so as to make the first downbeat of the music correspond with a barline in the Cubase grid.”
I have to translate everything in my head to my language…I’m not english.Don’t know what events are.

Sorry, I didn’t detect any foreign accent in your post! :stuck_out_tongue:
O.K. your Project exists already… you have recorded some MIDI (and some audio?)… what you have recorded is placed on Tracks, and the things that exist on a track are called events (these could be MIDI Parts on MIDI tracks, or, for audio, they would probably be audio events placed directly on the audio track, or encased inside Audio Parts, if you had selected the audio events and gone into the audio menu>“Events to Part”.
So all I meant was, select everything you have already recorded, and slide it so that the first thing you hear lines up to a barline in the Project window’s grid.

The notes I tapped became different lengths…is there a way to make them all quarter notes?

So long as the MIDI track on which you record the tapping is set to Linear Timebase (and you should have already set all the other tracks to Linear Timebase also :wink: ), and the result of the tapping that you hear is correct with the recorded music, don’t worry about what it looks like… the tapping will indeed eventually look like quarter-notes once you have successfully completed the process.

It was difficult to make the tempo track musical when the song is playing mechanical and slower/faster.

By “musical”, I meant… “Imagine that your orchestra was forced to have a percussionist playing along, playing quarter-notes all the way through the music.”
This does in fact become easier with practice… when you are “tapping”, you are effectively being the orchestra’s conductor (except that you are following the orchestra, rather than the orchestra following you :wink: )… it is just the same mental process as the conductor waving his arms about :wink:

Maybe you should start by doing a small Test Project, where the source music is fairly regular and rhythmic… just to get into the method :wink:.

***If you then want to change the tempo track, and have the music follow the new tempo changes… easy for MIDI, a bit more complicated for audio (EDIT: damn! this is Cubase 5, right? this is more complicated than in Cubase 6, unfortunately)…

  1. Once you have obtained your correct tempo track, but before making any further changes to it, switch all tracks back from Linear to Musical Timebase.
  2. For audio (again, before making any further changes to the tempo track), for each audio track, select from the very beginning of the audio track to the end of the audio, using the Range Tool, then go to Audio menu>Bounce Selection (and answering “yes” when asked if you wish to Replace Events). For each audio track, go into the Audio Pool, and make sure that Musical Mode is activated.
  3. You can now modify your tempo track if you wish, and the music should now follow.

Btw, let me just remind you about this


Ahhh got you on the event thing:D It just sounded like a party(something big and complicated:P)

I only got MIDI tracks that I want to correspond to the tempo track.
I might want to change it further after making it first time.Don’t know yet…I’m thinking about doing it in pieces…Some bars first and then some more…as the song progress…So yes…

It’s a piano solo at the moment, with strings and flutes coming in later. A nice little piece to begin with. I started over and aligned everything snapped to a grid line. It looks organized. (still wondering how to record fixed lengths though) They all vary in relation to how long I held them down. they can be tiny bits to slightly bigger to very long. It’s impossible to manually make every notelenght a perfect 1/4. (‘mathematically’ the same lenght.)

Everything is timebased. The ruler is set on seconds (choices between:bars+beats,seconds,timecode,samples,60fps)

The tempo track LOOKS good but the MIDI ain’t corresponding to it :stuck_out_tongue:

[Re-editing my reply… I thought it wasn’t working because you hadn’t set Left and Right Locators, but in fact it should still work anyways]…
Are you absolutely certain that all your MIDI tracks are set to the “clock” icon, in the Inspector (Linear Timebase), before doing “Merge Tempo from tapping”?

Other observations…
The Ruler Track that you created doesn’t matter.
The length of your tapping notes doesn’t matter either (Cubase is only interested in each tapping notes start) :wink:

From what I can see from your screen captures…
(looking at screen capture #2)…
It looks like your music starts somewhere between Cubase’s bar 4 and bar 5.
You should have dragged everything, so that the first note you hear corresponds with a Cubase barline… you merely dragged it so that the left boundary of the earliest MIDI part (the Violins track?) starts on a barline (but the Part starts with silence).
So you need to get rid of the empty space at the start of the MIDI Parts…

  1. Go into the MIDI Editor of the Part that starts the earliest
  2. Select the first note, then hit “L” on your computer keyboard. This will place Cubase’s Play Cursor on the start of that note.
  3. Back in the Project window, select everything, then go to the Edit menu>“Split at Cursor”.
    Now all tracks will have the “empty space” at the beginning separated from the remaining.
  4. Delete those empty Parts.
  5. Now, you can drag everything to line up with a Cubase Barline (from what I see there, that should be bar #4

Looking at screen capture #1,
You drew in some tapping beats for the count-in, right? You don’t need to do so (but, like I said above, correct the start position of the Music first, anyways.)

Now that you mention it…I do have every track on linear timebase(clock) BUT it doesn’t light up in yellow like the musical icon does. Why not? Every track is set to the clock icon,but it’s grey. If active it should’ve been yellow.

Everything aligned now.Thanks.

The tapping is recorded from keybaoard(“conducting”)

Yes that does look a little confusing, but it is in fact correct (the clock icon doesn’t line up).

Everything aligned now.Thanks.

Good! (got there eventually :wink: )