Tempo tricks for single out of time measures?

A song I’m working on is acoustic guitar driven, but is full arrangement with midi drums, etc., so managing the tempo is important to stay locked.

The tempo is a consistent 116 bpm throughout. However, at the end of the verses, there’s a chord that sustains for one bar. When I play it on acoustic, that bar always stretches just a bit longer for feel before kicking back into tempo. And because it’s feel, the duration isn’t the same for each instance. The human factor, and all that. However, I want to play to a click track so my timing doesn’t drift too much, as it can sometimes do.

I’ve experimented with creating tempo changes for those sustain measures, stretching them just a bit for the feel, but that’s pretty much the tail wagging the dog. The feel comes from how I play the acoustic part, so I can’t really predict it and put it into the tempo map ahead of time.

The best solution I’ve come up with so far is to play to a click up to the first sustain and then mute the click and just use the Force for the rest of the song. Then I could use the tempo tools to analyze the audio and generate the rest of the tempo track. But that leaves me working without a click for the majority of the song, which I’d rather not do.

There are many people here more clever than I am. How would you go about solving this particular problem?

Do as you suggested yourself, but instead og playing rest of the song without a click track just play a few bars after the sustain. Then generate the tempo track from there. After that “speciel” sustained note you change the click track back to 116bpm and then simply use punch in to record from there.

Do you play to click with accented first note?
Have you tried turning it off? You can always double the tempo to 232 and play it that way. You will have plenty of clicks to keep you in time and you can throw off the measure with your sustained notes and still keep it in time.

That will of course mess up with any MIDI instruments you have but once you have your guitar recorded you can change tempo back to 116 and take it from there.

Disclaimer: While I recorded guitar tracks to double tempo before I only done it with just guitars, so I don’t really know how messed up your MIDI will be. It might not be worth the hassle.

Hey, guys.

Appreciate everyone’s ideas.

Yeah, it sounds like the only way to skin this particular cat is with one kind of hack or another. Or, you know, I could actually improve my playing so that I didn’t need a click track. First time for everything. :slight_smile:

I’d make a click using midi, map out how many bars til the end of the verse, then mute the midi [at the slower sustained bar where you need first tempo change]. Then record the acoustic up until a few bars after the click mutes. Then use the time warp/warp grid tool to insert a tempo event of 116 at the start of the slower sustained bar (where the midi mutes) and another one of 116 at the next bar, then just drag the second tempo event til it lines up with the acoustic downbeat after your slower sustained bar. This way you insert a bar that perfectly matches the tempo of your playing, yet reverts back to 116 bpm for the rest of the song.

Why don’t you do a best estimate of your sustained bar and then insert an odd time signature for that bar ?
Parts like that usually have some predictability.
For example, If the song is 4/4 and the sustain bar usually lasts roughly a bar and a half , just insert a time signature of 6/4 for that bar then insert 4/4 again after that bar.

When I’m working on songs that have “human feel” I usually record the performance and then build a tempo map to match. Similar to your “best solution” that you posted. Then I go back and may smooth out some radical tempo shifts that sound a little off.
Having the initial tempo established makes creating a tempo map much easier.
It can be a lot of work but worth it.

Some songs depend on meter fluctuation for their character. But if you’re convinced that this song is best served by being locked down to 116, I think inserting signature changes is the best way to go.

After watching some Greg Ondo videos on tempo detection, musical mode and going back and forth with creating a tempo map from audio and then conforming audio to a tempo, I think what I’ll do is just play the song naturally, without a click track. Then I’ll generate the tempo map from the performance and work from there. If my tempo gets too out of hand on the performance, well, there’s always practicing to a metronome until I settle down. :slight_smile:

Thanks again to everyone for all the ideas. Some good stuff here, and I’ll doubtless use some of these tricks in the future when the need arises.

You can also create a rit in the tempo map instead of changing tempos for the one bar. The result is usually much more musical both for the audience and the player compared to a hard change for one bar.

The Cubase term for this is “ramp” as opposed to “jump” in the tempo track.

Thanks, man. Appreciate the tip.