Tempo unit (beat)

A question about the tempo unit (or beat) used in the audio clips :
Suppose I have a 1 minute audio file, its time signature is 4/4, the tempo is 240 beats per minute.
A quick calculation gives that my file is 60 bars long, as I have 4 beats per bar.
Now, I import it in a project. I open the clip in the Sample Editor. I can modify the “Number of Bars Defined in Audio File”, the “Defined Tempo of Audio File”, the “Defined Time Signature of Audio File”. Each time I change one field, the other 2 are automatically adjusted so that there is no change in the duration of my audio clip. Fine.

Something that is strange : the tempo is always expressed as a number of quarter-notes. Even if I change the original 4/4 signature into 2/2 or 8/8.
My original musical score shows actually a tempo of 120 half-notes per minute. Is there a way in Cubase to change the tempo unit, so that the tempo changes to 120 half-notes per minute, rather than 240 quarter-notes / minute ? In other words, can I define what a beat is ?

(My original score is 4/4, with a tempo of 120 half-note per minute. If I have to choose a tempo unit, I would find it acceptable to link it to the second figure of the time signature, although theoretically, both should be unrelated.)

Oh and by the way, the Time Signature is not supposed to be 2 figures separated by a division sign, like a numerator and denominator (4/4, 3/2, …) but rather 2 figures, one on top, the other one below, without any division sign …


Have you tried making the time signature 1/4 ?

mmmmm, yes but why would that help ? Thanks anyway :slight_smile:

because it changes the relationship of bars over time.

i.e. 4/4 and 2/2 and 8/8 are all the same amount of time for a bar.

But 1/4 is four times as many bars for each unit of time.

Or to use an actual example:

At 120 bpm you get 2 beats per second. So a bar is 2 seconds long.

  • a 4/4 bar at 120 bpm is 2 seconds long
  • a 8/8 bar at 120 bpm is still 2 seconds long
  • a 2/2 bar at 120 bpm is still 2 seconds long
  • a 1/4 bar at 120 bpm is 0.5 seconds long

So to get more bars into the same amount of time, change the ratio of the top and bottom:

  • 8/4 makes half as many bars in the same amount of time compared to 4/4
  • 2/4 makes twice as many bars in the same amount of time compared to 4/4
  • 1/4 makes 4 times as many bars in the same amount of time compared to 4/4

Thanks Nico, but I don’t want to change the number of bars. I am just trying to add a variable in the tempo (expressed as bpm in Cubase), which is the definition of the beat. On a musical score, the tempo is expressed as “quarter-note=240”, or “half-note = 120”. See the attached picture. Beat is not a notion in “classical” music.

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You can’t change this as far as I know. It is always beats per minute, I’m afraid.

I’ve made a request. TL;DR, it’s as @mlindeb says, the tempo number in Cubase (e.g. 120) always refers to a quarter note.


Thanks ggmanestraki, that’s exactly my point. I see there’s a lot of discussion about this topic already lol ! Good to know I am not the only one finding this restriction painful !
I have added my vote to your request

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There has always been discussion, since many years ago, but disperesed in threads like this one, where a user wonders what’s going on, and why the M.M. marking of the printed music page does not agree with what Cubase shows on the screen. With this new forum, it’s easier to link threads together, so I hope that this little quirk will get more visibility, more united voices, and Steinberg decides on a way to best handle this.


Sorry - I misinterpreted what you were trying to achieve.

No problem, thanks for your help anyway !

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