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  #1  
Old 05-15-2013, 10:35 AM
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nigelpry nigelpry is offline
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Default Creating a more natural tempo

For many years I've had a few template empty projects with continuously varying tempos, made by very precisely tempo mapping (every beat of every bar) some of my favourite songs that were originally recorded free form (not played to a click or drum machine). Many of the changes beat to beat are mostly fractions of one BPM, but sometimes one or two BPM.

When creating sequenced music that I want to sound more natural, I import the tempo map from one of these templates to provide a starting point. I adjust the whole map up or down to get the basic tempo I want.

Then I can place all the midi directly on the grid, and quantise loops etc to that grid as well, and it all sounds more natural, because of the small tempo fluctuations built in.

The one thing to watch out for, is that generally, you'll spot the tempo naturally picking up a little approaching the chorus, and slowing down again at the end. Other pick up/slow down points will happen in the song you are tempo mapping too.

Make sure you are aware of them, and move those pick ups/slow downs into the correct parts of your song. You can always copy bits of the tempo map around to fill in extra bits where you need them, and delete out bits you don't need.

Pick songs to tempo map that have a good tight rhythm section, so the tempo fluctuations stay subtle.

Try it, you'll be amazed how much more natural it makes sequenced music sound.
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Last edited by DigiTechSupt; 05-15-2013 at 07:06 PM. Reason: Moved from the CPTK thread to a) give it more visability, and b) keep that thread on topic.
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  #2  
Old 07-20-2015, 12:32 PM
noah330 noah330 is offline
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Default Re: Creating a more natural tempo

I have tried a lot of solutions over the years but the best I have found is to play your main parts without any click and get the feel right.

After that I sometimes edit a little bit to fix parts I don't play perfectly (like drums for example).
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Old 09-22-2015, 01:06 AM
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Andy Gone Andy Gone is offline
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Default Re: Creating a more natural tempo

I always found it better to record by hand if I want a natural sound. Even if it is electronic music, recording to a click using some dynamic-sensitive keyboard or controller will do the job faster than trying to 'humanize' something already quantized to death. It is just faster to me to correct couple of recording mistakes than to mess around with all the dynamics.
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Old 09-22-2015, 05:58 PM
albee1952 albee1952 is offline
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Default Re: Creating a more natural tempo

Define "natural tempo" I have had drummers that could not play to a click but sounded "fine" without. And I have also had drummers that were locked to the click like glue, and STILL sounded perfectly natural. Sometimes its not how things fit to the click, but simply how they groove(or don't) My preference, both as an engineer and as a player, is to use a click whenever possible
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Old 09-22-2015, 11:44 PM
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Default Re: Creating a more natural tempo

Quote:
Originally Posted by albee1952 View Post
Define "natural tempo" I have had drummers that could not play to a click but sounded "fine" without. And I have also had drummers that were locked to the click like glue, and STILL sounded perfectly natural. Sometimes its not how things fit to the click, but simply how they groove(or don't) My preference, both as an engineer and as a player, is to use a click whenever possible
Lazy boy albee ;-)

I'm envious of you, unfortunately the majority of my recording work is with people who, for one reason or another, don't want to play to a click.

I'm at the lower end of the market, unsigned and locally signed bands/artists, often self funded and with little studio experience, and, quite often, the drummer simply finds the click intimidating. Sometimes, the drummer might be reasonably decent, but due to lack of exposure, simply can't mentally sync in to a click.

In case this is of interest to sny of you .... (and I have mentioned it breifly in one or two siimilar threads over the years, so apologies for that)

Many years ago, back in Cubase VST3.5 and VST5 days, late 90s, I did a huge project with a band that had no keyboard player, and hired someone remotely to provide keyboard parts, which he did in MIDI format.

While the band were reasonable, they had one major asset, a drummer who had toured the world and was simply wonderful to work with.

I went through a laborious task with the old Cubase tempo mapping facility and then imported the MIDI files. Lo and behold, with very little effort, they slotted straight in, and acquired the free form 'groove' of the band.

It was a eureka moment for me, and I made the effort to save a set of template project files containing only the tempo maps. They had everything you would expect, slight variations throughout, a subtle speeding up as the chorus approached, a similar slowing down as the song anticipated coming out of the chorus back into a verse, slower breakdown sections, the final choruses a touch faster than those early on in the song, etc etc.

Since then, if I record bands 'sans click' and find I'm not happy with the 'groove', I analyse the recording to get a rough idea of appropriate tempo, then create a session containing the appropriate saved tempo map template, import the audio to it from the recording, and adjust to taste, mapping the audio to the tempo.

Cut, copy and paste tempos as neceesary to make sure those subtle speed ups/slow downs are in the correct places, and let the small timings variations throughout the song do their work.

Consistently, the result has been a dramatic improvement over the original, in those cases where I'm obliged to use the technique, because I go through the process only when I'm concerned that I'm more likely to suck the life out of the song by conforming to a rigid fixed tempo.

It has improved band recordings markedly on dozens of occasions for me over the years, and its got to the stage nowadays that I can pretty much identify during the first take whether I'm going to need to employ the technique.

Of course it's more time consuming, but once you've tempo mapped the recording and set the audio to move with any tempo changes you introduce, then replacing the tempo map with my 'stock' tempo templates is fairly quick, it's more about identifying and curing any anomalies that creep in duing the process.

PS due to its much better workflow for doing this, I generally export from Pro Tools, import into Cubase, do the work there, then return everything to Pro Tools for mixing.
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Old 09-23-2015, 08:41 AM
albee1952 albee1952 is offline
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Default Re: Creating a more natural tempo

In the words of Arte Johnson..."very interesting"!
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Old 12-09-2015, 06:35 AM
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Default Re: Creating a more natural tempo

Most natural tempo is when the whole band plays the song together, whether with or without click. That's just the way it is, musicians create music together.
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Old 05-31-2016, 09:36 AM
jarrydee jarrydee is offline
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Default Re: Creating a more natural tempo

we use some crap drum loops for starters, get the arrangement down on guitars and everything. Then I will retrack the drums to the new arrangement with no click, after that we get to tracking the keeper guitars and bass to the new drums, works out pretty good. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fBz3...XkW70ND3Nh90zQ
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Old 05-31-2016, 09:51 AM
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Default Re: Creating a more natural tempo

That isn't bad at all :)


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Old 05-31-2016, 10:04 AM
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Default Re: Creating a more natural tempo

Here's my method to record a band that is used to playing together live (and NOT used to playing to a click):

1. Record the band live, no click, mainly to get a good drum track. Make sure you get complete separation, i.e. no bleed.
2. Group all tracks.
3. Cut every 2 bars (not 1 bar, not 4 bars). TCE each 2-bar chunk to the same length.
4. Over-dub to the now tempo-edited tracks. The original instrument tracks serve as a guide, until they get re-played. (I usually keep the drums, and overdub the rest.)

The end result sounds natural - not quantized to death - but is still in-tempo.

My 2 cents!!!
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