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Tempo Mapping Advice

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#1 grievy

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Posted January 25, 2019 - 10:49 PM

What's the best way to go about tempo mapping?


I'm currently working on my first custom. Set the BPM and started charting. Inevitably towards the middle of the song the notes were no longer sat in time so I started going through the song and adjusting the tempo in places where it was falling behind or speeding up.


In future I guess I should complete a tempo map before starting to chart.


How vigilant should I be with tempo mapping? Is mapping every measure overkill or worthwhile?

#2 doa

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Posted January 25, 2019 - 10:58 PM

I'm not great at tempo mapping so I tend to do a bare bones drum chart as I tempo map to double check that my map is correct and matches the song structure. I always put one marker per measure (unless I feel the song needs more (which is not that often)).


Edit: It is very important that your chart syncs up with the music and stays in sync throughout. This is the basis of a good custom. 

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Posted January 26, 2019 - 02:17 AM

The first thing I check for is when a song has constant tempo. Constant tempo is common in newer music, pr music with generally modern production. If it's obviously not, then you could go for the traditional approach of lining up the waveforms and using Q, or you could try using differing integer tempos. Pro tip: you can use your scroll wheel while hovering over the BPM area on your REAPER taskbar and it'll raise and lower the BPM where your play line is by 1.

#4 BornGamerRob

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Posted January 26, 2019 - 02:35 AM

Always tempo map before fully charting or it'll all end in tears and frustration. Take it from a guy whose had to go back through a few of the beginning ones and redo the whole thing. Totally sucked.


Anyway, take a look at this current thread:



Although that's not my preferred method, it might resonate with you.


You absolutely do NOT need to put a marker at every measure unless it calls for it (I haven't come across any that have needed THAT much help). You should drop markers when needed, and that is usually when the beat doesn't align or it's slightly off (since, inevitably, it will start to spiral after that slightly off location). There are some songs where I've dropped a hundred and some songs I've dropped ten (usually heavily electronic-influenced music that programmed their drums). Really depends on how well the band plays to the beat.


Keep with it. That was the toughest thing for me to learn, but once you get it, it's not so daunting anymore.

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#5 Tof1998

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Posted January 26, 2019 - 03:36 AM

Hmm  Tempo mapping...


It used to be the bane  of my life.. ( still is if the im charting 70s music )


Take it from me, that a bang on tempo map will make charting the song a lot easier ..( well it does for me )


There is an old tempo mapping tutorial on you tube , by pksage....    its still relevant so it should help ......


Ive been thinking about doing a live stream on Tempo mapping, if i decide to do it, ill let you know.


Good luck

#6 grievy

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Posted January 26, 2019 - 10:00 AM

Thanks folks. I actually decided to start the custom from scratch. I did a tempo map and cleaned up the bass chart I had done but decided I'd rather do it as best as possible and so made a clean start on it.


I have bass done and just wants a little refinement, and the basic drums are down and just needing some cleaning up on fills etc. Did an export to try it out as it is on RB3 and it's pretty damn exciting seeing something you've put an evenings work into on screen.

#7 akaisenshi

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Posted January 26, 2019 - 02:40 PM

A couple of useful tips I can think of is adjusting the "rate" slider to slow the song down which can help you make more precise decisions with ease. While it's slowed down it will effect the pitch of the song too, but you can prevent that by right-clicking the slider and toggling the option "preserve pitch in audio items when changing master playrate". Also, tempo mapping to go right along with the drums (when they are present) seems to be the easiest in my opinion.

#8 Atruejedi

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Posted January 26, 2019 - 06:19 PM

Did an export to try it out as it is on RB3 and it's pretty damn exciting seeing something you've put an evenings work into on screen.


Yes indeed! That first step of simply getting a song compiled in Magma and into your library is magical, as if you've cupped dirt in the palms of your hands and given it life with your breath. We become gods.


Also, Reaper's metronome (top right button in the top left of the screen) is very helpful to demonstrate your tempo map is solid.

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#9 akaisenshi

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Posted January 27, 2019 - 01:20 PM

Also, Reaper's metronome (top right button in the top left of the screen) is very helpful to demonstrate your tempo map is solid.

Yes, the metronome is virtually the most essential tool for constructing a good tempo map!

#10 hobbzee77

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Posted March 3, 2019 - 09:33 PM

here's a quick video tutorial on what seems to be an alternative method,  but personally i find it way easier, some of u might too?!





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