Tempo maps for single-track songs?

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    So how do I make a tempo map for a single-track song? I can see how doing it on a multitrack song would be easier, but if I wanted to throw an MP3 in Reaper and play around, what’s a not-so-painful way of building the tempo map?


      The guys here can give you the method they used, but whenever I’ve done it, I just get a tapper, tap to the beat of the song, use that as an estimate, and tweak it if it seems to get off sync. The other authors do matching that’s a little closer to the intended method, but I could never get it the way I liked it, so I do it a different way.


      I tend to author songs with limited or no bpm changes, of course, so… yeah.

        what’s a not-so-painful way of building the tempo map?

        There is only pain.


        I turn the metronome on in reaper and then for example if it is in 4/4 time, I play the song and wherever the downbeat is I press Q and then it tempo maps the 4 bars. You just need to keep hitting Q every 4 bars basically.


        For some songs, even when working with a full song mix, you can see the beats as peaks in the waveform. So I’ve used a combination of Reaper’s metronome and visually placing markers on the beats.


        It definitely gets tricky when there are tempo changes. I’ve actually found counting out on my fingers helps sometimes, haha.


          Except for rare occasions, you will always see peaks, use those because just listening is not enough. If you author fairly known songs, look for a GP or MIDI file, import it and you usually get correct time signatures and a VERY vague BPM rate to start with. You then proceed to add a tempo marker each measure, more or less and if needed, but you at least have a solid reference of the time signatures.


          I starting trying to tempo map a 7/4 Deftones song that has a waveform that looks like a solid bar.


          I decided maybe that wasn’t the best first song to chart.

            I starting trying to tempo map a 7/4 Deftones song that has a waveform that looks like a solid bar.

            Don’t forget to make the track bigger vertically and zoom in horizontally! Generally, the only songs that are impossible are victims of the Loudness Wars, where everything is mush.


            Maybe I’m not in a position to offer advice as I’m still working on my first song but here’s what I did and it was pretty painless. Since the song I’m working on has a constant tempo, I placed the recording of the song into reaper, used the drum beat to highlight one full measure as accurately as possible using the waveform and pressed Q. I had estimated the tempo to be 144 BPM, reaper spit out 139.XXXXX (some decimal number). I set that as the tempo for the whole song and sure enough it’s spot on. Be sure to set the metronome so that reaper knows what time signature it’s counting.


            I can see how it would be annoying if you’re dealing with a bunch of abnormal time signatures and tempos though.


            Anyway, that’s just how I did it, not sure how most do it. Just putting it out there because it worked great for me.


            Seems like it depends on the song a lot. A lot of stuff that’s more “rock” varies enough that it’ll get noticeably off after a few measures, but more synth stuff tends to stay on beat better.


            If there’s a particular measure that you can’t spot well in a waveform, you can always just place the measure marker such that the next measure lines up correctly. Basically just splitting the difference.


            Also it’s worth mentioning that hitting T will do what Q does, but let you switch the time signatures, which can be handy for songs that switch regularly (pretty sure one song I started charting was four measures of 3/8 followed by a measure of 4/8).

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