Old 03-15-2021, 08:19 AM   #1
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Default Tempo for compound signatures (FIXED)

Bpm stands for "beat per minute" and a 6/8 time signature has 2 beats of doted 1/4 note per bar. Unfortunatly it seems that Reaper's tempo is always set on a 1/4 note basis.

Am i wrong ?
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Old 03-15-2021, 09:07 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by JDO View Post
Bpm stands for "beat per minute" and a 6/8 time signature has 2 beats of doted 1/4 note per bar. Unfortunatly it seems that Reaper's tempo is always set on a 1/4 note basis.

Am i wrong ?
You can adjust the metronome settings ... see below. If you use a full stop instead of B for the 2nd, 3rd, 5th and 6th quarter notes you will get the result you want.

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Old 03-16-2021, 03:20 AM   #3
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Default I was not clear

Thank you for your very clear answer.

I know about setting the metronome and it works perfectly. My question was about the tempo itself. Let me try to explain :
Let's say I want a tempo of 60BPM in 6/8. A beat in 6/8 is a doted quarter note therefore I expect a doted quarter note evry second but Reaper set it to a simple quarter note every second ! So I need to set the tempo to 90BPM.

This is not critical but I mainly write "classical musique" very often including multiple time signature and tempo changes so this involves frequent calculations.

Hope I am clear enough this time
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Old 04-01-2021, 06:06 AM   #4
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I agree with your post JDO. I'm switching over from Pro Tools to Reaper, and almost gave up on the program when I discovered this strange tempo behavior. After doing some investigation, I found that every other DAW I tested did the same thing, defining bpm as quarter notes in all meters (Logic, Live, and I believe Cubase as well). It astounds me that Pro Tools is apparently the only one of these DAWs that allows the (imo) extremely basic and essential function of being able to set the timebase for a tempo.

My suggestion is that Reaper add a secondary selection box when you set a tempo that allows you to define which note gets the beat. That way if you wanted to count 6/8 in quarter or eighth notes the option is available, but you could also set it to the more-traditional dotted quarter.

I know a lot of people will see this as an esoteric or nitpicky request, but it's extremely frustrating when you have a piece of music written out and ready to record, and then you have to go into the DAW and change all the tempo values to something other than what's written in order to accommodate this bizarre, alternate definition of beats per minute. Especially in a piece of music with a number of meter changes, in which case you have to keep track of what kind of arithmetic you have to apply to which sections of the song in order to arrive at the correct tempo. For my workflow it's possible, if annoying and time consuming, to do these calculations by hand, but I don't know what you would do if you were using an external MIDI source, for instance sending notes in from a score editor where the tempo was set correctly.

Apologies for ranting a bit. I've just been tearing my hair out for the past two weeks trying to find some way around this, or some other DAW that handles this better, and it's been extremely discouraging to find that the only solution is apparently to go back to Avid and their exploitative business model. If this were added somewhere on the feature roadmap, even just as an acknowledgement that the current system needs revision, it would be a big help to anyone who writes music in non-X/4 time signatures.

Last edited by vverb; 04-01-2021 at 10:55 AM. Reason: Excised unnecessary snark
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Old 04-01-2021, 06:54 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by JDO View Post
Thank you for your very clear answer.

I know about setting the metronome and it works perfectly. My question was about the tempo itself. Let me try to explain :
Let's say I want a tempo of 60BPM in 6/8. A beat in 6/8 is a doted quarter note therefore I expect a doted quarter note evry second but Reaper set it to a simple quarter note every second ! So I need to set the tempo to 90BPM.

This is not critical but I mainly write "classical musique" very often including multiple time signature and tempo changes so this involves frequent calculations.

Hope I am clear enough this time

Excuse my possible ignorance in this area, but doesn't the bottom number in a time sig define the the length of a beat? e.g., 6/8 at 60 bpm would have one eighth note per second?

As described here:
https://www.pianotv.net/2015/09/more...ime-signature/
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Old 04-01-2021, 07:53 AM   #6
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Excuse my possible ignorance in this area, but doesn't the bottom number in a time sig define the the length of a beat? e.g., 6/8 at 60 bpm would have one eighth note per second?
Yes, but unfortunately Reaper seems to be hard-coded to consider a 1/4 note as a "beat," regardless of what the time signature says. At 60 BPM, I get 2 1/8 notes per second. I have to change the tempo to 30 BPM to get 1/8 note per second.

I really like the way Finale (and probably other notation software) lets you define the beat and tempo separately. For example, you can set the time signature to 12/8, and define the tempo as dotted 1/4 = 60 BPM.

One way to fix this in Reaper would be to add that same capability, and have old projects default to using 1/4 note as the "beat". That way it wouldn't alter the tempo of existing projects.
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Old 04-01-2021, 07:58 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philbo King View Post
Excuse my possible ignorance in this area, but doesn't the bottom number in a time sig define the the length of a beat? e.g., 6/8 at 60 bpm would have one eighth note per second?

As described here:
https://www.pianotv.net/2015/09/more...ime-signature/
In simple meters, yes the bottom number in the time signature is the beat. 4/4 is four quarter notes in a bar, with the beat equal to the quarter note.

Compound meters don't behave the same way, because the beat in a compound meter is subdivided in 3 instead of 2. So in 6/8, there are 6 8th notes in the bar, and the beat is the dotted quarter note. See the subsection on "6/8 time signature vs. 3/4" on the same page you linked.

And aside from that point, I don't believe Reaper even assigns the beat value to the denominator in the time signature, it just uses the quarter note for everything, so 60bpm in 6/8 is counted as 60 quarter notes per minute, not 60 dotted quarters or even, as you suggested, 60 eighth notes.

Last edited by vverb; 04-01-2021 at 08:05 AM. Reason: Clarified quotation
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Old 04-01-2021, 08:01 AM   #8
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It seems to me that fixing it would create backward-compatibility issues. I've just gotten used to having to recalculate the tempo when the beat isn't a 1/4 note.
I feel like the backwards compatibility would be resolved by just having the beat unit be selectable. It could even default to the quarter note, so as not to break old sessions by trying to reinterpret the tempi. That seems to me like the best approach in all cases, because I could even see wanting to count the 8th note in cases (maybe it's a section in 5/8 with an 8th note extension on one bar). The problem is both that Reaper insists on deciding for us which note gets the beat /and/ makes an extremely unintuitive decision about what note that is.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lunker View Post
I really like the way Finale (and probably other notation software) lets you define the beat and tempo separately. For example, you can set the time signature to 12/8, and define the tempo as dotted 1/4 = 60 BPM.

One way to fix this in Reaper would be to add that same capability, and have old projects default to using 1/4 note as the "beat". That way it wouldn't alter the tempo of existing projects.
Sorry, I replied initially without reading carefully. Yes this is how Pro Tools works, and most of the score editors I've used as well (Sibelius, MuseScore, Guitar Pro). It was, I assumed until very recently, how all DAWs worked.

Last edited by vverb; 04-01-2021 at 08:04 AM. Reason: Addition
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Old 04-01-2021, 08:02 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by vverb View Post
I feel like the backwards compatibility would be resolved by just having the beat unit be selectable. It could even default to the quarter note, so as not to break old sessions by trying to reinterpret the tempi. That seems to me like the best approach in all cases, because I could even see wanting to count the 8th note in cases (maybe it's a section in 5/8 with an 8th note extension on one bar). The problem is both that Reaper insists on deciding for us which note gets the beat /and/ makes an extremely unintuitive decision about what note that is.
Yeah, I though of that after I posted. I was updating my post, but apparently I type slow and you beat me to it.
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Old 04-01-2021, 09:12 AM   #10
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It would be (fairly) straightforward for us to add a dropdown to the tempo marker dialog to choose the BPM basis (quarter, dotted quarter, etc).

Most straightforward would be for that dropdown to affect the displayed tempo only. In other words, you could enter 60 bpm, 6/8, dotted quarter note basis. The tempo marker would display 60 bpm, but the metronome playback and other behavior would be identical to a tempo of 90 quarter notes per minute. In 6/8 the metronome pattern will expect 6 beats no matter what, but you can enter ABBABB if you want a primary click on every dotted quarter.
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Old 04-01-2021, 09:39 AM   #11
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It would be (fairly) straightforward for us to add a dropdown to the tempo marker dialog to choose the BPM basis (quarter, dotted quarter, etc).

Most straightforward would be for that dropdown to affect the displayed tempo only. In other words, you could enter 60 bpm, 6/8, dotted quarter note basis. The tempo marker would display 60 bpm, but the metronome playback and other behavior would be identical to a tempo of 90 quarter notes per minute. In 6/8 the metronome pattern will expect 6 beats no matter what, but you can enter ABBABB if you want a primary click on every dotted quarter.

I think that that would be a good idea. The posters above are right, in 6/8 time it is customary to have a metronome marking that would say dotted quarter note = [number].

With more complex compound time signatures you could argue about how exactly to subdivide the time but that is for the next level.

If you can add that to the feature request list, many thanks.

In the meantime for the posters above, I have said this before but if you plan to have your music recorded live by musicians I'd recommend exporting a midi or xml file out of Reaper and import that into Sibelius or Dorico or Finale, and then do some formatting etc. so everything looks beautifully engraved. It's easy enough to fix any whacky time signatures or tempo markings (and fix notes that are too long etc.).
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Old 04-01-2021, 10:16 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by schwa View Post
It would be (fairly) straightforward for us to add a dropdown to the tempo marker dialog to choose the BPM basis (quarter, dotted quarter, etc).

Most straightforward would be for that dropdown to affect the displayed tempo only. In other words, you could enter 60 bpm, 6/8, dotted quarter note basis. The tempo marker would display 60 bpm, but the metronome playback and other behavior would be identical to a tempo of 90 quarter notes per minute. In 6/8 the metronome pattern will expect 6 beats no matter what, but you can enter ABBABB if you want a primary click on every dotted quarter.
I think that would be great, and would certainly improve interoperability between Reaper and external score editing or engraving software. The solution you describe sounds like it would work great for me, the only thing I wonder is, if Reaper has assigned the tempo variable to 90 and is just showing 60 in the UI, would that cause any issues with sync if you were using Reawire or something? I'm not sure how that process works and it's not generally how I work but I think I recall a forum post where someone was trying to Reawire Sibelius into Reaper and running into issues with the different time base.
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Old 07-26-2021, 04:29 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schwa View Post
It would be (fairly) straightforward for us to add a dropdown to the tempo marker dialog to choose the BPM basis (quarter, dotted quarter, etc).

Most straightforward would be for that dropdown to affect the displayed tempo only. In other words, you could enter 60 bpm, 6/8, dotted quarter note basis. The tempo marker would display 60 bpm, but the metronome playback and other behavior would be identical to a tempo of 90 quarter notes per minute. In 6/8 the metronome pattern will expect 6 beats no matter what, but you can enter ABBABB if you want a primary click on every dotted quarter.
Any news on this?

It would also help if the grid was changed so that a bolder grid line could be placed on the 4th quaver (in 6/8) or the dotted crotchet - however you want to look at it.
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Old 07-27-2021, 05:52 AM   #14
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This was done in the prerelease builds some time ago (April 12). We're letting it stay in prerelease for a while to make sure there are no unintended side effects.
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Old 09-05-2021, 12:03 AM   #15
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Wow! I installed the fresh 6.36 this morning immediately before a session without reading the changelog. (something that I'd only ever feel comfortable doing with REAPER)

And, lo and behold, when I started to add tempo markers during my session I discover the BPM basis option!

I didn't have to convert back and forth from crotchet to dotted crotchet BPM when discussing tempo with clients for a 6/8 tune!!!

This is something I've wished (and asked) for in the past and there it was, right when I needed it.

Thank you all involved in making this happen. I know it probably seems trivial to some users but this makes a session flow just that bit more smoothly.

Woohoo!
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Old 09-06-2021, 08:12 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by adcingeo View Post
Wow! I installed the fresh 6.36 this morning immediately before a session without reading the changelog. (something that I'd only ever feel comfortable doing with REAPER)

And, lo and behold, when I started to add tempo markers during my session I discover the BPM basis option!

I didn't have to convert back and forth from crotchet to dotted crotchet BPM when discussing tempo with clients for a 6/8 tune!!!

This is something I've wished (and asked) for in the past and there it was, right when I needed it.

Thank you all involved in making this happen. I know it probably seems trivial to some users but this makes a session flow just that bit more smoothly.

Woohoo!
Wow just seen this. How did I miss this in the changelogs! I'd been asking steinberg about this for 15 years!!!!

Last edited by mozart999uk; 09-06-2021 at 08:14 AM. Reason: Updated result
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