Tap this again and again. Beat on this tool.
March 1, 2007 3:34 PM   Subscribe

I create loop-based MIDI music. I want to jam with a live drummer who can't play to a click track so I'll have to manually sync to him. Come!! Let us discuss tactics and tools.

So yeah.

Q: In the shifting waters of human tempo, how do I pilot my little MIDI rig through the Jungle of Most Prosperous Groove?

A: In the words of one of my music teachers, "Listen. And adjust. Listen. And adjust. Listen.." So forth. And so on.

I imagine a foot pedal onto which I stomp quarter notes. Or maybe a little midi trigger doodadpad. There I am: tap, tap, tap along with the drummer.

I imagine a simple little midi applet that listens to my clumsy stomping and applies math vaseline and starts pumping out rock-steady MIDI clock at exactly "133.3 BPM".

Will I have to tap every single quarter note of the song? What if I take a break and use both hands? Will the beat-tapping-midi-clock software of today meet my needs? Or will I need to code this up myself with some midi programming language? How can computormachine let me adjust. And adjust. And adjust. ???

All I fracking need is "Humanly Repeating Midi Event" converted into a "Steady Midi Clock". Please unfurl your intelligenitals.
posted by Moistener to Media & Arts (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Hum... Have you asked your drummer if he can play to a click-track? That doesn't seem to be too unreasonable a request. I mean, it is WAY easier for him to adjust his tempo than it is for you to adjust yours.

I was thinking it should be possible for a computer to extract the tempo just by listening... after all, those visualization programs tend to pulse with the beat of the music, so if you could just recognize that pulse that's all you need. However, I tried searching things like "beat recognition" and "tempo recognition" and mostly got academic papers from digital signal processing labs, which means that solutions to these problems exist but not in a conveniently packaged form you can buy off the shelf. Sounds like a business opportunity. Wish I could be more helpful.
posted by PercussivePaul at 3:58 PM on March 1, 2007

Best answer: It just so happens that a friend of mine made this tempo tracking software which really works quite well in my experience.
posted by 31d1 at 4:02 PM on March 1, 2007

Well, I stand corrected.
posted by PercussivePaul at 4:03 PM on March 1, 2007

I've seen DJ mixers as well as standalone boxes that will sync to a drum track or tap pad and output MIDI clock. I'm pretty sure this Pioneer effects unit could do the trick, but is probably overkill.
posted by kableh at 4:19 PM on March 1, 2007

If you are playing bass parts, the drummer is probably going to be able to listen and sync to that to some extent, and reasonably used to doing so -- at least in my limited experience.
posted by advil at 5:13 PM on March 1, 2007

The Korg Kaoss Pad and other effects/processor boxes have a feature called "tap tempo" and can send MIDI clock data. Tapping the tempo is not always that accurate though. I think the Korg Electribe drum synths and samples have these features too, but that may be more than you're looking to spend.
posted by lekvar at 5:23 PM on March 1, 2007

You could attach a midi trigger to the hi-hats and have this set the tempo. It's been a while since I have dealt in-depth with MIDI but I remember discussing this with my professor and he told me it is feasible and had been done. There are very small MIDI triggers called microdots that measure pressure and can convert these pulses into Midi data. Then it is just a matter of telling your MIDI software that this is the trigger and it should set the tempo.

This is all being pulled out of my foggy memory though (and I just got back from a raging birthday party). A more experienced MIDI guru is free to call bullshit if I'm dreaming this.
posted by chillmost at 5:23 PM on March 1, 2007

Response by poster: 31d1, you're my favorite internet.
posted by Moistener at 6:05 PM on March 1, 2007 [1 favorite]

I actually do what you're describing; I use Ableton Live, which allows me to "tap" the tempo out, and it makes the loops match the tapped tempo. You can set the tapping to be triggered by a computer keyboard or a MIDI note.
posted by eustacescrubb at 4:56 AM on March 2, 2007

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