[ardour-users] feature idea: draggable measure lines

Paul Winkler pw_lists at slinkp.com
Thu Apr 6 08:16:22 PDT 2006

Just wondering if this would be useful to anybody else...

I sometimes record live musicians without a click track and then want to
line up the bars and beats with what they actually played.
Sort of the opposite of time-stretching the music to match the grid.
I want to stretch the grid to match the music!

This way I'd get easy snap-to-bar editing, and the ability to drive
jack-transport-aware apps with a real "human" feel.  I can also
retroactively add a click track - which I've already found really handy
when attempting to overdub to a particularly difficult drum track (very
syncopated, weird meter).

I can do this today, but holy cow it is tedious. Turn on the click
track, add a tempo marker at the beginning of the first bar, guesstimate
the tempo of that bar, see how long you can play before it's out of
sync, adjust the tempo until it's exactly right for the first bar (or,
with luck, two bars); then move on to the next bar, add another tempo
marker, rinse and repeat.  

I end up with tempo markers at the beginning of almost every single bar
with slightly different tempos... 119.5, 119, 118, 119, 119.5, 121,
119,...  and no you can't just take an average, the click will audibly
go in and out of sync.

Yesterday I spent almost an hour doing this for under two minutes of
music.  I know my drummer's not a pro, but hey, I did this with a Led
Zeppelin track once to figure out what the heck they were playing, and
the tempo was all over the place.  Humans are like that. Sometimes it
sounds better that way.

It would go much, much faster if there were a way (new mouse mode?) to
adjust the tempo of a bar by dragging.  I think the way this would work
would be: You select one (or more, via shift-select) tempo markers, and
then drag left or right. The result is that the tempo of the two markers
*before* and *after* the selection are scaled automatically to fit.
(Sanity restriction: you cannot drag farther than one bar in either direction.)

Anybody else tried working like this?  Any thoughts on the idea?


Paul Winkler

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