You are here

Tempo analysis software

Arrangement, instrumentation, lyric writing, music theory, inspiration… it’s all here.

Tempo analysis software

Postby imw » Sat Dec 09, 2017 2:03 pm

Hello,

I am trying to find some simple (free, if possible) analysis software which could detect and create a tempo map/graph of the particular audio file. I mean not just general tempo of the song, but how it is changing within the whole track. Currently writing my bachelor thesis and there is a topic about comparing songs recorded with and without the click track. I have found something which seemed to do this job (http://static.echonest.com/bpmexp/bpmexp.html/), but unfortunately I did not manage to get it work properly (website is outdated and there is no chance to get in touch with a developer). Any kind of help will be appreciated! Thank you very much!

M.
imw
New here
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2017 12:19 am

Re: Tempo analysis software

Postby The Elf » Sat Dec 09, 2017 2:10 pm

Most DAWs have this ability. What software do you already have access to?
User avatar
The Elf
Jedi Poster
Posts: 11579
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2001 12:00 am
Location: Sheffield, UK
An Eagle for an Emperor, A Kestrel for a Knave.

Re: Tempo analysis software

Postby imw » Sat Dec 09, 2017 3:24 pm

Hello. Thank you for your reply. I could have an access for Ableton or Logic. Could you write me a brief guide how to make tempo maps on these platforms? I would prefer something quick and easy, if possible. Thanks a lot!

M.
imw
New here
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2017 12:19 am

Re: Tempo analysis software

Postby The Elf » Sat Dec 09, 2017 4:15 pm

I don't use either of those, but others here do. I'm sure now we know what tools you have someone will be along to help out.
User avatar
The Elf
Jedi Poster
Posts: 11579
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2001 12:00 am
Location: Sheffield, UK
An Eagle for an Emperor, A Kestrel for a Knave.

Re: Tempo analysis software

Postby desmond » Sat Dec 09, 2017 4:27 pm

imw wrote:Hello. Thank you for your reply. I could have an access for Ableton or Logic. Could you write me a brief guide how to make tempo maps on these platforms? I would prefer something quick and easy, if possible. Thanks a lot!

Did you already search YouTube? - I'm sure there are loads of videos demonstrating these kinds of features. Both Live and Logic can do this perfectly well, in a few different ways depending on your material.

Much quicker than typing out detailed instructions here... :thumbup:
User avatar
desmond
Jedi Poster
Posts: 8242
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2006 1:00 am

Re: Tempo analysis software

Postby imw » Sat Dec 09, 2017 7:27 pm

Thank you all for your replies. I have found this video on YouTube.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-7LN4xX7qk

I think it could do the job, but it's quite time consuming (you have to mark all those beats etc.) What I am trying to find is some piece of software which can do that based on some algorithm, so I just upload/load my audio file and receive a graph of tempo from the whole piece as a result. This website I have previously posted supposed offered something similar, but unfortunately it does not work anymore. (http://static.echonest.com/bpmexp/bpmexp.html)

Thank you!
imw
New here
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2017 12:19 am

Re: Tempo analysis software

Postby desmond » Sat Dec 09, 2017 10:52 pm

I only had a quick look at that video (it was the first one I found too) - he's using one method based on the material he is working with (like I said, writing out this procedure can get complicated and the methods differ depending on wha you want to do, which is why a few videos are often an easier introduction).

Logic (and Live etc) can detect beats from transients automatically and make a tempo map from that, but you have to have material with good transients for that to work - that's obviously not going to work on a classical piece, when the beats are going to be somewhat "fluid" anyway and there are no regular easy transients to derive tempo from.

These tools are generally coming at this from a music production standpoint, which i why their toolsets work the way they do. If you are trying to do something more academic or research-based, and you want to construct various tempo analyses of various pieces of music, then probably a DAW is not going to be the best tool for the job - there maybe be some more research-based tools better for this - but that's somewhat outside the scope of this music production-based forum, of course...
User avatar
desmond
Jedi Poster
Posts: 8242
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2006 1:00 am

Re: Tempo analysis software

Postby Wonks » Sat Dec 09, 2017 11:45 pm

If it is a classical piece (as Desmond mentioned) , then if you've aren't having much luck and if you've got the score, then you can have a go at adding your own hitpoints at the beginning of each bar (though you may have to extrapolate if there are silences that start before and end after a bar marker) and let the DAW build its tempo map from that. Hard work if it's a long piece I know.
User avatar
Wonks
Jedi Poster
Posts: 6402
Joined: Thu May 29, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Reading, UK
Now even grumpier than Ivan in his heyday.

Re: Tempo analysis software

Postby forumuser939850 » Sun Dec 10, 2017 12:28 am

Interesting subject. I would be interested to hear what you find out for your bachelor thesis. Or read it when it's done. I've been thinking about this for some time, too.

I don't know any software that let's you export a tempo graph. I frequently make graphs (tempo track) in Cubase manually, but I don't think there is a graph export. According to my recollection, Ableton Live is designed to warp stuff into time easily (into a fixed tempo). Variable tempo is also possible, but I'm not sure how easy it is to make a graph for tracks with variabletempo in Live. I could look into it if you like.

In Cubase, it takes me maybe 30min per track to make a tempo track for a normal pop song that is recorded with variable tempo, like say a Beatles song. Sometimes less, sometimes more. I usually mark and adjust the 1 of every bar and occasionally that of every beat. With some practice that goes pretty fast. But it's not super exact. Say you would do it twice for the same track, you can get different tempo curves. After you done it a few times, you get a lot better at it, but at the beginning it's tough for the brain.

Some programs have a beat detection function. In Cubase, I find that it doesn't work well enough to be usable on anything I ever tried. I'm a lot more precise when I do it by hand. I doubt that other programs (DAWs) are much better. But if you find something out, let us know, please. Samplitude perhaps?

If all you want to know is if the track is recorded to click track or not, that goes pretty fast though. Just load track into DAW, adjust the project tempo so that the intro matches and see if the track fits to your grid or wanders off (either slowly or at drum fills usually). For a lot of classical music you can do that basically by ear since the tempo deviations are so great. Occasionally you'll need to check. I think one frequent pattern in classical music is to mark phrases with tempo changes. I wonder if you could show that using "a laboratory approach" with a DAW. And there is a lot of classical music that doesn't work that way also. A lot of baroque music seems basically in fixed tempo.

I'd the method of manually making a tempo track in a DAW of your choice is not applicable to analyze tons of tracks, but a select few you could very well do for a Bachelor thesis (say half a dozen or a dozen). Or alternatively, why don't you look into music information retrieval (MIR) and see what algorithms they have and what the problems are. But I guess that would require some programming skills, not sure if that fits your bachelor program.

So much from me and my musicological perspective

PS: Perhaps one of the DJ programs could be useful. VirtualDJ is free I believe and probably also applies a fixed tempo grid visually over automatically detected tempo. Not sure if that helps.
forumuser939850
Poster
Posts: 25
Joined: Tue Jul 12, 2016 12:30 pm

Re: Tempo analysis software

Postby imw » Sun Dec 10, 2017 12:50 am

Thank you all for your answers. I really appreciated that the community here really cares :thumbup:

Actually, these DAW method seems to be the only solution since there is probably nothing easier out there...But still quite time consuming. These complex analysis tools already need some programming skills, so nothing for me. True is, that maybe I will need just a few examples and therefore I would go for the DAW solution.

Interesting subject. I would be interested to hear what you find out for bachelor thesis. Or read it when it's done.
Actually, the topic of the thesis is more about the technology changing the way how drummers play. From the metronomes to recording sessions with click tracks in the headphones. Then drum machines, sequencers and other stuff, which radically changed the way how drummers started to perceive the rhythm and interpret it. So it is still quite "musical" oriented topic, but there is a chapter where I would like to mention some examples of how click track influenced music respectively rhythm. Let's see. I have already found some interesting articles on these topic, but I wanted to make some of these graphs by myself and not just quoting everything. The thing is that it turned to be more complicated as it seemed :mrgreen:

For those who might be interested about the click track and it's relation to the music industry, musicians etc. Check this:

https://musicmachinery.com/2009/03/02/i ... ick-track/
(This website provides quite a lot of information and they use this software I have mentioned previously. Unfortunately, it is not working anymore)

Thanks again. I will let you know, if I find something.
imw
New here
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2017 12:19 am

Re: Tempo analysis software

Postby The Elf » Sun Dec 10, 2017 1:05 am

No matter how good these beat detection processes are (and the one in Cubase is actually pretty good in my experience!), you won't get away with a 'fire and forget' approach - it's going to need a considerable amount of manual help to clean up the beats, determine time signature, mis-detections, etc.

In short I'd abandon any idea of an easy meal - it's going to require effort and time from you to get the results you want!

Cubase does have a graph in the form of a graphical tempo map - I can't speak for other DAWs.
User avatar
The Elf
Jedi Poster
Posts: 11579
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2001 12:00 am
Location: Sheffield, UK
An Eagle for an Emperor, A Kestrel for a Knave.

Re: Tempo analysis software

Postby desmond » Sun Dec 10, 2017 1:13 am

If track has good transients, it shouldn't be more than a few minutes of work to produce a usable tempo map, regardless of what tools you use.

Otherwise, my preferred method is to generally "play" along to the track, essentially recording my own metronome. If you have some rhythmic skills, a drum pad is another good way to do this. Then you can clean up your recorded metronome (if necessary) and then use that to remap (or see the tempo variations etc)

It's not a "chuck a few mp3 into a batch process" kind of deal, but if you don't have a huge dataset to process there's no reason it can't be workable - like a lot of these things, it often seems a bit slow and clunky at first, but the more you do, then faster and more accurate you get.

Good luck!
User avatar
desmond
Jedi Poster
Posts: 8242
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2006 1:00 am

Re: Tempo analysis software

Postby Martin Walker » Sun Dec 10, 2017 5:17 pm

imw wrote:For those who might be interested about the click track and it's relation to the music industry, musicians etc. Check this:

https://musicmachinery.com/2009/03/02/i ... ick-track/
(This website provides quite a lot of information and they use this software I have mentioned previously. Unfortunately, it is not working anymore)

Wow - now THAT is a fascinating read imw, and what a useful utility it was (when it worked ;) )


Martin
User avatar
Martin Walker
Moderator
Posts: 12824
Joined: Wed Jan 13, 2010 9:44 am
Location: Cornwall, UK

Re: Tempo analysis software

Postby forumuser939850 » Sun Dec 10, 2017 6:24 pm

Cubase does have a graph in the form of a graphical tempo map

Sure Ableton has one too, but no way of exporting a graph to an image file etc. or even the raw data. As far as i know at least.

technology changing the way how drummers play

You can find out about technologies, approximately when they were used/introduced and who used them etc. And you can analyze recordings and see what drummers/producers etc. did. Then you can speculate about causal relationships.

how drummers started to perceive the rhythm and interpret it

Looking at what recordings do (or drummers on recordings) doesn't really tell you much about how anybody perceives and interprets musical time. For various reasons. Perhaps talking with a drummer helps a little more on this front. Or with producers.

Also, in my experience music is pretty context sensitive. I remember a drummer once told me that in this song the click track was good and in the other it was terrible. I assume it's because not all music works along the same rules. But lots of research forgets to take into consideration that what works for Kraftwerk, may not work for The Rolling Stones, even if recording in the same year.
how click track influenced music respectively rhythm

in my own ear, the click track seems to indicate a whole different culture (i.e. introducing a click track not just has an effect on timing issues, but even on how songs are written).
forumuser939850
Poster
Posts: 25
Joined: Tue Jul 12, 2016 12:30 pm

Re: Tempo analysis software

Postby desmond » Sun Dec 10, 2017 6:46 pm

There are other more sophisticated variables in perception as well.

No matter the actual tempo, you can make tracks *feel* like they are rushing or dragging by playing with event time - drummers (well, good ones) are very aware of the difference in feel that pushing or puling the snare feels, and will often intentionally drag a bit on the less energetic sections, and pull closer to, or ahead of the beat, in the more "up" sections, independently of what the tempo might be doing - you can maintain a solid tempo, but *feel* like you are slowing down or speeding up.

You can alway do a screen grab out of the visual tempo graph in a DAW like Logic...
User avatar
desmond
Jedi Poster
Posts: 8242
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2006 1:00 am


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users