Tempomap and pitch in the Old days

Discussion in 'Mixing and Mastering' started by Beetlejuice, Apr 16, 2021.

  1. Beetlejuice

    Beetlejuice Noisemaker

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    Dear folks,

    If u ever ( wich I think you have ) have imported a whole song from your favourite artist , u will have noticed that there is not a single song out there, that has a constant tempo throughout the whole Song.
    Ok , -maybe there is , in a certain style of music.
    But when u timemap a "common Song" , u might figure out :
    " Oh, the Song starts in 85 bpm ,stays in sync for 5 bars, and after 6 Bars it goes outta sync to the Metronome"

    This is of course intended. -The tempo has been edited in the mastering work , or -the tempo is from a live performance, and it should stay so.
    Im talking about subtle changes , that u really dont hear .
    It´s more of a mastering edit to vary the tempo in a way, so that our brains gets some kind of psychoaccustic influence. It adds curiosity and interest to the song, that we really can´t explain. We dont really notice the "swaying" , if it´s not INTENDED that we should notice it.!

    As our beloved DAW´s nowadays are absolut "killer-timestamping-machines" (they really can compute! :yes:
    we nowadays can SEE ,...that a song is swaying.
    And with the pitchcorrection-tools nowadays , its must be magic, for a mixing engineer from the 70´s.

    -But : ( and that´s my question) -even the old vinyl recordings have this " intended song-drifting"
    but they had (only) Tapemachines (as Ex. 24track ontario/teac) and they did cut tapes with razorblades!
    -but how did they add subtile Tempochanges , without changing pitch ?

    ´Cause if i got it right ; - when u altered the tape speed , the pitch will change.
    Everyone who grew up in the 70-80s had experienced that. Especially in the car :)

    Stay Safe
     
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  3. Olymoon

    Olymoon MODERATOR Staff Member

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    They played it, as incredible as it could sound, they played the tempo changes.
    I have mapped several Soul and Funk music recordings, that I know for sure they were not tempo edited, and the guys simply played the tempo changes.

    This is something is still done nowadays BTW. In some genres, you know you want to speed up a little bit certain part(s) so you will first record a click track with the tempo changes, then all the musicians will record on that click track, which is equivalent to tempo changes for live recording.

    I've even been playing with a band were we've done this live, ie. we knew that the second chorus should be a bit faster, and we all played faster, but on time together. It's a question of work and rehearsal.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2021
  4. Haliax

    Haliax Audiosexual

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    Black Sabbath's war pigs had a tempo change at the end, the tape was sped up which made it sound like shit. I read Tony Iommi's biography, He mentions it but doesn't know why.
     
  5. Crinklebumps

    Crinklebumps Noisemaker

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    Human beings aren't metronomic, when we play music together live, which I did for many years, we usually rely on the drummer having a memory of the start tempo and they don't always get it right, but it's relatively easy to speed up or slow down as the band plays. There's a communication at work that's more of a feeling than a logical process. I suspect most bands that record songs with subtle tempo changes aren't even aware it's happening, the musicians are simply reacting off each other. It's a groove thing.

    I was wondering about this last week actually - doesn't Ableton have an option to follow the tempo of an audio file and create a tempo track so midi instruments added later can stay perfectly in time with the song?

    I'm also interested in strategies of DAW recording that don't involve using a click but bands rely on interaction so I guess a single instrument needs to be recorded first, without a click and parts added in time to that - but how to actually do the first reference part?
     
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  6. juno106

    juno106 Newbie

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    With a little perseverance and patience, some DAW's can give pretty good results nowadays using quantize settings like swing, strength and random. Cakewalk/Bandlab DAW's among others, even feature a "humanize" feature. As said, it's always been human nature within the art of music, both live and recorded to have subtle 'drift' in any performance.
     
  7. Beetlejuice

    Beetlejuice Noisemaker

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    @Olymoon ; well , thats another level .... " ok guys,,, next chorus we raise the tempo from 121 to 126 over 4 bars " :woot:
    -Do u remember the range in wich they played/changed ? -very interesting.

    @Crinklebumps : yepp , -the drummer is the clock !, nearly always. :beg:
    My band had one once ,who couldnt "hold" the tempo ... i mean really drifting , so that the rest of us looked at eachother in despair .
    It was like.........sex,... but on the top.... , she doesn´t scream y o u r name. The rehearsal just collapsed !!

    Dont know for Ableton but Studio One has Melodyne as ARA integrated ,, and its pretty good for tempo detection.
    though a bit tricky to get the grip of it and manualy editing is still necessarry when things get "full" in the audio.
    Computers can hear ...but dont understand.....yet..
     
  8. No Avenger

    No Avenger Moderator Staff Member

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    This way ->

    You can do this with a static click track, a dynamic click track or without any.

    BTW, Dream Theater made 108 tempo changes - in a single track.

    Just by playing. With or without a click track, doesn't matter.
     
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  9. Crinklebumps

    Crinklebumps Noisemaker

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    Are there any DAWs out there that let you humanise the click? Seems that might be useful.
     
  10. Crinklebumps

    Crinklebumps Noisemaker

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    Incidentally I don't think drummers walk around with a tempo memory, like ask them to play the beat at 135BPM and they'll get it right - probably somewhere near but we producers realise how important a +-5BPM either way can be when producing: instead they're exactly like the rest of us, they remember songs and start them from their memory of how fast the song is when played back in their heads. My band sometimes had a drummer substitution and they didn't know all of the songs so a member of the band would have to count the song in.
     
  11. Crinklebumps

    Crinklebumps Noisemaker

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    Maybe I just answered my previous question as to how to record a track without a click - learn it first and play it many times until it's ingrained in your memory then record it without a click.
     
  12. Olymoon

    Olymoon MODERATOR Staff Member

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    When I've done this, it was very simple method.
    First the band must have rehearsal the piece.
    Then the drummer recorded the first track, or sometimes we recorded bass and dum together as reference track.
     
  13. Olymoon

    Olymoon MODERATOR Staff Member

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    Well, I know some people are able to do it by numbers, but we didn't do it this way.
    It's more like, hey guys, I feel that the chorus after the break feels a bit down, what if we speed it up a little?
    If you have a good drummer/ bass couple, the others only have to follow.
     
  14. Crinklebumps

    Crinklebumps Noisemaker

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    Having thought about this more I think a good way might be to set up a midi click track and humanise the clicks.
     
  15. Crinklebumps

    Crinklebumps Noisemaker

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    I no longer work with other musicians live so this isn't an option for me.
     
  16. No Avenger

    No Avenger Moderator Staff Member

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    You could draw in some MIDI notes for a percussive instrument like claves and apply shuffle quantisation. Additionally you can make a tempo track with subtle changes.
    Depending on the DAW you could also extract the quantisation grid from a song and apply it on those notes.
     
  17. Olymoon

    Olymoon MODERATOR Staff Member

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    You can record your own live tempo track, with any instrument that suit your need and technique, but my advice is to rehearsal the piece until you feel completely comfortable with it, so the tempo changes will be only due to your feeling, not to error.

    Afterward, you can always modify it partially if needed.
     
  18. Crinklebumps

    Crinklebumps Noisemaker

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    Yes, there are workarounds. I think it's time DAWs addressed this issue because although the grid is useful it seems to be killing a lot of feel in music - it needs to be more adaptable, more human. What seems to happen is a beat is quantised 100% and any notes played along with it that are slightly out of time sound bad and need to be aligned, but the problem isn't the playing because in a real band situation although we aim for perfect timing if everybody in the band actually had 100% timing it would probably sound bad.
     
  19. the_flying

    the_flying Member

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    When it comes to subtle, barely audible, UNINTENTIONAL tempo drifting, there are at least 3 possibilities to consider:

    1. Decalibration of playback and/or recording equipment, but slight (and slow) enough for pitch fluctuations to stay undetected by our hearing.

    2. Imperfections of musical peformance, which is quite normal, since humans - unlike electronic machines - don't have sophisticated reference clocks built-in.

    3. Both of above, simultaneously.
     
  20. The Dude

    The Dude Platinum Record

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    - The master is a "collage" of many takes - they are different per se.
    -
    The tape machines in the 70`s and 80`s were not perfect themselves
    - The time and conditions of recording are different - ( recording at the beginning or end of a session, different days, how hot are the equipment, etc.)

    The time reference is usually the snare. When I think about psycho acoustic effects I think about a drummer or musician being tight - a little ahead or lag - a little behind - relative to a reference. The "humanize" feature - adds random errors around a reference - does not know if the song is happy or sad, nor can understand the emotions of a Jazz song.

    The reference - metronome, snare, etc, is very important. The listener expects a predictable constant tempo and tone. Moving everything ahead or back or altering the tempo according to the mood within a song won`t do the trick. Is the relative small space to the reference that matters.

    When I think about the 70`s and 80`s I think of Frank Zappa ( the band is tight ) - and I think George Duke is one of many examples of this effect. His playing `pops` or `lags` to convey emotions. And he does it intentionally, he knows when and why to do it - because he is so good.:wink:

     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2021
  21. Crinklebumps

    Crinklebumps Noisemaker

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    I guess a visual analogy of perfect time vs musicianship might be painting by numbers, keeping each colour perfectly within the lines vs real painting by real artists. I know which I prefer to look at.

    I'm not necessarily saying strict timing is bad, it works for certain electronic genres, the problem is it doesn't really mix well with real playing.
     
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