Tempo detection from actual audio beat

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Posts: 181
Joined: 09 Jan 2022, 22:08

Tempo detection from actual audio beat

Post by Simon »

EDIT 08 June: this will be implemented in a module. See viewtopic.php?t=70

Hi! :)

So a few of you have asked about this feature, and as someone who really likes a challenge, I cannot help myself I want to do it :D

My questions to you:
  1. What kinda of beat would you like to detect?
  2. Will the beat be played Live?
  3. Will it be played by a person or a machine?
  4. How much (in BPM) would you expect the tempo to move?
Here is my idea: one audio input, with quite a heavy setup to make this as reliable as possible. Say we stick to drums only, the setup could be:
  1. Play a few kick without any other noise, both soft and hard hits, for the machine to learn it
  2. Do the same with the snare
  3. Set a min and max tempo
  4. Then set a tempo, and start playing in time with the click (by looking at the LEDs f.x.)
  5. Using all this info the machine will identify the kick and snare hits, discard the rest - that should not be too hard - then intelligently (yea that will be the magic - the difficult bit :D ) adjust the tempo as the beat plays
I could potentially implement this in Midronome 1.0, but I doubt it would work very well with the current hardware. And I would rather not release a new feature at all than releasing something a lot of people are going to be excited about just to find that it does not work so well. The Midronome was always designed by "it just works" (and it really does so far), so if I do this I want to do it properly.

So a big hardware upgrade and a lot of code work would be necessary - definitely increasing the device's price.

Let me know what you all think!

Posts: 65
Joined: 16 Mar 2022, 23:21

Re: Tempo detection from actual audio beat

Post by n4Sphere »

you can always release a new mk or a bigger brother one day. nothing should be rushed or not well thought through.
Posts: 12
Joined: 28 Feb 2022, 12:54

Re: Tempo detection from actual audio beat

Post by unclenige »

Hi Simon,

I think that Midronome 'slaving' it's clock and click to a drummer (probably acoustic but sometimes electric) via triggers would work as long as:

The tempo is set before the song starts...
So turn the dial to '132bpm' and start click and clock.

After that...the Midronome could swap into slave mode...waiting for the audio trigger input to 'advise' how the tempo should change.

The drummer will probably not move more than a few bpm during the song...except for rall/rit endings and similar situations.

In the studio, this ability to track an incoming trigger could save hours of labour when tempo mapping a song that was played wild. For example, if you started a song on piano and subsequently overdubbed other parts, with a Midronome click already printed, things could happen faster.

It's the idea of a 'threshold level' above which a beat is considered a quarter note (or the backbeat perhaps) and below which is a sub division which can be ignored.

Interesting topic...
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Joined: 07 Mar 2022, 12:17

Re: Tempo detection from actual audio beat

Post by timespy »

Something that can follow an actual beat from a real drummer would be a game changer. I played with software implementations of that and it never really worked well enough to use live. What I am thinking of doing is to map a key on my keyboard to send a click that is used to sync arpeggios and step sequencers to the rest of the band. So as long as I have a spare finger/hand that can tap a regular beat it could work nicely.

But fortunately my drummer actually likes playing to a click so the Midronome would work very well for him especially if he can set the tempo with his count at the beginning of the song
Posts: 181
Joined: 09 Jan 2022, 22:08

Re: Tempo detection from actual audio beat

Post by Simon »

Just FYI - I got contacted by the inventor of the Ableton Tempo Follower :D

Currently trying to speak to him and other people at Ableton to see if we can implement this in the Midronome :)

It probably will add a cost as the Tempo Follower library is the IP of Ableton - but definitely worth the time of research to implement this myself!

Just to put things in perspective: it took the Ableton team two years to develop this algorithm! And that's with at least one person working full-time on this, which I clearly won't be able to do :)
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