REQUEST for MIDI FX App: Shifting the drummer to match the soloist's recording (ignore the click)

A lot of musicians record MIDI Tracks without using the metronome. They might even add
additional tracks by just using the starting atrckc for their "pulse" reference.

I'm curious if a MIDI FX App could be made to align a MIDI Drum app with the notes already
recorded on another Track. I suspect the shifts in MIDI timing would be small. It's just that
trying to dial-in a MIDI Drum track to a 3-10 minute piano solo only works for short stretches before the tracks get out of sync.

Quantizing the original solo track often destroys the original sense of timing in strange ways.

There might be other benefits for some apps that just don't seem to sit well "in the pocket" and such an App might allow the user to set where the drummer sits in the groove. So, many Drum Apps just don't sit well when added after the other tracks have been recorded
and quantizing can mess up some of the subtle details in the drum track.

Comments

  • Doesn’t Auria do that?

  • wimwim
    edited May 14

    That sounds like a tall order. The app would have to listen for transients and be able to figure out what beat they are closest to, do this over some (configurable) length of time, then decide if the tempo has changed. If it decided a tempo change was needed then it would need to adjust the Link tempo or be itself a midi clock source. As such, it would need to be a standalone/IAA app since an AU can’t adjust the tempo of its host.

    It could be done as an AU if it sent out a note or cc to a host like Audiobus that accepts midi-learn for a tap tempo change. But that would be trickier.

    I guess it could be done. The trickiest part would be deciding which beats, or fraction thereof, a transient should be falling on, then deciding what is a screwup, or intentional mis-timing, vs. an actual tempo change. I can imagine swing playing havoc with such an algorithm.

    You couldn’t do it by “ignoring the click” as you titled the thread. The drummer app has to run on some kind of tempo sync.

  • Or, maybe another way to do it would be to have the quantizer app itself be a midi sequencer, or accept midi input, and only release it’s notes on what it detects as the right tempo division. Still sounds tough, and you’d still probably want to adjust a Link or midi clock since no-doubt other apps would be playing too.

  • McDMcD
    edited May 14

    @wim said:
    That sounds like a tall order. The app would have to listen for transients

    I was thinking of the soloist track as being a MIDI track so the details of note timing are available. The MIDI FX might just accept a MIDI stream of notes and generate a clock out for example to drive a Drum App with a clock that has these small shifts in the signal but is sync'ed to the original MIDI solo recording.

    I suspect such a tool exists soon the desktop already to fix some existing performances
    that were made without the performer using a clock or metronome.

    @BiancaNeve said:
    Doesn’t Auria do that?

    I need to check on the Auria Pro tip. So, many pleasant surprizes in Auria Pro.

  • @McD said:

    @wim said:
    That sounds like a tall order. The app would have to listen for transients

    I was thinking of the soloist track as being a MIDI track so the details of note timing are available. The MIDI FX might just accept a MIDI stream of notes and generate a clock out
    for example to drive a Drum App with a clock that has these small shifts in the signal but is sync'ed to the original MIDI solo recording.

    Oh, you did mention MIDI. I see. That makes it somewhat easier.

  • edited May 15

    Music notepad by apple does something similar by audio. Garageband drummer also could pursue an audio track and play based on that.
    Beatseeker m4l plug can do it realtime from audio too.
    Band-in-a-box probably too since my digitech trio+ has technology from it and can do it too (it needs to learn the phrase first but pukes bass and drum like music notepad)

    About midi, the best practice should be use the metronome or almost set the tempo in any way to adjust the algorythm. Trio+ as example has alt tempo button to try 2X or :2 factors when the analisys doesn’t nails it.
    There was also a vst plugin called “Circular-logic InTime” which made the same as beatseeker but with midi triggers.

    IMHO the initial approach of avoiding metronome is wrong if you don’t record the drum part alongside. Rythm goes first or at the same time in composition/recording.

    It’s not groove destroying, it is lack of structural coherency.

    Let me say it softer... you can compose a so groovy piece than quantization can’t understand and also algos neither but then you should need to record the drum part also (or make a groovy drummer do it for you) due computer music relies usually in this time convention into a degree... so that’s why minimum bpm setting is required in some form.

    My advice will be try these tools, even includding the audio ones like beatseeker, hearing the midi file output audio channel and see what happens.
    Keep in mind these tools are made for drum content or minimum bpm adjustments and quantization settings due the usual workflow goals. It’s easy to follow a metronome by human than make a computer understand flow and groove but in each approach you will need to take decisions and probably make some sacrifices (almost with the actual tools I know).

    Ableton live warp was a revolution (there were other tools before but let’s take them apart ATM) due it’s hability to stretch/fit recorded material into non-destructive way and let djs mix groovy music like funk with fourtothefloor regular beats. Obviously at certain cost in human feeling terms.

    I hope you find something helpful in my comment.

  • Tempo mapping is an interesting subject, and a very cool trick to be able to pull out of your bag, but one aspect that shouldn’t be ignored, is when a solo instrument is recorded ahead of the drums, and sounds pretty good, there is an assumption that the drums will just click with it, until you realize, as a human drummer is overdubbing their drums, that there are grievous tempo issues. The assumption is that the tempo is good enough for electronic drums to sound good, following the soloist’s fluctuating tempo. I’ve been around several recording projects that started with the songwriter playing their solo instrument and got passed to a drummer for later overdubs, and there are always tempo problems revealed that make you wish you’d started with the drums (click or not).

    Is everything better to a click? Not necessarily, but there is intentional, expert distortion of tempo, and there is unintentional fluctuation of tempo, that doesn’t actually help the feel. A lot of musicians, especially solo songwriters, have trouble playing to a click, because they haven’t practiced. They’ll swear the click is speeding up and slowing down... It is a really good skill for a home recordist to be comfortable with.

    There’s some alternative ways of keeping time when recording a solo instrument first, like play to a drum machine rather than a click, or record a short, rhythmic loop, and play to that, or program the bass with quantization, and then play along to that, without the click, or tempo map the song for intentional shifts in tempo.

  • Thanks @TheDubbyLabby and @Processaurus. There are some great pointers and advice in your replies.

  • @McD said:
    Thanks @TheDubbyLabby and @Processaurus. There are some great pointers and advice in your replies.

    Glad to be helpful. Your question seems related to something I propose to discuss in the NS2 update post about drummers and soloist going to an island due bots are going to get all the musical jobs. I suggested to open a post about it so, if you are interested on such existencialism issue, I could mention you the moment I decide to open it.

    I’m on my own process of evolution and I ask myself this kind of things since long ago (I had two Roland variOS back in the day around 12 years ago...)

  • edited May 15

    Melodyne Studio (Mac/PC) is capable of this in the audio realm. Maybe you’ve recorded drums without a click and the drummer has been subtly speeding up and slowing down. It’s then possible to record another instrument to a click, then apply the tempo map of the aforementioned drum track to the new instrument afterwards. Or you could just quantise the imperfect audio recording of the drums using essentially the same tech, but where’s the fun in that?

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