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Remixing Techniques: Time Stretching
Illustration by John Hersey

Calculating the BPM and tempo of the original track


From:

Remixing Techniques: Time Stretching

with Josh Harris

Video: Calculating the BPM and tempo of the original track

Now it's time to calculate the BPM of the original track. Let's import the original version of the song which is called Breakdown Mode by Iyeoka. I open up the Audio bin by using the B key and underneath the Audio File pulldown menu I select Iyeoka > Breakdown Mode. It's the original MP3. Add it to the Audio Bin, click Done, and Logic will convert the MP3 to an AIFF. As you can see, and it's creating a waveform overview.
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  1. 5m 36s
    1. Welcome
      1m 41s
    2. What you should know before watching this course
      46s
    3. Why did we record this course in four different digital audio workstations (DAWs)?
      45s
    4. Using the exercise files
      2m 24s
  2. 3m 4s
    1. What is time stretching/expanding?
      1m 4s
    2. Exploring different time-stretching scenarios in remixing
      2m 0s
  3. 31m 17s
    1. Understanding where to get a capella vocal tracks
      2m 30s
    2. Time stretching in Pro Tools
      6m 44s
    3. Time stretching in Logic Pro
      4m 51s
    4. Time stretching in Reason
      5m 17s
    5. Time stretching in Ableton Live
      5m 16s
    6. Understanding the roles of multiple DAWs in a time-stretching workflow
      1m 2s
    7. Dealing with wet vocal stems
      4m 2s
    8. Choosing the tempo for different styles or genres
      1m 35s
  4. 21m 6s
    1. Importing vocals and using the 10% time-stretch rule
      7m 42s
    2. Comparing several vocal time stretches at faster BPMs
      6m 20s
    3. Putting the time-stretched vocal in context
      7m 4s
  5. 26m 43s
    1. Setting up your session for double timing a vocal
      7m 27s
    2. Double timing the music and then time stretching the vocals to a slower BPM
      8m 54s
    3. Putting the time-stretched vocal in context
      10m 22s
  6. 28m 53s
    1. Setting up your session to slow down a vocal track
      2m 34s
    2. Calculating the BPM and tempo of the original track
      4m 18s
    3. Time stretching the vocals to a slower BPM
      6m 46s
    4. Comping the time-stretched vocal and the original vocal
      6m 49s
    5. Putting the time-stretched vocal in context
      8m 26s
  7. 54m 12s
    1. Starting from a pre-existing Pro Tools multitrack session
      13m 34s
    2. Tightening up a vocal that drifts from the click track, part one
      9m 55s
    3. Tightening up a vocal that drifts from the click track, part two
      7m 37s
    4. Subdividing 6/8 time and changing the time signature to 4/4
      7m 5s
    5. Editing vocal phrasing to work with 4/4 time
      7m 0s
    6. Time stretching the vocals to a faster BPM
      9m 1s
  8. 38s
    1. Goodbye
      38s

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Remixing Techniques: Time Stretching
2h 51m Intermediate Jun 28, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In this course, author Josh Harris demonstrates time-stretching techniques in four of the major digital audio workstations: Pro Tools, Logic Pro, Reason, and Ableton Live. Josh covers the basic time-stretching treatments, where minimal tempo adjustment is needed, and then moves into more difficult territory—remixing at a much slower or faster tempo than what the original tracks were recorded at—where time stretching is pushed to the extreme. Another technique shows how to create a composite vocal from multiple time-stretched tracks. Each lesson employs real-world musical examples to clearly show where each time-stretching technique is useful and how the results of time stretching affect the sound of a song.

Topics include:
  • What is time stretching or expanding?
  • Understanding how time stretching fits into the remixing process
  • Working in Pro Tools, Logic Pro, Ableton Live, or Reason
  • Calculating the tempo of the original track
  • Dealing with wet vocal stems
  • Importing vocals with the 10% time-stretch rule
  • Comparing time-stretched vocals at faster tempos
  • Putting a time-stretched vocal in context
  • Setting up a session for double-timing a vocal
  • Creating a 4/4 remix from a song originally in 3/4 or 6/8
  • Tightening up a vocal that drifts from the click track
Subjects:
Audio + Music Music Production Music Editing Remixing
Software:
Ableton Live Logic Pro Pro Tools Reason
Author:
Josh Harris

Calculating the BPM and tempo of the original track

Now it's time to calculate the BPM of the original track. Let's import the original version of the song which is called Breakdown Mode by Iyeoka. I open up the Audio bin by using the B key and underneath the Audio File pulldown menu I select Iyeoka > Breakdown Mode. It's the original MP3. Add it to the Audio Bin, click Done, and Logic will convert the MP3 to an AIFF. As you can see, and it's creating a waveform overview.

Drag the original out onto the Arrange window, close the Audio Bin, mute out my kick drum and contract the screen a little bit. I'll select the track that has the original mix on it, a Breakdown Mode and in my Plug-In menu select BPM Counter. So Logic's BPM Counter will now calculate the BPM of the original. And just to take a closer look at the waveform I'll increase my waveform view. So let's take a listen to the original version of Breakdown Mode and watch Logic's BPM Counter do its thing.

(music playing) Immediately, it went to 1:48 BMP, and then it shifted to 147.9. So in my mind I think we can trust that It's actually at 140 beats per minute. And one way to test that is to close the BPM Counter, and we will go to the beginning of our wave file here, trim up the space that's at the beginning.

Zoom in even closer to make sure we're actually at 0 samples right where the waveform begins and then slide our wave file over to measure 1. Again, always zoom in to make sure that everything is accurate. I'll shrink the screen, turn this down a little bit, and I'll actually bypass the BPM Counter for the moment.

I do that by holding of the Option key and clicking on the plug-Ii. Unmute me my kick drum pattern and just bring the level of the original track down a little bit so that I can hear the kick drum as well. Let's take a listen. But first we need to change the BPM in our Logic section. So I type in 148, and now let's take a listen make sure that everything is indeed tight against the grid at 148 beats per minute. (music playing) Sounds extremely tight to me.

One way to ensure that the audio hasn't drifted is to scan further into the song maybe 2 & 1/2 minutes or so and take a listen and see if everything is still tight. (music playing) And indeed it is. So 148 is the exact BPM of the song. It's so important to make sure that the BPM Calculations whether they're done manually or by the computer are accurate. I've had situations in the past where a track's BPM is 128.10, not 128.00, and I thought it was 128 which caused my vocals to drift slightly every few measures, and it wasn't until I went back and placed the downbeat of the original version right at the downbeat of measure 1 of my sequence, which we just did here, and then I scanned a minute into the song and realized that the BPM have been drifted.

So this is an extremely important part of the process. If you miscalculate the BPM of the original then you're not going to have the accurate Source BPM of your vocals when it comes to time stretching.

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