12/8 time signature & Bar:Beats display

Hi there, I want to use a 12/8 time in a project. What I found strange (and I want to understand if it is intended like that) is the display of Bars:Beats:
I would have expected 4 divisions of a bar (consisting each of 3 / 8th), while there are 6 (corresponding to 1 quarter - 2 / 8th each). The metronome correctly counts 12 eight notes and marks the beginning of the measure. Also the tempo can only be set per quarter note (in my case 60.0/4, not the most natural thing when you have to deal with “tempi composti”, i.e. how we use to call them in italian when there are “ternary” division of the beat). Thanks for your feedback.


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Please test this with a nightly build or wait until 7.2 (probably Tuesday). Would really appreciate the test, if possible. It ought to be fixed already.

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Hi Paul, thanks for the feedback.
I took the nightly 7.1.269 (debug). With this build it looks like this:

while I’d expect something like:

 |     |     |     |
 | | | | | | | | | | | |


Ardour does not currently know about Western European compound time, or for that matter the rythmic conventions of any musical culture (for example, Balkan cultures that denote time more like [ 2 + 3 + 2 + 2 ]

Hence, at this time, 12/8 means nothing more (or less) than “12 eighth notes per bar”.

I do hope to work more on this in the future, most to evolve towards a more universal way of representing the rhythmic breakdown than Western European conventions tend to allow for (easily, at least).

What you say makes sense. If we want to be agnostic in terms of musical tempo interpretation, I think we shouldn’t divide the measure at all (using the example of 12/8 as before), just the bars:

|                       |                       |
| | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | |  etc

Still, there is something strange when using tempo with base 8th - look at the following 7/8. The labels numbering on the Bars:Beats timeline is not linear:


Bars and beats are on the same line. At this zoom level it seems that every second bar (and beat) are marked. Thus you get (in your example)
[bar] 1 [beat] 3-5-7-2-4-6 [bar] 3 [beat] 3-5-7

About your original question, in the grid you have the possibility to snap to triplets (several variants). For the 12/8 you can set a 4/8 and snap to triplets (16th?). Depending on your settings, the grid should be visible also if you don’t want to snap to it (as in your first screenshot).


You’re right, good observation. I was initially confused by the succession of numbers and by the fact that only one over two are marked. Perfectly fine, anyway.

Ok, good to know, thanks.

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