Grid weirdness & crashes

I’m trying to tempo map a very free-form piano part (audio). The first section, which is in 4/4 and doesn’t have any wild increases/decreases in tempo worked fine – it’s a wonderful feature to have in Ardour, really musical.

Barline markers not on the first beat of the bar
My problems started when I got past the intro into the main body of the piece, which is in 17/8… When I try moving barlines, it often drops the tempo marker on beat 2 instead of the first beat. I’ve had something similar in the past with position markers not dropping on the beat where you click but the beat next to the intended one. It’s as if Ardour expects quavers always to be in pairs as in /4 meters and there not to be odd numbers of them as is often the case in /8 meters.

I notice that tempo markers have a setting for pulse, that can be changed between different note values. Should I be setting this to quaver if I’m working in 17/8? The only thing is that it defaults to crotchets and it’s a bit laborious having to change every marker. Even then, the markers still behave a bit weirdly, not always going on the first beat of a bar.

I’ve somewhat managed to work around this by using 17/4 instead of 17/8 so I now have twice as many gridlines as I actually need :grinning:

Internal beat markers
The other issue I’ve had is with moving the beat markers within a bar. For most, normal, bars it works fine. In the opening bars of new sections where the tempo starts very slow and not only rapidly speeds up, but does so nonlinearly, I’d like to be able to place each beat exactly where each note occurs so that the metronome follows what’s being played as it increases tempo.

However, moving some beats has a knock-on effect on the position of others so it’s not possible to place them all exactly. I’ve tried adding tempo markers to lock beats in place, but sometimes they appear on an adjacent beat to the one intended (as above), or often they appear on the correct beat but that beat moves (often significantly) from where it had been carefully positioned (often leaving weird spacing between beat lines). It then does seem to be locked, just not where I wanted it and can’t be moved back to where it had been. Ardour’s crashed a couple of times when trying to do this.

I’m probably trying to push the grid adjustment beyond sane expectations :person_facepalming: :rofl:

I would like to, but cannot, respond to this adequately at this time.

However, I will just note:

You should use BBT markers for this, not tempo markers. That may have its own bugs, however.

Okay, no problem. Look forward to reading that if/when you get chance.

Ah, okay. That seems to work, though I think it’s wiped out all the barline tempo marks I’d created. It should be fairly quick to add them back and it’s helping me get practiced at the workflow.

The increment arrows in the BBT dialogue box don’t seem to work though to change the beat number; not a big deal as typing it in works.

I’m in the middle of a very, very deep task, refactoring code to provide the separate piano roll editor that so many have been whining for for so long. I really can’t break focus on this until it gets to certain level, and that is likely still weeks away.

Going back into the tempo map and markers and stuff will almost certainly be a rabbit hole, and I’d rather keep them separate.


It’s not a problem, completely understand. I’m very grateful for all you and the other devs do. The grid and tempo features are wonderful additions for making music more musical: it’s worth waiting for it to get the time it’ll need to do it right (and for other things to get the time they need, too).

I think I may have encountered a bug. After adding in a bunch of BBT markers, the cursor ceases changing over barlines – it remains as a double-headed arrow <–> all the time.

I’ll remove the BBT marks and go back to moving barlines and will live with the beats not being in exactly in the right place in a few bars, it’s not a big deal at the moment.

@Lost_Highway, are you using this process:


As Paul mentioned, there are some remaining bugs in the “BBT Markers” that need to be resolved; particularly if you try to use more than one. But the overall process of tempo mapping should be easier than you’ve described in your post, if you follow the video above.


Thanks, I’d already seen that video, which was helpful, though it is only a simple example.

Whilst it might be straightforward for minor tempo variations of a band playing together, it doesn’t seem so easy for wide rubato or a large, non-linear accelerando or rallentando.

There seem to be issues with non-crotchet time signatures as well and I’ve run into a wall with using 17/4 instead of 17/8 as it seems there’s a limit of 300 bpm.


This is one bar of 17/8, which I’ve had to have as 17/4. There are 17 quavers in the bar gradually increasing in tempo.

It’s not possible to line each beat up with each note e.g. the grid has two beats for the first note, one-and-a-half for the second, etc when all are of equal note value (just wildly different temporal durations). The following bars where the tempo is fairly steady are fine and dragging the beat lines around matches pretty well for all beats.

I know that feeling. You can’t change gears when you’re in “the zone”.

Hopefully not like this :smiley:

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