Tap Tempo

Ardour should have a ‘tap tempo’ feature for setting the tempo. This would be used mainly for live performances, where the tempo is sent to plugins that then do ‘whatever’ in time ( eg delay ).

Personally not convinced this is the realm of ardour, instead of should be accomplished in the plugin. For instance in Ardour itself it makes little sense to do a tap tempo, as by the time the tempo is tapped in, you have passed the point where it needs to be changed. Whereas for a plugin, it makes more sense from the live aspect, for the reasons you mentioned, where you aren’t following the timeline in Ardour as much. You even see this implemented in this fashion in digital audio consoles, the tap tempo is in the plugin itself.


… the plugin authors I’ve talked to say they take their tempo cue from jack / ardour. At least if it were implemented in ardour, it would be done once only. If it’s left up to plugins … how many plugins are there? I guess what you’re saying is that Ardour is not meant for live performances? It’s a pity. To be honest, I’m really just after an LV2 host that has tap-tempo and can send this tempo via jack or something. No such thing :frowning:

This is an area where the needs of live performance and the needs of studio performance are in direct contradiction in my opinion. I wouldn’t want a tap tempo in the studio that I couldn’t have apply earlier in the timeline is my point, tapping a tempo out while listening to playback means you may have a few different tempos line up one after the other as it is recalculated each tap, and none of them would actually start where the tempo needs to start.

Ardour is primarily targeted at the studio, that doesn’t mean it can’t be used live, but the needs of things live are very different than in the studio, and I would group tap tempo in there as well. Some plugins especially are very poor choices live because of latency involved for instance.

It is true, and even encouraged in the studio, for plugins to pull their tempo from the host, but if that doesn’t apply to what I would want live, and I would say that a different plugin would need to be developed for live in that case personally.


By the way, two plugins that demonstrate exactly this from an exceedingly quick google…


Now these are two of several from Waves, and not all provide this functionality, but it demonstrates exactly what I am referring to with the tap tempo implemented in the plugin. Different tools for different purposes.


A tap tempo is a really usefull feature to have even in the studio. It allows you to quicly setup a delay thats roughly correct to which you can fine tune.

Its also handy if you dont know the temp of the song your working on, especially when not recorded to a click.

Ive been using delays with tracks that are not temp perfect with no click and without knowing the tempo i end up spending too much time adjusting the delay timing to try getting it to match up.


Yep see my earlier point, it is useful IF you can have it apply to earlier in the timeline. Not something really possible with live.

However it doesn’t change my opinion that it isn’t the realm of the DAW to do a tap tempo for plugins. Either the plugin pulls the tempo from the host via tempo maps, or it provides it’s own functionality to tap the tempo, or uses it’s own internal settings.


When I start a new project and want to set the tempo correct, I can dig up my old trusy metronome or I can test a few tempos in Ardour until I get the right tempo. I really can not see why a tap-tempo button should not be what most DAW people need.

I have been using A3 as a live mixer for a few gigs and I think that a tap tempo button somewhere (maybe optional button) would be usefull quite often. Since many plugins can adjust to the current ardour/jack tempo, a change during a live performance could work well. I know Ardour is not primary a live mixer but it is also useful for such things.

If I could wish, I also would like “Scenes” for various mixer settings and possibly enabeling/disableling of plugins too.

sorry, i agree with you that the plugin itself should provide the tap tempo functionality, was posting pretty late.

The daw doesnt have to have the tempo functionality, if anything you could provide soft buttons that can be assigned to whatever, but the plugin provides the features. The daw is the backbone providing the important stuff.

I think the easiest solution to this problem is to go with an external MIDI controller that supports a tap-tempo function… I know that at least one of the Akai MPD units … there are some foot pedals specifically designed for this… would provide a more tactile interface than a mouse or keyboard click … Sync ardour to external MIDI clock and Bob’s your Aunty…

@dkasak, bitwig studio is only about 6 weeks away from launch. from what I’ve seen it is a much better live tool than Ardour… I’m actually kicking myself I bought a refurbed MPC 2500 last year to replace my old MPC 2kxl… as bitwig looks to be a truly good live tool… in the vain of Ableton, but with more interesting tools for manipulating loops and sequences…

Yes I’ve been waiting for bitwig. I get that implementing tap tempo in Ardour would be extremely difficult, increase memory usage, steal your guns, etc, etc. No worries. Not all suggestions fit the typical usage patterns of 1 person, after all.

As for the external MIDI controller … yeah I have a Korg KP3 that I’ve been using for live stuff, but the problem is it’s delay & reverb is kinda edgy & electronic, and it also takes up valuable space in my bag ( I ride a motorbike … space is precious ) … and I always have my laptop with me. Seems silly to have delay on the laptop, and use the KP3 for tap tempo. Ah yes … the laptop has a touch screen too, which works pretty well for the various knobs and things already … would be fine for tap tempo too. I know … the blasphemy of it all … kids and their touch screens … one day I’ll grow up from live gigs and settle down to a nice sterile, pre-determined tempo.

I actually didn’t say any of the above:) I said I don’t believe it fits the usage case for Ardour, which I do believe is different from Bitwig as of right now. I may purchase Bitwig as well as I do see it as a completely different use case, I used to use Live for some things, and do want to support the development of options on Linux. But I don’t see it necessarily competing with Ardour as much as providing for a different use case than Ardour does (Loop based creation and more live processing and functionality).

All that being said, if I was going to use Live or Bitwig… well, ‘live’… I would be sticking with a Midi controller anyways myself. That isn’t to say a touch screen can’t be useful, just that I prefer tactile feedback you don’t get from it.

For the record, I am first and foremost a live engineer, studio work isn’t my primary focus, but is something I do a fair amount of as well.


Also for the record, I use delays and other effects that are both based off the tempo of the song and not based off the session, but often tap in values of both anyways as it is quicker, another reason I would prefer having tap tempo in the plugin rather than in the daw:) This applies to Bitwig as well, but one of the primary reasons a tap tempo in the DAW can work in Bitwig is due to the use of built in processing IMO.


Mark one takt of music ( i mark 1 takt of song which is in 4/4 )
This marked takt length was 2,4 sec.
so now :
60/2,4 = 25 (25 is bpm of one hit)
and 25 * 4 is 100 bpm
no need for any “tapplugin”.
Just tap your skills and calculator

And nice consoles for live gigs have already all that tap buttons.

nezdad: ardour can do all that math for you. Leatuspenguin described how to do this way up-thread.

oops, that was a different thread. but anyway, ardour can do all that for you.

ardour definitely need tap tempo… not only does it need it, but if working with overdubs, or remixes, or any combination of live an dor electronic material where the tempo varys, there should be a function to allow a tap tempo track…

i.e. set Ardour to learn mode, listen to a source material track, start Ardour playing, and as you’re listening, keep tapping the tempo for thw whole song… Ardour can create tempo markers throughout the track to account for a varying tempo piece of music… if Ardour assumes that each tapo is on, or close to beats, and or correlates it to musical peaks in the source material, a tempo mapping can be created that can drive all kinds of other things. It SHOULD be in Ardour, and Ardour or be able to pass this tempo mapping upstream to either JACK, or watever master clock… it should be possible to set calculate tempo slew/curves from it.

Not everyone in the world has perfect timing or tempo… and unless a band records to a lock-steady metronome, it would make EDITING a few orders of magnitude easier, and more accurate… also effects with time-based functions could stay locked in… and in a studio, time-money… anything that can make the workflow faster, better, more efficient, higher quality, etc, is a GOOD thing. It would cut editing time down a LOT…

the ability to TEACH Ardour teh tempo mapping of a track woudl be INDISPENSIBLE for various kinds of production work… and the libraries already exist to detect tempo/beats in songs… Ardour could even be programmed to use one of these tempo analasys libraries, scan the file (when possible) for beat points and create an inital tempo map/marker track. It could create a track full of tempo markers, and it could also thin the events for music that does’t deviate a lot. Then a person could visually move these markers in the tempo map track to compensate for any errors… then instead of asking the artists to conform to the tools, we can hav ethe tools represent the art. the technology should FLEX with the creativity, NOT stiffle it.