Changing tempo WITHOUT warping MIDI clips

Hi everyone.

Is it possible to change the global tempo without warping the speed which a MIDI clip plays back? I've disabled every preference with 'Warp' in the name, but no luck.

I want to be able to record a beat completely off the cuff (no metronomes) and then set the global tempo to the freshly recorded beat, so I can use timed MIDI effects on it (recording the beat to audio is out of the option because of this).

Any help would be really great, thank you.


pinklemon 6 years ago | 0 comments

7 answers

  • Eppe
    99 answers
    136 votes received
    3 votes


    As far as I know it's not directly possible, but there is a way to work around this: after youve recorded the beat, change Ableton's BPM to what the tempo of the beat is (this will indeed speed up/slow down the MIDI clip you recorded so you'll have to remember the beats tempo so you can set Ableton's BPM just right, since after you do this your reference is gone), and then change the 'orig. BPM' in the MIDI clip so it's in sync with Ableton's BPM again. It's a bit hard to explain, hope this is clear? :)


    6 years ago | 1 comment
  • tonfilm
    3 answers
    6 votes received
    3 votes

    If you click on the loop bar over the notes in the clip view, you can drag the start or end of the clip which stretches it in time. This is the same as changing the tempo of the clip.

    4 years ago | 2 comments
  • jibpsy Dreamtree
    1 answer
    2 votes received
    2 votes

    What tonfilm said, in the MIDI clip view you can select the loopbar, and stretch the selection. Took me a bit to figure out where the loopbar was but now I can fix my project I started recording in 4/4 120bpm to 6/8 90bpm! Thanks tonfilm!

    1 year ago | 0 comments
  • vikingnoise
    6 answers
    7 votes received
    1 vote

    I know you can set a clip to be a warp master (the toggle button marked 'Master' in the warp section), where the warp markers in that clip affect global tempo without changing the playback of the clip they're in.  I've only ever done that with digital audio that was recorded live and didn't have precise timing.  I don't see why you couldn't do the same thing with a MIDI clip, but I've never looked to see if it was an option, much less tried it out.

    You can only have one warp master, though.  I imagine trying to set a new one would disable the previous one.

    4 years ago | 1 comment
  • jseales
    1 answer
    1 vote received
    1 vote

    I teach Ableton to high schoolers, and I frequently run into situations where students record midi clips without first dialing in the tempo (against my frequent exhortations to the contrary!) Their projects then become difficult to edit or embellish, because the grid doesn't match the music. Fixing this is tedious and fraught with danger. 

    You can't set a midi clip to be a warp master, as suggested by vikingnoise. You need to determine the music's actual tempo, and do a little arithmetic to determine how much to stretch / shorten the notes. Then select your midi notes and move/stretch them so that they line up with the grid. Unfortunately, in this process there is a distinct possibility of losing rhythmic subtleties, but with care you can get it right.

    Before doing any of this editing, SAVE A COPY. Also, render the audio and put it (unwarped of course) in the copy you're going to be changing around, so that you can refer to it. Things often get confusing in this process so you have to be careful.

    Ableton should help out here. If you could identify midi notes that are downbeats, the program could do all this for you, with no chance of losing details of the original timing. Maybe someone could do it in Max for Live? 

    2 years ago | 1 comment
    2 answers
    2 votes received
    1 vote

    Live pseudo Warp MIDI markers (10.4.9 MIDI Note Stretch, can be useful for this. 

    1) Select/highlight the notes in the clip and markers will appear

    2) Stretch/compress the selection to fit measures. This will retain relative timing.

    Of course this does not cover well extreme time fluctuations. In this case split the MIDI clips in multiple clips and do the same for each section. Then use for instance Arrangement view Tempo automation in the Master channel or in Session View add the bpm in the Scene name so tempo will change.

    Not ideal, but doable. 


    11 months ago | 0 comments
  • loaub
    2 answers
    2 votes received
    1 vote
    Scavenged the whole internet to find a fix to this, finally got something. The looper trick seems relatively easy and effective, try it out!
    Ableton Looper will set the tempo based on the loop if you record the loop when the clock is stopped. You can drag the audio clip from looper into the project or re-record the phrase in midi after, at the right tempo.
    This is a nice workaround but really, ableton should do something about this as not being able to unlink your midi clips from the master timing is a very basic, rigid and unnecessary pre-set structure that makes music making more difficult for everyone, especially new producers : )
    1 month ago | 0 comments

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