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Tempo and volume for fractal tune

Screen Shot

Tempo and volume for fractal tune


Set tempo and volume for fractal tunes or metronome, or vary them...

You use this window to configure things to do with the tempo of the tune, varying tempi, and the volumes and varying volumes.

You can also use it to configure the tune note sustain - how much each note overlaps the next one.

How to show this window

Use the Tempo Opts button in many of the main windows. Or Bs | Tempo and Volume for Tune. Or Ctrl + 20

The Tempo field here sets the overall TEMPO for the tune.

More about the overall tempo

This is the  real tempo for some fractal tunes, for instance for File | New. It's the real tempo if you have each seed note set to play a single beat (no fractional seed beats) and have none of the tempo varying options switched on. Otherwise it is the basis for the tempo variations - it may never actually be heard as it is - but if e.g. you double the overall tempo, all the real tempi get doubled.

The other options let you vary the tempo and volume away from the overall tempo and volume in various ways.

The option to vary the timing or volume by arpeggio position can be used to make tunes that get quieter, or louder, or faster or slower for notes further along the arpeggio.

The options to vary the rhythm by seed position will let you make rhythms that vary in tempo within each "bar" - as is often done by human performers. The volume variation lets you vary the volume similarly.

Then - the sustain option lets you make fractal tunes with overlapping sustained notes. The Humanise Timings is useful if you find the fractal tune or metronome too crips sounding and want chords to be just a bit unsynchronised or arpeggiated.

The Set min tempo and Set max tempo options are useful if you find the tempo varies too much as a result of the other options, - you can set a limit on how far it can vary either way.


Vary this to make the tune faster or slower...

For most tasks, this will speed up or slow down playback. For the Analyse Midi Voice task this sets the length of the note to play.

Normally shown as a tempo in beats per minute (except for Analyse Midi Voice task). Can be set to show the note length using the drop list in: Bs | Tempo and volume for fractal tune (Ctrl + 20) - set it to Time for Beat

In the Metronome & Polyrhythms task, this tempo is shown in bars per minute rather than beats per minute.

How this works for fractal tune tasks, and connection of tempo with seed timings

In the fractal tune tasks, this sets the length of a seed note is in seconds - the seed note length prior to any changes you make in the rhythm.

Many fractal rhythms and tunes have continually varying "tempi". But the tempo you set here will still affect the overall speed of the tune, e.g. if you double the tempo, the tune will play all the varying tempi at twice the speed.

If you make a seed with notes with fractional beats, e.g. using Bs | Seed and select "With timings" in that window, a tempo of 60 beats per minute, or a note length of one second will give you the seed at its original timings (that is, if you have none of the tempo varying options switched on).

Then for instance 480 will give you an eight times faster playback and so on.

Tempo - SPIN

Micro-adjust tempo (or note length) - by a SMALL amount...

Adjusts the tempo one beat per minute at a time

Tempo - SPIN

Adjust tempo (or note length) by LARGER amounts...

Clicking this twice doubles (or halves) the tempo or the note length.

(Each click multiplies it by root two).

Set min tempo

Set a minimum tempo for the longest notes in the melody...

See the tool tip extra help for Set max tempo for more informationd

Set min tempo

This is the minimum tempo for the longest notes in the melody...

See the tool tip extra help for Set max tempo for more information

Set max tempo

Set a maximum tempo for the shortest notes in the melody...

Short notes get affected more and more as they approach the maximum tempo while long notes will be left unchanged. So melody and seed timings become more even as you approach the maximum tempo.

The way it is done is that as the notes in the original melody get shorter, they get increased in length to compensate. The compensation gets more and more as the notes get shorter and it is done in such a way that no matter how short the original notes were, the maximum tempo can never quite be reached.

This means that it is a gradual rather than a sharp cut off point with the change happening smoothly.

For those interested in how it is done:

The formula used actually is

f(x) = sin(x) for x = 0

 = atan(x) for x > PI/4

and it changes smoothly from sin(x) to atan(x) as x increases from 0 to PI/4.

This formula gets applied to the log of the ratio of the note time to the tempo indication for notes of length 1 (or the minimum tempo, whichever is greatest) and then the inverse log is taken again at the end of the calculation.

One could use any function here that has a slope of 1 at x = 0 and approaches 1 asymptotically as x tends to infinity. (e.g. a formula derived from the integral of the normal distribution would seem a natural choice). The one used here was chosen because it is fast and easy for a computer to calculate.

Set max tempo

This is the maximum tempo for the shortest notes in the melody...

See the tool tip extra help for Set max tempo for more information

Vary rhythm by seed position

Varies the timing within the bar, also timing of bars too...

Normally when musicians play, they don't play quite a fixed beat like a clock ticking. Instead, the beats vary within a bar so for instance the first beat might be rather longer than the remaining ones and the last beat really quite short in comparison sometimes, or it may be the other way around. Also often bars too vary in length over larger time scales for instance in a repeating four bar pattern, the bars may not all be quite the same length.

One way around that in software is to set what musicians call a "groove" - a pre-recorded pattern of beats repeating every bar.

This option lets you vary the beat in another way by setting the amount of variation you want, and where in the bar you want the fastest beat to go. This gives a continuously varying organic feel to the rhythm, though it doesn't quite have the flexibility of a groove, it is automatic to set up and vary, and you can then try to follow the computer's timing pattern.

Also it lets you vary the beat pattern at larger time scales - that's what the level parameter is about. See the tool tip for that option for details

Vary tempo to

How much to vary the beat length by...

This isn't quite the beat length itself actually, as it is a continuous thing. If you set this to say 80 % and had a huge number of beats, say 100, then the fastest beat would be pretty close to 80 percent of the normal 1/100th of a bar. For smaller numbers of beats per bar, then the actual shortest beat length will be a bit longer than this.

Sustain each note for

Set to 1 for continuous notes, less than 1 for staccato, more for overlap...

This configures how much each note overlaps the next one in fractal tunes.

If you set it to more than 1 you get overlapping notes playing chords. Set it to 3 for instance and each note will overlap the next two notes played.

Sustain each note for - SPIN

Increase or decrease the note sustain for fractal tunes

Tempo Map...

Set a play list of fractal tunes, or set tempo changes...

Unlike a normal play list, these fractal tunes become part of the tune you are working on. You can open the original files into this tune, but once you do so, they then become part of this tune, and if you change the original it will have no more effect.

Use play list / tempo map

Switch on the play list or tempo map


Click here to play it...

What this plays depends on the task selected from the Tasks menu.

It can play a retuned midi clip, chord progression, fractal tune or metronome


You can use Shift + click to fast forward...

Also Ctrl to fast forward even more. Shift multiplies the tempo by 10 and Ctrl multiplies it by 100, so the two together would play a fractal tune at for instance, 60,000 instead of 60 as the tempo. This is useful sometimes for fast forwarding through fractal tunes.


Pause playback, or continue play


Set master volume for FTS. Other controls also affect the volume...

Bs | Play control brings up the master volume control for Windows as a whole.

The volume is also affected by the volume for individual parts in the Parts (Ctrl + 9) window.

For the Wave shape player, go to the Wave Shape Player Audio Format (Ctrl + 188)

For CSound instruments, you can set the overall volume in the C Sound Save Opts (Ctrl + 168)

You can also vary the volume in Out | Options | More | Volume remapping, note on / off volumes etc. (Ctrl + 158) and if playing from Midi In there's another setting at In | Options | Keyboard Options | Touch. (Ctrl + 91)

See also Help | FAQ - trouble shooting | Why is everything so quiet

Help = F1

Click for help for this window. Or F1. Other opts: Shift , Alt, Ctrl + click...

F1 or click shows the help for the current window in your web browser.

Some windows may have no help yet in which case the help icon is shown crossed out with a red line.

Shift + F1 or Shift + Click brings up the tool tips extra help window (this window) to show any extra help for a tool tip.

You can tell if a tool tip has extra help if it ends ... like this one.

Ctrl + F1 or Ctrl + click takes you to the list of keyboard shortcuts for Tune Smithy.

Alt + F1 or Alt + click (alternatively Caps lock physically held down + F1 or Click) takes you to the on-line page at the web site about the current main window task - which gives a short introduction to it for newbies to the program. If there is no on-line page specific to a task, takes you to the main tune smithy page on the web site.

Since the help for Tune Smithy is currently a bit out of date and needs to be redone completely for the new 3.0 release, then you may find the on-line page for some of the newer tasks particularly useful.

Organise Windows = F2

Or F2 - Reset / save / open for individual windows, right click for cat. list...

Shows the Organise windows window - which you can use to reset all the parameters for the current window - or save them all, or open previously saved parameters for just this window. Also has a drop list of all the windows and their shortcuts.

Fractal Tunes Dialog Star

Tip of the day - Fractal Tunes category - right click for neighbouring windows...

Left click for a tip of the day in this category.

Right click to see a menu of neighbouring windows.

The neighbours are the ones you most often move to after this one or within a minute of this one, arranged by popularity.

So as you continue to use FTS, it will learn your habits, and the neighbouring windows listed here, should be the ones you most often visit after this one.

Neighbours, and Previous - Up - Next

N.B. This list of neighbours may change when these pages are updated.

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