If you’re like me, then you probably have creative ideas at random. You get a crazy melody in your head, and you rush to your computer to quickly lay it down before the creative juices stop flowing. You open FL Studio and load your favorite synth or instrument, but before you start the first thing you need to do is set the tempo.
You start messing around with the tempo trying to get it just right. You try various tempos, and after a few minutes, you get it just right. You rush to quickly put down your brilliant idea, but oh, my, you can’t remember it. Well, you are not alone! This is a common problem, but it is one with a very quick and easy fix, the tempo tapper!
In this article we are going to look at the intricacies of the tempo tapper and what makes it one of the most efficient tools in FL Studio.
You can start by opening the tempo tapper with Ctrl + F5. Alternately, you can open it from the toolbar by selecting the icon containing the kick drum pedal as shown below.
This is what it looks like when it opens up
Once it is open, drag your mouse over the area labelled ‘TAP’ and start tapping in your desired tempo either by using the mouse buttons or a key on your MIDI controller.
The tempo tapper will start estimating the tempo after the second click and it will be displayed on the tap area.
Keep in mind that it will go over a number of values depending on your tapping consistency.
The more accurate your taps are, the quicker the detection process will be. The bar at the bottom represents the accuracy of the tempo estimation. Once you are consistent for about four or more taps, the bar will turn orange indicating that the tempo tapper has accurately estimated the tempo. You can then see the tempo value displayed in a block
To get the most out of the tempo tapper and avoid unnecessary headaches, I would advise using an external music player when trying to find the tempo of a sample. Once the tempo is determined you can now import the sample into FL Studio.
There are four different settings available with the tempo tapper in FL that give you more control over the tool. I will go through each of them so you understand what they are for and you could also incorporate them in your workflow if you want.
This control takes the tempo tapper a notch further in efficiency. It is used when the tempo has already been correctly identified, but the music and the tempo are not in sync. To sync the tempo to the music being played, hold down one of the nudge keys to either speed up or slow down your tempo to get it in sync with the music.
Once you release the nudge key, the tempo will go back to its original set or tapped in value. If you have a MIDI controller you can go a step further and use the pitch bend to smoothly nudge the tempo until it is in sync.
Turn the sync feature on to reset the downbeat with each tap. This will also change the tempo and realign the audio clips used to fit the current tempo. However, for this to function you must first fit and lock in your audio clips to the grid or tempo. This is to make sure that the audio clips will be stretched automatically according to the tempo detected.
If the samples are not locked in to the grid they will remain unchanged even as the tempo changes. Sometimes this could be exactly what you want because this allows you to tap in the tempo simultaneously while the audio clip is playing. To avoid the chaos and intensive strain on CPU caused by restretching audio clips with each tap, use the tempo tapper with this feature off unless it is needed.
This mutes the project when the tapping starts, and slowly fades it in, once the tempo is more consistent as you tap it in. It is mostly used for performances to get the tempo in sync with the playback. The fade in allows you to hear the music and match the tempo accordingly.
The ‘now’ control activates the mute feature for only a few bars.
If there’s one feature that’s made me swear by FL Studio for all my music production needs, it has to be the tempo tapper. Its ability to accurately get the tempo with only a few taps is unmatched. By using the tempo tapper, you can knock down the time you spend trying to find the tempo from 2 or 3 minutes to literally less than 10 seconds.
Don’t let your musical ideas go down the drain. The next time you want to translate that idea in your head into music be sure to pull up the tempo tapper. Set the tempo in an instance and get back to focusing on the music. It is not always that you get your creative juices flowing, so when you do be sure to make use of it!