Reason: Changing Tempo and Meter

To set the tempo and time signature for an entire sequence, you just edit the numbers in the Transport Panel at the bottom of the screen. But what if you want the tempo or meter to change in the middle of a sequence?

CAUTION: These instructions apply to Reason 7. In Reason 8, there are some cosmetic differences.

Time Signature Changes

You cannot record time signature changes — only draw them. Here’s how to do that.

  1. Click on the left side of the Transport track to select it. (Click the word “Transport.”)
  2. Choose Time Signature from the Automation menu.

    This places a time signature automation lane in the Transport track.

  3. Using the pencil tool, click in a measure of the time signature lane to create an empty clip.
  4. With the arrow tool, select the clip. Then choose a new time signature from the popup menu at the top of the clip.

    Notice how the ruler reflects the time signature change, which lasts only for the duration of the clip.

  5. You can expand the clip to make the new time signature span multiple measures. When the clip ends, the sequence returns to the default time signature: whatever you set in the Transport Panel before you created the time signature lane.

    Time signature clips must begin and end on measure boundaries. Otherwise, you can resize, copy, move, and delete them just as you would for note clips.

Note that changing the time signature for a sequence has no effect on the way the music sounds. It merely adjusts the way the notes align with beats and measures displayed in the Sequencer.

Tempo Changes

You can record tempo changes, or you can draw them into a graph.

There are two ways to record tempo changes. Before doing either, you first must select the Transport track by clicking on it in the Track List.

Set the Position Pointer (or rewind) to an appropriate spot, press Record, then do either of these:

  1. click the numerical tempo arrow buttons, or
  2. click the TAP button on each beat of your preferred tempo. The playback tries to follow along.

Recording tempo changes seems like a good idea, but it is often more precise to enter tempo changes graphically.

  1. Click on the left side of the Transport track to select it. (Click the word “Transport.”)
  2. Choose Tempo from the Automation menu.

    This places a tempo automation lane in the Transport track.

  3. Using the pencil tool, click and drag in the tempo lane to create an empty clip.
  4. With the arrow tool, double-click the clip to edit it. You could draw a tempo curve here, but it’s better to click the Open in Edit Mode button.

    That way, you will be able to see a scale at the left of the tempo graph, as well as a way to set the default tempo. Review the Editing Automation Data section of Automating Instrument and Effect Parameters. The tempo graph works the same way.

  5. There is one difference between editing tempo automation and other kinds of automation. The vertical scale for tempo has adjustable limits. In the picture below, 250 BPM is the maximum tempo shown in the graph, and 30 BPM is the minimum. But you can double-click those and type new numbers to change these limits.

If you decide later not to have a tempo change after all, you can still leave the tempo data in your sequence, in case you change your mind again later. Just click the M (mute) button in the tempo lane so that it turns red. Then the sequence will use whatever constant tempo you type into the tempo field in the Transport Panel.

Copyright ©2013-2015 John Gibson