When you try to create or recreate classical music with Midi and Sample-librarys the result sounds static and lifeless. The static impression is caused by the fixed tempo of the Midi-editor. To get closer to the real thing I like to insert many tempo-curves to achieve a natural tempo and effects, which are often used by players and conductors. An experienced player will use riterdando, accellerando, rubato and a tempo to create tension and to separate different musical parts of a work.
I recently worked on a string quartet arrangement of Steely Dan’s “Throw back the little ones” and at last my main tempo-curve looked like this:
Above you see a typical “accellerando”, a speed-up of the whole track. This is useful to create a climax towards a second part and usually I would go back mirror-inverted to the main tempo, when it goes back to part A within a ABA-form.
Here you see the end of the track. At the end of slow and mid-tempo tracks it often sounds convincing to create an extreme slow-down like in this example going from 160 to 91bpm.
The last example above might be the most interesting, because it shows how I try to recreate phrasing. A real player often modifies the tempo within one bar, two bars or other little sections. The phenomenon called rubato was heavily used during the romantic period and some people will call it outdated, but in the Midi-world it can become a welcome weapon to fight against the unhuman timing of the machines. I experimented with some curves and depending on the material I often ended up with curves like the one above. A rapid decrease of tempo within a bar or two bars until a short static phase of the reached slow tempo and then the abrupt return of the old tempo at the start of the next bar.
I will post the end-result of my work next weekend here.