When You Tap out That 6 / 8 Tempo in Ableton
Ableton Live doesn’t listen to 8th notes when it comes to tapping out a tempo. When you use the TAP button on the top toolbar, Ableton Live assumes you’re tapping out quarter notes. Whether you’ve set your song to 3/4 or 4/4, it’s going to hear each tap as a quarter note.
This becomes a problem when you need to tap out 6/8. Why? Because there’s no tapped 8th note. It’s all quarter notes. This is ONLY a problem because of the audible tones on the metronome. If you want to hear a 6/8 pattern where the first note is a down-beat and then there are 5 beeps after it, you need to make a small adjustment to your time signature.
A song that’s in 6/8 will tap out like this:
1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6
Since Ableton only sees quarter notes when you tap, to ensure you can create a tempo that sounds like 6/8, you need to set your time signature to 6/4, then adjust the tempo to a specific BPM that makes the metronome sound like you want it to sound. You’re basically telling Ableton Live to ignore conventional time signatures and create a pattern that’s 6 beats with the down-beat included.
When a song is presented in 6/8, that’s all you have to do. If you adjusted your time signature to 3/4 for a song that’s 6/8 then your downbeat is going to fall on the 1 and the 4 and despite the fact that your time divisions will line up, you won’t be hearing a 6/8 cadence.