Before you begin recording in Pro Tools you’ll want to setup a guide track. This will include a click track set to the right tempo and maybe a scratch recording or two. It’s easy to set the tempo in Pro Tools and let the click follow along, but what do you do when your song calls for some tempo changes? How to make the click follow those so you can still play alongside the grid? It’s easy, no worries.
Switch Out of Manual Tempo Mode
The first thing you need to do is get out of the default manual mode that Pro Tools keeps the tempo at. Usually you can just manually type in a tempo setting in the Transport bar/window. You’ll see the same tempo BPM reflected in the Tempo ruler over in the edit window. See below for an example. Our song is set to 130 BPM in manual mode.
If we want to have tempo changes however we’ll need to leave manual mode and instead click on the conductor track icon to switch. You’ll notice instantly that the tempo is grayed out in the transport bar and set to the default of 120 BPM. (If you wanted to change this back to 130 you could simply double click the red diamond next to the tempo in the ruler, and change it there).
If we wanted to make a tempo change at Bar 3 in this song, we would simply click on bar 3 to place the cursor there and then click on the “+” sign in the tempo ruler to add a new tempo change. A dialog box will pop up asking us what tempo we would like to change it to. In this case I would simply type in my new BPM for bar 3 onwards and click “OK”.
Now if you look at your tempo ruler you will see the initial tempo (in our case 120) at the song start and then at bar 3 our tempo change to 100 BPM. If you have a click track enabled you will hear it audibly slow down as the play/stop marker crosses over the third measure. To make more changes simply add more tempo changes using this same method. You can even click and drag these tempo change markers to new locations, double click them to change the tempo, and even option+click them to delete.
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