Any tips to keep track of beat/bar count?

Hey all,

Just got my Syntakt; lovely box - Big fan of groove boxes and this one sounds :fire:.

I have a question though. I often (like always) use different time scales on each track (i.e. a long harmonic element using all 64 steps, maybe at 1/2 scale or less for longer sequences and maybe some tracks doing simple 16step loops (or maybe 12/7/6 etc.)).

To keep things in order, I’ll then usually use the master pattern length, set to something like 128 steps, so that all of my tracks synchronise every few bars. This also causes new patterns to wait until the 128 step reset before switching.

The question is; how do you keep track of where you are in the pattern? When I cue up a pattern change, I want to know exactly when the next pattern will “drop”, in order to prepare things correctly for the transition. This is quite difficult in some of my more hypnotic patterns, where I deliberately confuse the beat (polymeters etc.).

I know I can switch to my longest/slowest track (e.g. the long harmonic track with 64beats) and look at the flashing bar light, but this is often inconvenient as I’m trying to coordinate changes across several other tracks.

The only thing I can think of is getting some kind of standalone beat counter (if such a thing exists), but interested to hear any other smart ideas used by the community!

Thanks :slight_smile:

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My two cents: program one little sound near the end of the sequence that gives you the cue you need. If you make this a beautiful sound then it makes your music better as well


Thanks @Geologist. Yeah that’s a nice/simple approach which I end up doing naturally (often have a little fill at the end of the measure). The only time this falls down is if the track containing that little fill sound happens to be muted.

I’ve just found this On the 8 | MIDI Clock Display which I’m going to try now (already have the connection kit so should be able to take the usb midi straight out of ST and into iPhone). Seems like a decent solution if it works; not much extra to carry!

EDIT: onthe8 works exactly as I wanted, and no extra purchases required… Very happy!


In such configuration, I use infinite master length and 64 as a change pattern length.

This way it feels closer to what I’d expect.


If you want to count manually while listening to the beat, there is a simple technique of counting the bars in the first beat.

So for a 4/4 pattern it will be:

1-2-3-4, 2-2-3-4, 3-2-3-4, 4-2-3-4, etc


I looked a while ago and was not able to find such a thing, which is quite surprising, I did consider making one but it is way down the list.

I guess arduino with a midi shield and a display would be the simplest way to do it.


I usually keep the change length at 16 and just go with my instinct on when to change.
I think I would tie myself up in knots with counting if I tried to be precise!

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This is why orchestral conductors are used they cue in different parts of the orchestra. They use sheet music and follow the notes. Perhaps you could do something similar and print out a midi note chart and follow it visually.


Count at first, after a while you’ll just feel it.

Try counting along whenever you listen to other music also. The majority of the time you can use your intuition to know when the end of a phrase is going to occur, unless the composer is a cocky SOB.

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This is the method I learned from my drum teacher right at the first lesson and it works perfectly in most cases.

I prefer making music in binary numbers so this is always my go to method but I also enjoy more complex „poly-measures“ if thats a so called thing…

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