How do I convert FL Studio time (bar-step-tick) to real-world durations?

I have an FL Studio song file (.flp) that I'm trying to recreate programatically.

I've got my program to the point where it can play the instruments I want, when I want, now the only problem is that I don't know when I want them.

I'm looking at the piano line instrument by instrument, and while it's easy to say which notes are which in FL Studio terms (Bar X, Step Y, Tick Z), I don't know the real-world duration of Bars, Steps, and Ticks (and I'd even bet that you can vary them in the first place...).

How might I calculate get the absolute real time between each note?

-

migrated from video.stackexchange.comFeb 19 '14 at 18:02

This question came from our site for engineers, producers, editors, and enthusiasts spanning the fields of video, and media creation.

I am not familiar with this software but have had sufficient experience with both sequencer and piano roll formats to understand your question. Examining the tutorials for "FL Studio Tutorial - Pattern Window and Step Sequencer Basics" I found the following:

"Notice all those rows of buttons for each sound? Those are each called 'step' and you looking at a sequence of them each representing 1/16 of a measure or bar of music."

Do you understand the concept of a "bar" also know as a "measure" in western music? Assuming you may not understand this I will explain it. Feel free to Google "Bars in music", "Measures in Music", "tempo" or any term I am using that you may not have heard of before.

Simply put a bar is a division of time. How much time depends on the 'time signature' and the 'tempo'. Many musical works use this to keep track of what notes are played when. For example in American Blues music, the 12 bar blues is used very often. This construct is 12 measures or bars at 4 beats each. The tempo can very from slow to fast (60 beats per minute to 140 beats per minute). Typically a 12 bar blues has the following chord structure: the tonic (I) is played for the first 4 bars, (16 beats), the sub-dominant (VI) plays the next 2 bars, the tonic again for the next 2 bars, then dominant (V) one bar, then sub-dominant one bar, and tonic (I) one bar and the last bar is usually the dominant or can be a tonic. So that's 12 bars, a whole blues song using this might have 12 of these, or 144 bars.

So according to the tutorial a step = 1/16 of a measure. From this one might conclude that this is the smallest amount of time the measure or bar can be broken down to. In music, this would be a 16th note, 16 x 16th notes will equal 4 quarter notes, and apparently a whole measure in this software. How long is this in real time depends on how you set the tempo.

There are a couple of video tutorials about FL Studio so google away to see if these will assist too.

-
Yes, I understand all that, but how much in real time is one step? I.e., one step = 115 milliseconds? – Raven Dreamer Apr 11 '12 at 0:33
@RavenDreamer As filzilla has said, that depends on the tempo (BPM or beats per minute), the time signature (number of beats per measure) and the number of steps per beat. Here is a quick formula: 60/(BPM * <steps per beat>) This will give you the time in seconds per step. For 60BPM, 4/4 time signature and 16th note resolution: first divide the resolution by the bottom number of the time signature to get steps per beat (16/4=4). This gives us 60/(60 * 4) or 1/4 second or 250ms per step. – Friend Of George Apr 11 '12 at 13:13
Thank you Friend Of George, perfect! – filzilla Apr 11 '12 at 18:13

if i understan correctly you are trying to enlarge or reduct the midi file based on distances between notes? i know in ableton live there is option to double or halfen Midi file so in that way you double or halfen its distance between each note.. but theres no option to enlarge or reduct it for one third or even smaller pieces, but clearly that would be good idea in new versions of DAWs and editors..

-
Actually he was asking how long in milliseconds is one step in FL Studio. – Friend Of George Apr 18 '12 at 17:12
if that is case, like filzilla said the step depends on tempo, if tempo is high the step will be shorter, if tempo is low the step will be longer, there is no absolute or default duration of step... – 1ucid Apr 18 '12 at 17:15

theres a button to convert the ticks step bar display into minutes seconds its right next to the display

-
perhaps you could post an image? to illustrate which button you're referring to? – JoshP Aug 4 '13 at 12:58