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The Foxy Dryad

Howdy! It's been quite a while since last time (Fluffy Doll for Xmas:). However, Qtractor is back again on track and this time with great news. And the big news are: that this pet is leaving its rusty four-on-the-floor cage and spreading it's musical genre targets. Still a bedroom/home-studio sequencer though, but not for the techno-boy/girl only anymore--if one may trump about it, it's getting a general-purpose sticker now.

And what makes it like just that? One long due feature, now stroked by implementation lightning: Tempo/Time-signature Map. Or in other words: project sessions may now have multiple parts with different tempo (BPM) and/or time-signatures.

Tempo/time-signature map is/was a very pervasive feature change. Although deeply internal, as it's only evidently visible from the new View/Tempo Map... interactive yet primitive dialog, it is also accessible by double-clicking on the time rulers (main track-view and MIDI clip editors) and by left-clicking over the main tempo spin-box, which also introduces the time-signature figures as seen from the current play-head position.

One should probably say that this is the major change in Qtractor internals since its primordial inception. No doubt, we're still in alpha status. It surely will take a (another) while, a year or so, for a similar payload take a lift, ever again. No sweat. Watch for next favorite feature requests, like MIDI controller map/learn/feedback and automation. Coming next, soon, hopefully :)

A few words of caution must be said now. It is of paramount interest for all of you who already use Qtractor for any (small) project or prototype, to be prepared for less amenable surprises. Being optimistically wise, there's a very good chance that all new workings will bring a better experience overall. But given the whole nature and depth of what got through, it is wise enough to have your backups at hand and up to date. Don't hesitate asking for help, in any case.

Caveat emptor!

So, with no further ado, there it is:

Qtractor 0.4.0 (foxy dryad) is now released!

Release highlights:

  • Tempo-map/Time-signature support. (NEW)
  • MIDI Song Position cueing support. (NEW)
  • MIDI Clip Quantize command. (NEW)
  • Zoom direction mode option (NEW)
  • MP3 audio format support (FIXED)

and many other assorted fixes and brand new bugs ;)


Project page:


Weblog (upstream support):


Qtractor is free, open-source software, distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL) version 2 or later.


  • Multi-track audio and MIDI sequencing and recording.
  • Developed on pure Qt4 C++ application framework (no Qt3 nor KDE dependencies).
  • Uses JACK for audio and ALSA sequencer for MIDI as multimedia infrastructures.
  • Traditional multi-track tape recorder control paradigm.
  • Audio file formats support: OGG (via libvorbis), MP3 (via libmad, playback only), WAV, FLAC, AIFF and many, many more (via libsndfile).
  • Standard MIDI files support (format 0 and 1).
  • Non-destructive, non-linear editing.
  • Unlimited number of tracks per session/project.
  • Unlimited number of overlapping clips per track.
  • XML encoded session/project description files (SDI).
  • Point-and-click, multi-select, drag-and-drop interaction (drag, move, drop, cut, copy, paste, paste-repeat, delete, split)
  • Unlimited undo/redo.
  • Built-in mixer and monitor controls.
  • Built-in connection patchbay control and persistence (a-la QjackCtl).
  • LADSPA, DSSI and native VSTi plug-in support.
  • Unlimited number of plug-ins per track or bus.
  • Plug-in presets, programs and chunk/configurations support.
  • Audio/MIDI clip fade-in/out (linear, quadratic, cubic).
  • Audio/MIDI clip gain/volume, normalize, export.
  • Audio clip time-stretching (WSOLA-like or via librubberband), pitch-shifting (via librubberband) and seamless sample-rate conversion (via libsamplerate).
  • Audio/MIDI track export (mix-down, merge).
  • Audio/MIDI metronome bar/beat clicks.
  • Unlimited tempo/time-signature map.
  • MIDI clip editor (matrix/piano roll).
  • MIDI instrument definitions (a-la Cakewalk(tm))
  • JACK transport sync master.
  • MMC control surface enabled.
  • MIDI Song Position cueing support.
  • Configurable keyboard shortcuts.

Change log:

  • MIDI (re)connections fix; now caring for the ALSA client and port textual names only, avoiding as much as possible, any reliance on those volatile client and port numbers.
  • Transport/Backward and Forward commands may now reset to immediate full start or end of session locations, by just pressing the Shift or Ctrl keyboard modifiers and clicking
    their respective toolbar buttons.
  • Default session/MIDI resolution has been set to 960 ticks per beat (960 TPQN, where a beat equals a quarter-note); it is worth of note that the previous default resolution was set to one order of magnitude lower, ie. 96 TPQN ;).
  • Making (dis)connections now also flags session as dirty.
  • Internal Audio/MIDI engines queue/time drift correction takes a brand new approach, specially adapted to rolling tempo/time-siganture changes.
  • MIDI monitor refresh-cycle slight internal optimization.
  • Converted obsolete QMessageBox forms to standard buttons.
  • Transport/Rewind and Fast-forward commands may now be set to double-speed, by pressing the Shift or Ctrl modifiers while clicking their respective tool buttons.
  • MIDI clip editor zoom ratios are now saved and preserved across sessions.
  • Time-signature is now directly accessible from the main tempo spin-box which also reflects current tempo status.
  • Time/frame spin-boxes now allow to step change each field individually, depending on the cursor beam position.
  • Make sure that Transport/Follow playhead option is only effective when playback is actually rolling.
  • Primordial attempt to include MIDI Song Position Pointer (SPP), Song Start, Stop and Continue sequencing support.
  • A completely new time-scale infrastructure is now in place, with full support for session tempo and time-signature map; this long due feature is primarily accessible through the main menu, View/Tempo Map...; also by double-clicking on the the main window and MIDI clip editor time rulers and left-clicking on the main toolbar tempo/signature spin-box.
  • Moving and resizing individual clips now cares for track proper ordering and overlapping changes, avoiding nasty out of sequence clips and other unpredictable effects.
  • An expedite MIDI clip quantize command is now available from the main track view menu (Edit/Clip/Quantize), which simply applies the current snap-to-beat setting to a MIDI clip range selection.
  • Fixed that hideous bug affecting overlapped audio clips when playhead gets moved backward, causing the playback of those audio clips in particular, go out of sync.
  • Tracks are now limited to their minimum height, specially effective in face of vertical zooming.
  • Zoom mode option introduced (on menu View/Zoom/Horizontal, Vertical, All).
  • Tempo beat type is a new session property; however it is not yet user modifiable and currently disabled to default MIDI quarter note (1/4).
  • All open MIDI clip editor time-scales are now updated and corrected when the main session time base changes (tempo, time-signature, resolution, etc.)
  • MIDI metronome fixed, preventing duplicate click events.
  • MP3 audio file decoding was broken for way too long and falling short for every file with custom frames, ID3 tags and comments. Got shamefully fixed.
  • Time signature denominator (ie. beat divisor) is now an accessible and effective session property.
  • Attempt to retain original size (clip length) of all audio clips when changing the global session tempo and automatic time-stretching is not an option.

Cheers && Enjoy!