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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!


Hi Rui,
Thank you very much for this new release. I hadn't tried qtractor yet but this time I'd like to. :-)
I'm trying to read the README.VST to no avail. It says it's a TGA image but I can't open with any image viewer. I have even tried with the GIMP.
Is this file corrupt?
I'm trying to figure out how to get my VST instruments running inside qtractor. I normally run them with dssi-vst and I can connect them via jack, so it's not a big issue anyway.
Best Regards,

rncbc's picture

README.VST is a plain text file; open up with any text file viewer or editor.

README.VST: ASCII English text

but now that you ask, here comes its plain content, for your reading pleasure:

Native VST plug-in support

Building for VST support is not that easy. To say the least, it does
not work out of the box. First, due to its licensing issues, you'll
have to go through the nuisance and download yourself the VST SDK,
from its site:

  Steinberg Media Technologies GmbH

specifically, dig it through the 3rd Party Developers section.
It doesn't really matter much whether you pick the VST 2.3 or VST 2.4
version, you need to pick one and just one only. Do not ask for the
recently announced VST 3.0. It won't work and I won't care :)

Once you have downloaded the VST SDK zip-archive, for which you'll
have to accept their license and supply some personal data, you'll
have to unpack the pertinent header files, which are found under
the respective folder:

  - VST SDK 2.3:

  - VST SDK 2.4:

Just copy those couple of files to somewhere on your system. You may
choose to copy those files into some of the system standard include
directories (eg. /usr/local/include or /usr/include). That way, all
will be handled automagically by the usual build steps. Otherwise,
you'll need do supply the include path yourself, as in the following:

  ./configure --with-vst=/path/to/vstsdk2.x/include

Next step, once properly built, you'll need to tell where the actual
native VST plug-ins can be found in your file system. The directories
where plug-ins can be picked up by qtractor at run-time are specified
respectively in the View/Options.../Display/Plugin Paths dialog.


This is just awesome!

I can't believe you're working out the bugs and even improving Qtractor at such a fast pace! I'm really enjoying this. This is a kickass sequencer for sure! And I'm pretty sure it will even kick more ass in a future. It's already much better in many ways than other linux seqs(no need to mention them), and yet it's still an alpha! I haven't found many bugs considering it's at alpha stage, and find it very stable :) Also, the building process is so clean and almost no warnings. And the matrix editor is really confortable to work with. :)

The least I can do is buy you a pizza and a beer... but I couldn't find any donation link. If you have a paypal account I'll gladly do :)

Now, for a question:
Can I use one softsynth plugin instance in several midi tracks?
I guess this is done by means of buses? But I think it's not implemented yet?
Or can this actually be done already?

Also, it would be nice to have a visual grid in the matrix editor that actually reflects the current quantization/snapping, rather than just the beat and whole note vertical bars.
The snapping measures feel a little bit weird to use, as it uses beat/x instead of the usual whole note/x. But that's okay with me :)

Thank you,
stay well,

rncbc's picture

Thanks for the praise. Once in a while one really needs something of the like ;)

Re. donations :- humbly available from the project page or directly from here!

Re. use one softsynth plugin instance in several midi tracks :- nope. If what you're after is having a multi-timbral plugin being fed by several MIDI track/channels, then you can get away with one plugin instance inserted on the corresponding MIDI output bus.

Re. visual grid in the matrix editor that actually reflects the current quantization/snapping :- there's none yet; several people have asked for this before. Personally I find it more like a cumbersome bloat than a real helping guide, but I guess I'm wicked ;)

FWIW, in Qtractor at least, a "beat" is one sub-division of a "bar" and equals the note duration given by the current time-signature denominator, eg. a "beat" equals one quarter-note on a 4/4 time, so that "Beat/4" is the same as a sixteenth note in duration (1/16).


:- there's none yet; several people have asked for this before. Personally I find it more like a cumbersome bloat than a real helping guide, but I guess I'm wicked ;)

Yeah, you are really wicked >:-)

Having a visual grid in qtractor is really a must ,or at least as an option..... please... :,(

rncbc's picture

Ok, i'll put this on the NOTDL (non official to do list:) Maybe it gets done sooner than later ;)


THANK You!!! :-))

rncbc's picture

That's right, snap grid is now a reality: see it through View/Snap/Grid menu option, on the MIDI clip editor window (aka. piano-roll/matrix editor), qtractor- as of latest CVS HEAD.


Wow!!!!! Great!!!! thank you very very much !!!! Viva Qtractor!!!!

Wow qtractor seems like great software for audio editing. I will be sure to try it out.


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