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DrumThrash Drum Machine Software for PC

Understanding Pulses per quarter note

This section will explain how a measure is subdivided and how it's related to PPQN or "Pulses per quarter note". It also explains how DrumThrash uses MIDI.
What is Pulses per quarter note?
What is a quarter note?
What 's the advantage of  having a higher PPQN?
DrumThrash and MIDI

What is Pulses per quarter note?

The term pulses per quarter note (PPQN) is a measurement used to describe how many ticks or "pulses" on the clock that have occurred per quarter note. It is used for syncing the playback of MIDI devices such as MIDI sequencers and synthesizers. The word "pulse" is sometimes referred to as a tick or part. Early step sequencers from the 80's could be limited, providing a resolution of 24 PPQN. Today's step sequencers and software aren't so limited and resolutions are much higher today. DrumThrash has a default resolution is 960 PPQN.

What is a quarter note?

The image below displays a measure with a 4/4 time signature. The highlighted area on the left contains one quarter note which starts at tick zero. During the length of the note 960 ticks will have passed on the clock.
Quarter note
To display ticks, select a hit while using the Nudge tool on the Tools toolbar.
Nudge tool button
The tick value will be displayed next to the hit. Nudging hits
Using the chart below and assuming we are using a 4/4 time signature, one measure would contain a total of 3840 ticks.
DrumThrash ppqn chart
The overall idea might seem complicated but you will quickly start to recognize divisions and their relative tick value.

What's the advantage to having a higher PPQN?

There can be a debate between musicians on which PPQN resolution should be used. A step sequencer with low resolution of 4 PPQN would only allow for 32 notes to be added in one 4/4 measure. This can work well for styles like hip-hop and trance, but not very natural sounding when trying to replicate a live drummer. That being said 960 PPQN seems to be a good balance between usability while being able to provide temporal movement and slight fluctuations in timing. Having a higher PPQN can provide more flexibility and allow you to add more variation to your drum tracks. See How to quantizatize and humanize drums in DrumThrash.

DrumThrash and MIDI

DrumThrash uses standard MIDI map assignments to import MIDI and export MIDI files. Mappings are not required but will help speed up the process when importing and exporting files. MIDI can have different PPQN resolutions. When importing MIDI files into DrumThrash the PPQN will be converted to fit the grid. When exporting to a MIDI file you have the option to save as 480 or 960 PPQN. There is no standard PPQN, however remember that some software and hardware may not support higher resolutions.
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