WIP Auto-Tools improvements for April 2021

Hi folks,

I’m working on some enhancements to the “Auto Tools”, and I wanted to share my progress and current thinking. If any of these features interest you, I’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback on them.

I’ll start with the improvements that I’m more sure about, and proceed to the less-thoroughly-explored ideas:

Remembering of Auto-Finish/Auto-Speedup Settings [done]
Strum Machine now remember details like how many times to repeat the song, so that if you disable a tool and then re-enable it, those settings are restored.

Negative and Fractional BPM Settings for Auto-Speedup [in beta]
By typing a negative number into the BPM field of Auto-Speedup, you can now (in the beta version) have it automatically reduce speed over time. It also accepts “.5” as a value, to increase the speed by 0.5 BPM every time.

Auto-Speedup Resetting Tempo After Song Ends [in beta]
This is an optional setting (currently tucked away in the Advanced Settings panel) that resets the speed back to the starting BPM whenever you a) hit stop, or b) let the song be stopped by Auto-Finish.

Auto-Finish Default Rep Count [unsure]
Someone suggested there be a way to change the default rep count for Auto-Finish. Currently it’s set to 1 when you enable Auto-Finish, but the idea would be to have an app-wide preference that lets you change this. Is there demand for this?

Auto-Finish App-Wide Enabling [unsure]
I can’t remember why this was suggested… perhaps to avoid forgetting to enable Auto-Finish for every tune during a performance? One would need to set the rep count for each tune beforehand, though, or be OK with the default, so I’m not sure how useful this would be… again, your feedback is most welcome!

Auto-Modulate [in beta]
Finally, a new tool, accessible from within the key selection menu: Auto-Modulate, which is like Auto-Speedup but for automatically changing the key. You’ll be able to specify the keys to cycle though (and in what order) as well as how many times to stay on each key. Fun stuff!

So, what do you think? Do you have any feedback on these ideas? Am I missing a cool idea related to these tools that I should include in this release? Thanks in advance for your input!


Thanks for the remember me feature on tempo and such. Will make using that feature even more convenient.

The auto modulate thing sounds like a super cool idea, for practice and I guess some performances as well!

I never thought about the performance angle, but it would come in handy for accompanying things like this version of Uncle Joe in all 12 keys (from Rex McGee’s genius Kripple Krunk album)…

Another vote for the modulate option. Actually I had been hoping for a way to transpose sections in edit mode in order to achieve the same thing.


Auto modulate :+1:
Negative BPM :+1: I would use it to slow down the ending

Status update: “Memory” for Auto-Finish and Auto-Speedup should be released (to both beta and the main site/app) early next week, or even this weekend. Negative/fractional BPM support, as well as some UI enhancements, will be released to the beta site the same day. Auto-Modulate will follow… still have to work out the UI for that.

It wouldn’t work for that, unfortunately… Auto-Speedup (or “Auto-Slowdown”) only changes the speed when the song loops back around to the beginning. Ritardando (a slowing-down ending) is something that will have to come later.

I vote yes for auto finish rep count. Currently I have to copy song parts as many times as I want the song to be played and then create an ending. I would also suggest some kind of a signal on the last rep, like beep at the beginning of the last song part. Currently I put a diamond in first bar of final song part just to remind myself I’m going into the last pass.
Also, big vote yes for auto modulate!!!

I didn’t see anything here about a prospective click track to go along with the rhythm instruments. I find strum machine 10 times more useful for improvising than a metronome, because of hearing the chords…but if you’re working on your note spacing, a metronome is much much more accurate. Why not have both? A while back I suggested this, and having the click track in one channel so if you’re recording you can only record channel without the click. We really appreciate you making all these improvements Luke.

I may be misunderstanding you, but it sounds like you simply want the song to repeat X number of times and then end, is that correct? Because you can already do that in Strum Machine by setting the number of times to play the song:

Of course, if you wanted a special ending you’d have to edit the song, but you can use the section’s three-dots menu to make that last section an “outro” so that it’s only played when the song is about to end.

A “last time through” signal is on my to-do list as well, as is the metronome/click track idea. Totally on-board with both, just a matter of time.

Update: Main site now remembers Auto-Finish and Auto-Speedup settings even when disabled. Beta site has support for negative and half BPMs, and an improved UI.

Auto-Modulate is coming together!

Here’s what I’m planning for the options:

Cycle through”:

  • all 12 keys
  • the natural keys (C, D, E, F, G, A, B)
  • the natural keys plus Bb (i.e., “the bluegrass keys”)
  • a custom sequence (where you could type in any set of chords, such as “C G A E”, and it will cycle through them in that order)

by modulating”: (this setting disappears when “custom sequence” is chosen)

  • up a key
  • down a key
  • to the relative fifth
  • to the relative fourth

after”: every n reps (just like Auto-Speedup)

If you have any feedback on this, or if anything seems unclear, please let me know!

Very nice modulation ideas…looking forward to playing with that!

Beta version of Auto-Modulate is ready for testing! Just open beta.strummachine.com and open the key menu of any song.

The only thing missing is the “custom sequence” option, which turned out to be a bigger challenge to implement than anticipated. Only one person ever suggested it so unless there’s more demand than I’m aware of (let me know!) I might just save that for another day and work on other, more oft-requested features instead.

Luke, Auto-Modulate works great! Exactly what I was looking for. I used it for a song with an intro and outro and both sections work as they should (plays the intro once and then the outro section updates to final modulated key for the ending. Perfect! My only (tiny) quibble is that I would like to see the song automatically revert to the original key after playback completes.

Well done (again)!

Oh yeah, I could see that being useful. Folks have inquired about a similar thing for Auto-Speedup, where it returns the speed to the original BPM when the song is stopped. I’m down to implement both.

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All looks good. Since there are manual workarounds for nearly everything, I’m not in a big hurry. The improvements will be welcome when ready.

Just updated the beta site to version 338.2 – Auto-Modulate will now accept a list of keys to cycle through, via the “custom sequence” option.

Check it out! I also fixed a couple bugs; let me know if you encounter any others!

New in v339: a setting to have Auto-Speedup reset the BPM after the song ends. Enable it through the Advanced Settings pane (top-left menu):

(I’ll find a better place for this in time.)

Once enabled, the tempo should be restored to the starting tempo when the song is stopped. Let me know if you notice any odd behavior when it’s turned on! (Also let me know if you think of a better name for this setting!)

Update: Just as with Auto-Speedup (previous post), there’s now an option in the Advanced Settings panel to have Auto-Modulate reset itself after you stop the song. Not sure if it should be the default or not, but I’m leaning toward not to avoid surprises.

Oh, I like that! Great addition, thanks Luke!

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