Patrick Estabrook edited this page Jan 30, 2018 · 6 revisions

All methods which take time as an argument accept a String or Number. Time encoded as a Number is assumed to be seconds and returned. Time encoded as a String can take various forms in order to synchronize it to the Tone.Transport.



A number will be evaluated as the time (in seconds).

  • 1.2 = 1.2 seconds
  • "3" = 3 seconds


Describes time in BPM and time signature relative values.

  • "4n" = quarter note
  • "8t" = eighth note triplet
  • "2m" = two measures
  • "8n." = dotted-eighth note

Transport Time

Tempo and time signature relative time in the form BARS:QUARTERS:SIXTEENTHS.

  • "32:0:0" = start of the 32nd measure.
  • "4:3:2" = 4 bars + 3 quarter notes + 2 sixteenth notes.
  • "1:2" = 1 bar + 2 quarter notes (sixteenth notes can be omitted)


Seconds can also be described in Hz.

  • "1hz" = 1 second
  • "5hz" = 0.2 seconds


A time relative to the Transport's PPQ (Pulse Per Quarter). The number before the 'i' needs to be an integer.

  • "1i" = 1 tick
  • "192i" = 1 quarter note at 192 PPQ


Prefix any of the above with "+" and it will be interpreted as "the current time plus whatever expression follows"

  • "+1m" = 1 measure from now
  • "+0.5" = half a second from now

No Argument

Methods which accept time, no argument (undefined) will be interpreted as "now" (i.e. the audioContext.currentTime).

For example, Tone.MonoSynth's triggerAttack method will accept a time as the second argument, or if a value is ommitted, the it will default to "now".

synth.triggerRelease("+4n"); //a quarter-note from now


Using the @ symbol, a Time can be quantized relative to the the Transport's grid.

  • "@1m" = If the Transport is started, this will return the time of the next measure