Tutorials
4
min read

Best Tips For Choosing The Right BPM

Published on
July 4, 2024

When producing music, picking a suitable tempo is one of the first things you must consider.

Tempo is a fundamental music element that dictates a song’s vibe, speed, and emotional projection. Since a song's tempo is measured in beats per minute, choosing the right BPM is a crucial step to significantly influence the mood of your music composition.

Whether you’re an experienced music producer or a new composer, this guide is a great starting point if you're struggling to pick a tempo for your song.

We’ll look at what a music BPM is, different ways to identify a song's tempo, and the what to consider when choosing the right BPM.

What is BPM?

BPM stands for Beats Per Minute and is simply the number of beats in a song per minute.

In modern music production, BPM is used to measure the tempo of a song mathematically. It is a specific number, typically between 20 and 200. The higher this number, the faster the pace of the song. This is important to know when choosing the right bpm.

For instance, if a song is notated as having 60 BPM, a beat count occurs per second. A song with a 120 BPM tempo would have two beats per second, making it twice as fast as the 60 BPM tempo.

From the chart below, you can see that each BPM range has its tempo markings and meaning.

choosing the right bpm

Created by Italian composers in the 17th century, these tempo markings guide the speed and feel of how music should be produced.

For instance, a music piece with a “presto” tempo having a BPM range of 168 - 200 should be extremely fast. And “lento” should be played slowly, with 45 - 60 BPM.

Songs with similar BPMs can be grouped and are said to have the same tempo markings.

How do you find the tempo of a song?

You can identify a song's tempo by simply listening to it, counting the number of beats for 15 seconds, and multiplying the count by 4. So, if you counted 15 beats in 15 seconds, that translates to 60 BPM.

A digital metronome, like The Metronome app, can help you speed up this process. Once the song is playing, tap the beat you hear on your phone's screen. The app will analyze the pace of your tapping and display the tempo (in BPM) of the song.

An alternative approach to identifying a song’s tempo (or BPM) is using SongBPM.

songbpm

The website allows you to type in the song’s name and displays its BPM, key, and duration.

In addition, some Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) software also comes with built-in BPM calculators.

If you have the song's audio file in mp3 or WAV format, simply upload it to your audio software to analyze it, count the BPM, and identify the tempo of the song.

Popular DAWs such as Cubase, FL Studio, and Ableton have the tempo analysis feature built into the audio software for music producers.

Choosing The Right BPM

Whether writing a hip-hop song or making EDM music, choosing the right BPM is the best way to dictate a fast, slow, or medium tempo.

If you’re new to music production, here are some tips for picking a tempo to get started with.

What’s the genre?

Before picking the tempo, consider the music genre of your tracks. Different music genres and styles generally adhere to a specific tempo range.

For instance, here are some tempo ranges for some common genres:

  • Hip-hop: 60 - 120 BPM
  • Pop: 100 - 130 BPM
  • R&B: 60 - 80 BPM
  • Trap: 120 - 180 BPM
  • House: 115 - 130 BPM

Some genres may have faster tempos, while others are slower-paced. Remember, these are just general guidelines!

Like all things in music, the rules are not set in stone. It is possible to create a song that strays away a bit from the typical tempo range for its music style. So, if the BPM is slow, you can tweak it to a faster one and vice versa.

For example, when making a trap beat, just because the beat is 110 BPM that doesn't mean it can't still be a trap song.

But still, it’s always a good idea to think about the genre of your desired song before choosing a BPM.

Match energy & emotion

When choosing the right BPM, consider the energy and emotion you want your song to evoke.

Naturally, high-energy songs will need a fast tempo with a high BPM, while tranquil songs with a lower energy level will call for a slower tempo. 

The specific emotion you want to transmit in your song also matters. You must use a slower tempo to write and produce a sad song. If it’s an energetic and upbeat celebration song, the rhythm and pace of the music have to be faster.

how to choose the right bpm

So, before producing music, you should understand the energy and emotion you want to evoke in your music.

Knowing this beforehand will guide you towards the right tempo and BPM. Simply follow your gut!

Blend tempo with your chord progressions

All the major elements of a song are linked and work closely with each other.

Just as the melody and lyrics combine to deliver an impactful song, the choice of chord can also influence your song's tempo. This is because some chord progressions flow naturally only at a specific tempo range.

For example, a song with a sad chord progression like ‘Hello’ by Adele will harmonize well with a lower BPM so each note can deliver better emotional depth.

Since the music is slower, the chord progression could be wilder and more complex, creating a harmonic rhythm.

On the other hand, a fast tempo will have more impact on the rhythm of simple, predictable chord progressions. So, the faster the music is paced, the simpler the chords are, and the less frequently they should change.

Choosing the Right BPM with AI

choosing the right bpm

Embracing modern technology in music production, AI has become a game-changer in crafting the perfect tempo. SOUNDRAW, an advanced AI Music generator, simplifies the process of selecting and adjusting BPM, tailoring it to your creative needs. 

With just a few clicks, SOUNDRAW’s intuitive interface allows you to explore various BPM options, automatically suggesting the best tempos that align with your music genre and style. This dynamic tool gives you the freedom to modify the BPM in real-time, ensuring each track resonates with the intended emotional depth and energy. 

From high-energy dance numbers to mellow, introspective pieces, SOUNDRAW empowers you to fine-tune your music’s pacing effortlessly, enhancing your creative expression.

One BPM Doesn’t Fit All

Choosing the right BPM and tempo greatly influences your music tracks. 

The tempo dictates the song's overall vibe and emotional depth, which is why different music styles have a specific range of tempo. 

When composing music, consider the music genre, emotion/energy you want to evoke, and chosen chord progressions for better harmony.

Also, don’t hesitate to creatively experiment with different BPMs and push boundaries to achieve the desired sound. 

Following these steps, you can consciously determine the perfect tempo for your next song and deepen the rhythmic connection with your listener.

Ready to start making beats with SOUNDRAW?