How to differentiate a 100 & 200 tempo song?

• Jun 16, 2019 - 05:49

I'm sometimes confused, not sure whether if I should use 100 tempo or 200 tempo. It may also change the time signature as well, right? How exactly do we differ them?


If I can give you an example : The french national Hymne "La Marseillaise" is a "MARCH" imagine a group walking with a "good" speed in playing music . It's in 2/4 or in 4/4, the tempo is 120 quater note by minute. Not 60 not 240. 120 is for a march, so if you have a slow music you choose rather 60, and a speed music rather 120, and for a very quick song, you choose about 200. It is not fine to draw the rythm of a slow song , with your hand at 120, and the rythm of a speed one at 60

Short answer: Be familiar with the rhythms of the genre, and tap your toes to it. If possible, read some scores from that genre. Your Nico puri example is ~200bpm in 4/4.

Way too long answer (terrible for a forum conversation, I know... sorry!):
You're completely right in noticing that you can write down the same music in different ways. You can e.g. double the tempo & halve all the note values, and if you hit play in Mscore the sound coming out of your computer will be exactly the same (at least if the metronome is turned off).
Your choice only becomes relevant when you want human performers to read & play it. Rhythms are generally interpreted, felt, and therefore played differently, depending on which count of the meter they fall on.
Also, often one choice of tempo & time signature is also by far the easiest to read & count, and most common/idiomatic for the style. This means the players can quickly notice patterns they are familiar with, and mentally compress all this information about the pitch & value of dozens of notes - sometimes even into "play the obvious thing for next 2 measures".
So the right answer is generally "whatever is more common in this sheet music of this genre". However, in some cases, there are legitimate disagreements and it comes down to opinion. This is more likely the further a style of music is from European classical, as it might not have a long tradition of being written down in our Western common practice notation system - or it isn't/wasn't commonly written down at all.

All that being said, your Nico puri example is definitely 200bpm. You can tell from the drums: The drummer plays variations of the standard rock beat, where the snare backbeat belongs on beats 2 and 4. Those are emphasized in basically all of Black music (blues, jazz, soul...), but due to its massive influence, also most of pop, rock, anglophone folk...
If it was 100bpm, most snare hits would land off-beat, on the ands between - those are not emphasized, at least in this genre (~pop-rock). (Might be different in e.g. reggae or latin? Far from being an expert there.)
(Side note 1: There is the skank beat in "rawer" punk/hardcore, which is mostly the same as the aforementioned basic rock beat, but played at double speed, so the snare lands on the off-beats, and you'd instinctively tap your toes along to the kick on 1,2,3,4. But you don't find them at 100 bpm.)
(Side note 2: Don't be surprised if you find stylistic elements in fairly mainstream Japanese music that would be considered rather "extreme" or unusual in Western common practice ("classical") & pop, as they seem to be very open to borrowing from "niche" genres: fast tempos from punk rock, virtuoso guitars & drumming from metal, complex extended chords from jazz, weird noisy synthesizers from EDM...)

In reply to by snieb

I should also mention double-time and half-time feel, which complicate this, as they are more subtle, and often change within a song. There are even 4 measures of half-time (with the snare on the 3) near the end of Nico puri (2:15-2:20) (at least from what I could make out through all the NICO NICO NIIII.... :P) . Since it's only 4 bars, it doesn't add any ambiguity here; but for other songs, it can be close to a 50%-50% split.
Harry Miree's YT video 5 Tips for Drumming Like Travis Barker includes a great ~1min demonstration using Blink-182 songs. (He uses the terms slightly differently from how I would; but if there is one true proper way to define them, I don't know it.)
Adam Neely's What is the fastest music humanly possible? has a 5min section on pulse perception & subdivision (1:01-6:23), which might give you more context to ponder, and also includes examples of fast tempos from very varied styles.
I personally prefer on erring on the side of faster BPM and longer note values. IDK, I just feel icky when I have to write 32nd notes? ^^ It also often means I can stick to the more common 8th-note-swing feel rather than having to use 16th-swing (at least outside of funk or hip hop). Plus, it goes nicely with my habit of abusing cut time (𝄵 or 2/2) to indicate half-time feel - which might be technically incorrect, but super useful for my styles of music, so there. :3

A related issue occurs when you can choose between writing triplets in 4/4 (and indicate the tempo as 𝅘𝅥=x), vs. writing 8th notes in a ternary time signature like 6/8 or 12/8 (𝅘𝅥.=x).
(Side note 3: However, very different from the choice between 3/4 and 6/8 - both fit the same number of 8th notes, but there are very strong conventions which counts get emphasized for each of those time signatures.)
If you feel like your still not far enough down the rabbit hole, look up metric modulation for another related concept. ;)

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