Jump to content

Tempo..how to decide


Recommended Posts

  • Members

Hey, i usually hide out in the electric guitar forum and tool around here sometimes, maybe someone can help...

usually songs just come to me.and the tempo is set with the words and in my head

 

.. although I Wrote a new song and i think it is really really really good (and fun to play) although I can't decide on a feel/tempo. I use the drums in my Ableton Live software.

After i wrote it i thought that it wasn't a standard rock beat so I started recording it with a slow shuffle thing at about 120 BPM.

the lead is slow, forlorn and has a lot of feeling... (I like to play faster these days,so that we can be danceable at a gig.... usually over 160bpm although in the past i have written a ton of slower country rock stuff that i can save for acoustic gigs.)

 

Then i also recorded it with a basic rock.. about 150. and being a bit up beat makes it move along a bit better although perhaps i loose some of the feel/emotion

..

i like them both and can't decide.I played it with a real drummer and it was someplace in between.. IDK what he did... and will try it out again with a real drummer sometime soon.

Mean while i will keep trying it both ways...

 

so the question is, how much input and creative control to give to someone else in order to make it a "hit"

 

If i ever get input from a "professional"producer or engineer should i go with their suggestion..

What about how the audience reacts? Say you play it out and you get people telling you that they liked one way over another... would that make one change the way the song flows?

 

My partner thinks it is a great song and does not want me to put it on the net until i have it copy written...what do you think of that too?

 

cheers!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

Slow shuffle, 120 bpm? Standard rock 150 bpm?

 

Holy crap... things move fast in your world. Of course, much depends on the time scale of one's song but I usually think of slow as 70-100 bpm, mid-tempo as something like 100-130, and fast as being above that. When I was doing techno and house, my faster numbers got up into the 140s. I know there are speed-metal and other styles that get up above 160 (and trick times that sometimes require scaling to higher bpms)... but those numbers you cite do seem a tad fast to me. But, hey, I'm getting old... :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

Well, it depends!

 

The speed can affect the overall emotional feel, and it could also affect how the singer performs it, and how certain chord progressions or riffs work.

 

There is no "right" answer.

 

Sometimes there's not even a "wrong" answer.

 

We had an alt rock song called "Hindsight" that, after 3 years, we decided would sound better faster, more like punk.

 

Tempo is just a tool, like everything else.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

 

Well, it depends!


The speed can affect the overall emotional feel, and it could also affect how the singer performs it, and how certain chord progressions or riffs work.


There is no "right" answer.


Sometimes there's not even a "wrong" answer.


We had an alt rock song called "Hindsight" that, after 3 years, we decided would sound better faster, more like punk.


Tempo is just a tool, like everything else.

 

 

 

wow 3 years! well one never know then do they!!!

 

thanks

and yeah, we play at warp speed sometimes

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderators

Here's my formula for getting the right tempo. First, without any instrument, I sing the hook and see where I like it. That may or may not be the end of it. Then I sing any other passages that are either busy or elongated. Do they feel rushed or dragging? Will adjusting negatively effect the delivery of the all important hook?

 

Then I might repeat the process instrumentally if that comes in to play. Sometimes the simple act of singing the hook and noting the tempo is all there is to it.

 

Like: I say yeah, yeah, yeah whooo.... how come you taste so good.

 

Or

 

Like a bridge over troubled water

 

My, my, my my my my poker face...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

Lee, those are excellent thoughts.

 

Tempo is THE BIGGEST challenge I have, and to me is the foundation of everything that follows. I HATE time-stretching to my first pass MIDI renderings.

 

There seems to be a sweet spot at 131 on a lot of songs it seems to me. Why is that?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

99.7% of the time I just go by the tempo that the song originated in. Oddly enough, one of the very few times I ever toyed with it is the song I am working on now. It went almost 5 minutes and I didn't think it was good enough to sustain interest that long so I clipped about 10 seconds and shaved off another 45 by speeding it up.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

My answer to your question would be yes--get other people's opinions. Whether it be a producer, or band members, or the audiences you play for...outside input is most often a good thing. The reason is because as writer of the song, you are often too close to the song to hear it objectively. Another person can give you a fresher perspective. Of course in the end, you should have the final say on how the song should turn out, and how much input other people are allowed to give. But getting other people's reactions can often be a good indication of how well the song is going to work. A lot of bands "road test" their songs in front of an audience before they record them, and that often affects the way the song turns out in the studio (usually for the better).

 

Though I admit I can't relate to this scenario much. When I write, I usually have a certain vision in my mind for the song that I chase from the beginning. It's funny, I actually have done what tspit74 described, although I wouldn't call it stealing. I just try to match the tempo to a song that has the feel I'm going for. Often, I'll add a few extra bpms for good measure. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

Context is important. I have a couple of songs that I play at moderate speed (~110 bpm) on solo acoustic, but play them faster (~130) in a group.

 

 

There seems to be a sweet spot at 131 on a lot of songs it seems to me. Why is that?

 

the default on my old Casio drum machine is 132.:)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

yeah the 135 range is pretty good for a lot of tunes. when we play it tonight i'll try to find that happy medium.. between 120 and 150... there are a lot of words and my partner seemed to think they were rushed at too fast a tempo, and then when slow it was like they lyrics were in mud but the song had feel...but i thought that was because we play most of or tunes at over 150...

in trying to think of a set list and the style of the band we want things to be cohesive.. you don't want to play a gig and have too many different types of songs. being all over the map does not give the band a vibe..

extreme example .. the ramones.. when ever i saw them they came out and played fast and furious and every song was a "Ramones" song...they don't switch to a country tune or a jazz tune in the middle of the set.( although i remember that some people back in the late '70's criticized them that they had 'one long song"..

i want this song to meld with the others in the set...it won't be a danceable tune but i don't want it to off from our style...

 

and yeah, i usually know what beat i want and it comes easy for me..

perhaps my struggle is because it IS really good and the hard work about it is because of that. the lyrics came pretty fast, i ditched some lines, checked the dictionary and thesoris.... and the chords/ music was there from the start.. partner helped with changing my intro and outro and lead placement...

 

i have one other song i am struggling with and that is because it probably sucks!!!! perhaps there is nothing there ...it's like 2 sets of lyrics.first i talk about one thing and then it turns to another story.....although they all go with the tune and tempo.... i wonder if they should be separated into 2 different songs...

thanks guys.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

ok , i just listened to all the versions.. 120, 125, 130 and 140 is what i tried...

the 140 is too fast...although fun to play.. the 125 is still too slow....the 130 almost there, just a tad slow... so i think i'll work around with that this weekend...

 

man, i never had such a problem!!!!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...