# How to Calculate the Beats Per Minute (BPM) of a Song

25-10-2016, 07:40
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To be a DJ, you'll need to be able to seamlessly blend the end of one song into the next, without the transition being awkward or jerky. To do a mashup, you'll need to make sure that only the edges of the song match up—you need the whole thing to work together! A huge part of making this work is to figure out the BPMs (beats per minute) of each song: that way you know if you need to bring the tempo up or down to have them both playing at the same speed.

### Calculating BPM

1. Listen to the song and pay close attention to the beat. The easiest way to do this is to close your eyes, relax, and feel the pulse of the song. Tap your foot or your fingers or nod your head to this pulse.
• If you have trouble with this, try to isolate the drums from the rest of the instruments and the vocal track. If you are new to this, try first with the instrumental version of the song if it's available, as it'll make things easier.
2. Look at a clock with second hands. Alternately, use a stopwatch (most phones have them). When you're sure you've got the rhythm of the song happening, count those beats—your head nods, foot taps, or finger snaps—for 15 seconds.
• Take the number of beats you counted, and multiply by 4 to get the number of beats in a whole minute.
• For example, if you counted 24 beats in 15 seconds, multiply 24 by 4 = 96. The song's tempo is 96BPM. You multiply by four, because 60 seconds divided by 15 seconds = 4.
• To increase accuracy, count beats for longer periods of time and calculate the rate accordingly. Using the same song as in the previous example, if you counted for 30 seconds instead of, you might have counted 50 beats instead of 48, which means the tempo is just a little faster: 50 x 2 = 100. (Multiply by two because 60 seconds divided by 30 seconds = 2.)

## Tips

• If you mix music that has been recorded before the 80s, you will find that the BPMs are not constant during the entire song. They go slightly up and down as the drums are played live in the studio.
• Most hip hop songs' BPMs are in between 88 and 112. Most house songs range in the mid-120 BPM range.
• If you play a musical instrument, you probably already own a metronome. It's very common for metronomes to have a button that calculates BPM by the speed at which you repeatedly tap the button. Tap along with the song, and within the 1-2 BPM that comes with human error, you can have the BPM in seconds.
• There are some machines that can calculate the BPM mechanically and are a lot more exact. Also, there are mixers that come equipped with this device.
• Don't try to mix songs that are more than 5 BPMs apart, and always go from a lower BPM to a higher BPM. Exceptions to the lower-to-higher rule are unless you're starting a new set or you've reached the "peak" of your current set and need to bring the floor (or recording) back down.
• Keep in mind blending is not the only way to mix two songs; you can also cut from one onto the next and that way you don't necessarily have to match the BPMs.
• There are many free apps for smartphones that calculate BPM by tapping on them.
• A great help for starting DJs is to write down the BPMs of the songs on the record sleeves and then sort them by speed from the slowest to the fastest ones. That way, you know in which ones are most likely to mix easily.

## Warnings

• Do not confuse the BPMs with the RPMs. RPM is the speed the record plays. Current vinyl records play at 33 RPM and 45 RPM. Some old records play at 78 RPM.

## Things You'll Need

• A music source. (It can be in any form, such as vinyl or CDs.)
• Headphones or speakers.
• Chronometer (stopwatch, timepiece, timer, wrist watch with second hand)
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