How to Choose a Tempo for Your Music


One of the first things you decide when making your song is the general tempo you would like your song to be in. Of course, you can always tweak it later and make it slightly faster or slower, but most of the time you get a sense of whether you want a song to be fast or slow. If you are newer to songwriting, here are some tips on how to choose what tempo to get started with.

1. Genre Matters

Different genres sometimes have tempos that songs tend to follow. For example, genres like pop, rock, or dance may feature faster tempos. While these genres may have typical tempos, there are songs that stray from that range, although it wouldn’t be by much. Study the tempos of your genre and think about writing within that ballpark.

2. Embrace Emotion

Consider the emotional tone you wish to evoke in your song. If you want to write a sad song, that may lead you to write a slower song. Meanwhile, happier songs tend to have faster tempos. Usually when writing a song after a specific emotion, you may even find yourself being naturally gravitated towards a certain tempo. Follow your gut!

3. Harness the Energy

Just like emotions, the energy level of your song impacts the choice. Higher-energy songs, like those expressing anger or intensity, often call for faster tempos. Songs with a lower energy, like conveying a sense of hopelessness or tranquility, fit a slower vibe. Understanding the energy you want to infuse into your music will guide you to the perfect speed.

4. Harmonize with Your Chords

Your choice of chords can also influence the decision. Some chords naturally flow better at certain tempos. For instance, ballads and slow tempos harmonize well with extended or complex chords, allowing each note to breathe and create emotional depth. Meanwhile, faster tempos can showcase the brilliance of simpler chord progressions, enhancing their rhythmic impact. 

Selecting the right speed for your music is an art in itself. The perfect tempo may not reveal itself immediately, but as you immerse yourself in the creative process, you’ll uncover the rhythm that resonates with your soul. So, embrace the journey, find your rhythm, and let your music transcend through time and space!

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