Thursday, April 8, 2010

Perfect tempo

Something occurred to me after practicing with the metronome tonight. People make a big deal out of perfect pitch, where you know which notes are which without being told. Why is perfect tempo not a thing?

It would be pretty useful, if somebody told you that a song was 92 beats per minute, to be able to count that off exactly. Or to hear a song and think, That's 92 beats per minute.

I wonder if it's possible to learn to do that.


Brian McDonald said...

They actually DO generally post BPM for techno/dance music. I think that's mostly so DJs can mix songs together without any jarring changes.

I think perfect tempo is a bit too subjective and variable to be an issue. I mean, what's the perfect tempo for a heavy metal song? Depends on the genre of heavy metal. Thrash tends to be fast, 'doom metal' tends to be slow and ponderous.

One good moment from the otherwise useless "Rockstar: INXS" was when a singer sung "Hit Me Baby One More Time" at a much slower tempo than Britney Spears did, which effectively turned it into a psycho stalker song.


cinderkeys said...

That's how DJs do those seamless transitions? Cool.

By "perfect," I don't mean ideal. Perfect pitch is the ability to identify a note. If someone plays middle C on the piano, and you can tell it's middle C without looking, you have perfect pitch.

So, perfect tempo would be the ability to identify BPM without the aid of a metronome or cheat sheet.