Is there a Relationship between Tempo and Genre?

2.9 based on 20 ratings

Updated on Dec 14, 2012

Grade Level: 2nd to 6th; Type: Social Science

You will determine if there is a relationship between the number of beats per minute in a song and the genre of music you're listening to.

  • How easy is it to classify a song's genre by beats per minute alone?
  • Which genres have the fastest tempos?
  • Which genres have the slowest tempos?
  • Which genres are closest in beats per minute?

  • Twelve pieces of music (include a variety of genres: hip-hop, country, classical, pop, rock, folk, jazz). The library is a great resource for acquiring many different genres of music.
  • A device to listen to the music (CD player, iPod, mp3, etc.)
  • Paper and pencil to record data
  • Optional: music software

  1. Listen to the first track of music. (Hint: The more specific you are in the genres you choose - bluegrass instead of country or samba instead of simply Latin - the smaller your ranges are likely to be, and your data will be more easily interpreted.)
  2. Determine the beats per minute (bpm): count the number of beats you hear in 15 seconds of the song then multiply that number by four in order to get 60 seconds worth of beats. You can also determine the bpm using special music software that you can download for free at this website.
  3. Record your results.
  4. Repeat this process for each song.
  5. Analyze your results. Which genres have the fastest tempos? Which genres have the slowest tempos? Could you classify a song's genre by its bpm? Could you predict this or was it a surprise?

Terms/Concepts: beats per minute (bpm), tempo, music genres


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