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How do I choose a tempo when making a beat?

The speed of music (tempo) can greatly impact people’s perception of the music or how they feel when listening to it.

Think About

  • How does the speed of the music (the tempo) affect the music?
  • How does the tempo of music affect people?
  • What would your favorite song sound like sped up or slowed down?

Get Started

  1. Use either Groove Pizza or Splice Beat Maker to make a simple beat.

We suggest making up whatever you like, but if you need a starting point you can try this pattern:

Groove Pizza

Splice Sounds Beat Maker  







  1. Now, try listening to your beat at different tempos. Try 60 BPM – 100 BPM

With Groove Pizza you can drag the BPM bar to different tempos:


With Splice Sounds Beatmaker you can type the exact tempo you want, click the small white up & down arrows, or use the drop down tempo menu:



  1. Describe what the beat sounds like in terms of genre.
    1. What genre does it sound like at 60 BPM, at 90 BPM at 120 BPM?
    2. What other sounds would you add to make it sound more like that genre?

How does the tempo impact the way you feel when listening to the beat?

Go Further

  1. Watch the following Lyricology video. As you watch:
  • Take notes on the adjectives he uses to describe the tempos and genres.


  • Andre Gainer is describing tempo and beats per minute (BPM) in relation to a rapper’s flow and preference.
  • There are different considerations when choosing a tempo for rappers such as the rate of delivery of words (flow) and matching the emotion of the track.
  • As a beatmaker you want to think about the feel that you are going for and what tempo you should use
  1. Check out DJ TLM’s perspective on the relationship between BPM and Hip Hop, R&B, and House music:

What do you think about what DJ TLM is saying about BPM and tempo? 

  1. Now, check out Yeuda Ben-Atar explaining the relationship between tempo and House music.
    1. Watch from 0:00 – 2:15
    2. If you are interested, he also discusses choosing sounds from 2:15 to the end of the video

  1. Try to create a house beat
    1. Use the video’s suggestions for tempo
    2. Use the video’s suggestions for sound choice: Kick, Clap or Snare, Closed Hat, and Open Hat
    3. Then choose an additional percussion sound which can impact the type of house genre you’ll be creating

Try using either Groove Pizza or Splice Beat Maker

  1. Adjust the tempo by trying different BPM to hear how the tempo impacts how the beat sounds and what genre it might fit into.

Going Even Further

  1. Observe the following video, which features different genres of electronic music:
  • Pause the video after listening to each example and try to guess the tempo of the song 

  1. Now open the following BeatsPerMinute Tap Tempo tool
    1. On this site, tap your space bar at different tempo – see if you can keep it steady — try different speeds and watch what happens
      1. Try tapping steady at 60 BPM
      2. Try tapping steady at 120 BPM
      3. Try tapping steady at 136 BPM 
    2. Now, listen to the video again
      1. With beatsperminuteonline tap the space bar to find out the tempo of each example
      2. Write down the BPM of each example

Think About

  • Why don’t we measure time throughout the day in BPM?
  • Why don’t we measure BPM in seconds, minutes and hours?
  • Why should we think about BPM when making a beat?
  • How would BPM relate to the way people might dance to music?

Share What You Learned

  1. Make two different versions of a beat with Groove Pizza or Splice BeatMaker 
  • Make one version a slower tempo that you think works well
  • Make another version with a quicker tempo that you think works well
  1. Copy and paste the link to each version of your beat  [Here are reminders on how to share with groove pizza and how to share with Splice BeatMaker]
  2. Give a brief description of which version you like better and why