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BPM TUTORIAL 1.0
This is a tutorial to help in finding the bpm of songs & acapellas. Please add any quality links, tips, or ideas u have about the BPM theory, efficient ways of altering the BPM in audio production apps, or any other helpful info for others. THX!
1 Search the Web: You want to always check to see if anyone else knows it first. Google works great for this. Put the song title in quotes to narrow the search [example: “2pac – hail mary” bpm ]<- put bpm on the outside of the quotes.
I would also recommend saving the links to the databases in the last section (V) - The DJ Rhythms website is the most complete.
2 BPM Analyzer/Application: The next easiest way is to get a copy of the original song (beat + vocals) and drop it into a beat counter program. There are many different types in section III - an easy, free program called Mixmeister can be downloaded HERE.
3 By Ear?: Gaining the ability to hear how words flow with a beat is essential for modern remixers, producers, & DJs. As you listen to music, learn to hear how words are spoken rythmically over the beat. That will help you get the feel for it. Listen to your own music & experiment with slowing & raising the speed of the vocals to get them in the right syncopation with the beat.
Metronomes are for recording, not determining the speed of a track. Thats what beat counters are for.
About The Clock
It is as it stands for "Beats Per Minute". This basically says that if the speed of a song is 60 then there is one beat every second or if the speed is 120 then there are two beats every second - get it . But what is a "beat"? A "beat" is a downbeat, usually the first note in a bar or measure. Think of it like a point in a repetition of something - a bouncing ball hitting the concrete, your windshield wipers hitting their stopping point, touching the ground while doing a set of push-ups. The most basic & common musical structure (in commercial music) is 4/4. The top (first) number is how many beats are in each measure (or bar) of music. The bottom (second) number is which note gets the beat (soak that up b/c you'll need it) Okay, in this 4/4 beat there are 4 quarter notes per measure & the quarter note gets the beat. Its no wonder why this is used so often because you can count along with it easily (1,2,3,4-Repeat). In each measure of a BASIC 4/4 beat there is a kick (DOWN), snare (UP), kick (DOWN), snare (UP) - then the loop repeats. MOST ppl tap their foot to the downbeat kick & then snap or clap to the upbeat snare. Count only the kicks (or downbeats) in a 10 second time period then mulitply by 6 to get a rough BPM esimate.
Please note that 4/4 beat structures will not always be in the form of kick, snare, kick, snare. This would make most beat structures boring so rests (or offsets) of kicks & snares are commonly used. The key signature (4/4) is still the same though & can be recognized very easily with a little practice.
Methods For Finding The BPM
[Provided by LeWelsch]
Tap Mouse or Space Bar:
http://www.synchroarts.com/products/voc ... calign.asp
Direct from Soundcard IN:
Direct from Line IN:
http://www.native-instruments.com/index ... us&flash=7
http://products.prosoniq.com/cgi-bin/re ... l&refno=39
When using the tapping method to find the BPM note that you tap in a steady pace - the speed of the song. Four taps to a measure or bar. Do not try to tap directly to the rythm as if you were drumming - except when in the case of a Kick, Snare, Kick, Snare beat structure used in House, Trance, etc. Most notably [Nine Inch Nails - Closer] uses this pattern.
Beat Matching in Audition / Cool Edit:
http://www.adobeforums.com/cgi-bin/webx ... @.2cccd873
Beat Matching in Sonic Foundry/ Sony Acid 3.0+:
www.ddrmaniax.net/forums/lofiversion/in ... l%22&hl=en
Beat Slice-Matching Link:
Timing Vs Hertz:
Odd Time Signatures:
http://www.threechords.com/hammerhead/t ... ures.shtml
Many new mixers & tbl top cd players come with built-in beat counters.
They are automatic but can also be set by tapping to the beat.
Please post links to any GOOD websites that list BPM counts for songs.
2 B Kontinueddddd.......
I have been waitng for this post. Great work. This is very insightful and has more info than I expected. If I find any sites/theories that are relative to this topic I will post them.
This post should be the first link that pops up when you open this site. This way people want ask this question anymore.
Thanks juno.. one question? If theres an instrumental thats say 120bpm.. then could you just make ur beat 120bpm and put it with the pella of the song?
Or is it that it need to be the same bpm as the pella?
Im confused ovef this as instrumentals arent the same bpm as the acapella of the same song.
Thanks for the info try set me straight on this thanks
theoretically if u made your beat at the same speed as the original song or i n s t r u m e n t a l, the acapella should match up if you cue it or place it in the correct place. But those differences in speed that you're talking about - recording from vinyl, ripping from cds, converting to different formats, & rendering from an audio production app can all cause minor changes in the speed of the track. These minor changes in speed also cause minor changes in pitch.
Dont worry too much about that tho unless those changes are really noticeable.
Give this a try Brady - get the acapella, the full version of that song (inst. + pella), & your beat then load them into what ever sequencer your using. Mix your beat with the full version of the song - match the beats up by getting the tracks positioned right then slow or speed one just a little at a time until their synced up (watch the wave patterns to help you - its much easier to mix with visual as well as the audio). When they're matched up (the beats flow w/ each other) then you'll know where the vocals should go (what words are said where). Then even if there was a difference in the speed of the vocal u can make minor changes to get the words from the acapella in the same places as the words from the matched up song.
As I talked about in the tut - u have to gain that ability to listen to the things you're mixing together & know when something needs to be sped up or slowed down. I could explain so much clearer if I knew how to record my computer screen to a video
Thanks a lot man... I can understand that quite well you write well thanks.. I am having probs with beat matching so this is good advice. Yes you can get screen recorders. Check google, you dont have to but if you could would be great, upload a lil vid and could help many ppl too. But this is fine thanks man.
very interesting stuff, althou im not sure bout how accurate are BPM counters when it comes to anything except 4/4, because even in music thoery anything other than that can be expressed in different forms. but for 4/4 they work most of the time, the times it doesnt work, it can be figured by tapping the beat
we create music, for who? i do it for myself...
its possible to adjust alot of these more advanced programs to count in other time signatures.
but thats a very good point Zatoichi - u got me thinking so i added a couple of links (tho they're not that complete) about odd beat structures. but really as u said, the average DJ rarely comes in contact with anything except 4/4 beats.
Awesome post Juno! Love your work, so don't think I'm disagreeing here.. just thought this was worth a mention...
By far the best and most accurate way, providing you have the skill to do it, is beatmatching matching by ear. And as much as I don't like using cliche's, practice makes perfect! You can be told how, and you can be shown how, but you'll only get it right by practicing it yourself. Once you can do it properly by ear, you'll never go back, and all these plugins and counters will become obsolete to you!
- Donny J.
What do you do if you wanna mix two songs with diff bpm..
Could you open fruity with a beat then set it at the first pella, save it then do the other and merge in a wave editor or is there a good measure between the two bpms that would do?
That's not being harsh Brady.
Everyone will be asked for a password as the image in mellow's signature points to this SoundClick site.
Okay, picky was the word..
Its cool tho madness just it could get annoying after a while..
Oh and just back to my question juno..
What do I do if I wanna mix two songs with different bpms.. could I go halfway between both bpms, e.g if
song 1 = 85bpm and song 2= 90bpm
could I just go around 87.5bpm or somehting I should I export both mixes seperate and merge in Soundforge
I think you're starting to understand it. u could also mix two songs: song1=85bpm, song2=180bpm
by changing song1's tempo to 87.5 & song2's to 175.
i dont usually bother with using something like SoundForge, Recycle, or Wavelab for time-stretching. it doesnt matter tho - u can if u want.
Ive never tried one of those bpm counters I wonder how well it actually works...
What I usually do is listen to the background in the acapella and listen for the background music. Usually if you listen real close you can hear the snrs in the background. Then I just try to match up the snares to the grid in the sequencing program (usaully logic) and adjust the tempo
well its hard for me to help without either bpm.
but if the beat is @ 92
and the acapella is at 80.. ur screwed..
u'll lose madd quality and the voices will not sound as the original.. ur best bet.. is to possibily find an acapella that suits what ur looking for..
i know that sounded complicated hahaha
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