How to Find a Song's Tempo

Finding BPMs

Finding BPMs

Many people ask how do I find the tempo of a song? Why is this answer so sought-after? Well, the main reason is – remixing. If you have a beat you want to put an acapella on, you’ll want to know the tempo (BPM) of the original song so you can match the beat to it. It’s also useful to know the original tempo of a sample so that you don’t stray too far from it when time stretching. There are many, many methods of finding the BPM of a song. Here are a few methods:

1. With a BPM Counter

Yes it’s true. You don’t need to be a mathematician or expert in music theory to find the tempo of a song these days, you can just download a program. If you search Google for “free BPM counter” you’ll probably find lots of hits, however Mixmeister DJ Mixing Software seems to be the standard. And it’s free! Woo. You can download that here. All you have to do when you install it is load up the original track (not acapella) and it will let you know what’s up.

2. Tapping

What BPM tapping is, is a program that allows you to tap your mouse click to a beat (1,2,3,4) and then it will tell you the tempo of what you tapped (And of course you will be going along with the song, so a=b=c: it’s the tempo of the song.) Programs such as Ableton Live and Fruity Loops have this feature, however if you don’t have a program that has this there are plenty of free ones on the internet. This one’s a very good one as it’s uncluttered and does what it’s supposed to. It may take some practice to get good at it but this is my favourite method.

3. By Hand

This method is easy to do, however a lot of people don’t trust themselves so they don’t do it. What you have to do is count the number of beats in 15 seconds and multiply it by 4. Isn’t always super accurate but if you get good at it, you’ll get where you want to be.

4. BPM Databases

Ah the lazy way out. Yes there are databases that have tempos of various songs. The downside of course is that they don’t have every song, in fact they don’t even have most songs, obviously, since there are so many songs out there. A good database is BPMDatabase.COM.

5. Metronome

Old school. Classic. Tried and true. You can always just buy a metronome and let it play alongside your music.

That’s five ways to find the BPM of a song. If you can’t get it after all of that, then maybe you should just send the song to someone else and get them to find the tempo for you, haha. Those are generally the most popular methods of finding a tempo, not including the automatic tempo-detection of certain mixing programs, which can be hit-or-miss. Hope you enjoyed the article.

Posted by admin   @   30 June 2007 4 comments


Jul 6, 2009
4:17 pm
#1 Jarlath :

That was a great article – BMPs are very important to DJs as well. Sometimes during a gig it’s easier to know your BPMs than try to recall the tempo from memory while another song is playing through your sound system!

Sep 27, 2009
2:39 pm
#2 Jaebone :

Thank you for this post! That free BPM analyzer works great, I needed that more than you can know haha.

Dec 29, 2009
7:48 pm
#3 matt :

alot of djs run their songs at one bpm and they just remember the pitch of each record so they can keep everything flowing at one speed i.e. 134,135,136,137,138 etc that way they always have each song mathced at the same speed so the mixes always sound right as long as they are thrown in at the right time and they are properly worked right on the mixer I.E. use one sound to drown out another ,useing the fader ,using the trim ,the boost , a good mixer is your best friend when it come to mixing .the key to the game is make it sound right the speakers do what the hell you tell them to do always remember your the one controlling the sound that goes through them .in other words become one with equiptment ,the records ,and the sound feel the music as you make it .fuck the serrato cpu bull shit thats like djing for dummies or something

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