Music Made Easy Part IV
(A crash course in Music Reading)
Music Made Easy
(A crash course in Music Reading)
Part V

Tempo

When a conductor beats his hand, it can be in a very slow fashion or it can be very fast. This speed will determine how fast or how slow the song is to be sung by the choir. The Tempo symbol indicates how fast or how slow the song is to be sung.

The tempo symbol consists of two parts. The First part is the Time Base, which is denoted by the Note Symbol  (which can be a Dotted Half Note, Half Note, Dotted Quarter Note, Quarter Note, Dotted Eighth Note or Eighth Note which we learned in Part I of this Tutorial).  The Second part is the speed, which denotes the number of Time Base Units per minute

The Note Symbol as we have learned in Part I of this tutorial denotes the Time Base.
The Speed  indicates the number of  notes of this type also known as Time Base Units (Dotted Half  Note,  Half Note,  Dotted Quarter Note, Quarter Note, Dotted Eighth Note or Eighth Note) that occur  per minute.

Lets see an example below:

In the above example The Time Base is a Half Note (which means two beats).
The Speed is 84.
If we read the Equation it says Half Note equals 84.
This indicates that there will be 84 half Notes per minute or Mathematically:
Tempo = 84 Half Note per minute ; or
Tempo = 84 Half Note / Minute

We expand this further and knowing that:
Half Note = 2 beats
Tempo = 84 Half Note / Minute
Tempo = 84 X ( 2 Beats ) / Minute
Tempo =  168 Beats / Minute

I have explained this idea to you in the most detailed manner.
However, we can just look at it as

84 Half Notes per Minute !!!

Some musical pieces changes the tempo many times in the same musical piece; so you should be aware of this.

There are musical devices that accurately Tick the beats as specified by this Tempo.
One of these devices is the Metronome (which looks like a pendulum clock ); and if you will take piano lessons this is a must.
There are also electronic keyboard players, which include this Metronome function; which continuously tick each beat as you specify in the Tempo.
Some Music Writing/Reading software readily play musical pieces as specified by the Tempo. For me, this is the most accurate way of playing music.

If you have any comment on this subject please Write Me.

Thanks to Monica for her great advice and inspiration.

Rudy Ong
(Webitor)

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