Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Bars vs. Beats

When it comes to organizing swing music, one fairly common criteria is the so called BPM. I also use it to a certain degree when actually DJ-ing. BPM is a measurement for the speed of a song and stands for either beats per minute or bars per minute. The difference is simply in the number range. Beats are four times the bars, because there are four beats to a bar in swing music.

While Beats are more exact (when using whole numbers) I don't see much use for that extra precision. I've seen both in use. I personally use bars, mainly because it's less work to get and because I don't need it any more exact.


Getting the BPM

To get BPM, you'll have to either tap them out, count them out, or find a (to me) still unknown program that can handle swing music and determines it for you.

To tap out the music, you'll have to get a software or use online software and depending on wether you want to determine beats, you have to tap once every beat, or every fourth beat to get bars.(Some programs might actually do the beats to bars conversion itself. There are of course more software options to explore if you are interested.

I usually count out music, by counting bars for 15 seconds and then multiply the number by four. While there are more ways, this is the one I prefer.

Fun Fact: Just from talking to fellow DJs, it seems like there are national tendencies. ;) If you are a DJ, state your country in the comments and if you are using beats or bars!