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Tempo is measured in BPM

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Video - Tempo is measured in beats per minute, like heart rate.

To find out more about what the numbers and the tempo names mean, read on.

What do the numbers mean?

If you are new to metronome markings, then it may help to relate these numbers to heart rates, which are also measured in beats per minute.

The resting heart rate of a healthy adult can easily vary from well below 50 to well above 80, depending. Those who exercise a lot tend to have slower heart rates, also older people tend to have faster heart rates.

See the wikipedia entry about Heart rate

Your heart might reach a tempo of Allegro during brisk excercise such as running or cycling or the like.

You might have a heart rate of Presto after very heavy exercise or weight lifting.

So this is a rough guide because it is all very variable depending on the person, condition, what type of exercise you do and so on. But it gives some idea to get you started, some idea of what the numbers mean.

Another connection is that a tempo of 60 is 60 beats per minute or one a second, so the tempo of a ticking clock. So, a clock tick is at a Larghetto tempo, corresponding to music with a somewhat slower feel to it.

Tempo dial markings

The tempo ranges shown on the dial are typical of modern metronomes. However these are just indications, and it's well to not be too tied down to these numbers unless the composer specifies an exact bpm. The tempo names are more to do with the feel of the music, e.g. Andante is walking pace - but can be very variable in bpm.

To find out more see Dial.

This tempo dial is part of Bounce Metronome Pro

It is easy to set the tempo for the metronome with this handy dial. Also, you can tap at the desired tempo with the BACKSPACE key - this works almost anywhere in Bounce Metronome Pro and is very handy if you want to vary the tempo while practicing on a musical instrument. You can set the tempo to any number in bpm, even to fractional beats per minute e.g. 60.5 or whatever. You can also set the tempo to vary gradually over a number of minutes or seconds.

Get Bounce Metronome Pro

Download your Free Test Drive of Bounce Metronome Pro Now (with free taster metronome yours to keep)! It's easy to use - just choose a preset rhythm and click on the dial to set the tempo - and has many special features to help with your metronome practise.

I also maintain a list of other software and on-line metronomes, which you can find here:

A big list of some of the other metronomes available for Windows - and Online Metronomes

About the author of these pages

I'm Robert Walker, the inventor and programmer for Bounce Metronome Pro. These Many Ways to Use a Metronome pages arise out of the research I did for the program, and feedback from users of the software.

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