Jump to main content

Is It a Country Ballad? Listen to the Beat!

348 reviews


Areas of Science
Time Required
Average (6-10 days)
Material Availability
Free software can be downloaded to help measure the beats per minute in songs. See the Bibliography for more details.
Very Low (under $20)
No issues
*Note: For this science project you will need to develop your own experimental procedure. Use the information in the summary tab as a starting place. If you would like to discuss your ideas or need help troubleshooting, use the Ask An Expert forum. Our Experts won't do the work for you, but they will make suggestions and offer guidance if you come to them with specific questions.

If you want a Project Idea with full instructions, please pick one without an asterisk (*) at the end of the title.


Have you ever noticed that hip-hop songs have a fast tempo, while country ballads are usually slow? Do you think there is a correlation between the number of beats per minute (bpm) in a song and the type of music? You can explore whether different genres of music have different bpm ranges by measuring the bpm in several different songs from a number of different genres. Bpm can be measured using free music software, like the one listed below in the Bibliography, or by counting all the beats you hear in 15 seconds of a song and then multiplying that number by 4 (to get 60 seconds worth of beats). Either way, make sure to calculate the bpm for a large number of songs all from different artists (at least 12) for each music type so that you are accurately representing the range of tempos in the genre. The library is a great place to find music from different genres, or check with friends and family, if you don't have a large collection of your own. How easy do you think it is to place a song in a genre by bpm alone? Which genres have the fastest tempos? Which have the slowest? Hint: You're likely to see smaller ranges, and thus have more easily interpreted data, if you use more narrowly defined and specific music styles, like bluegrass or zydeco, rather than country music; and bossa nova or samba, rather than Latin music. For more information on music styles, consult the second reference in the Bibliography.


This website offers free computer software that can help you measure the beats per minute (bpm) in a song:

  • AnalogX. (2001). TapTempo. Retrieved October 13, 2008.

A list of different music styles is available at this website:

icon scientific method

Ask an Expert

Do you have specific questions about your science project? Our team of volunteer scientists can help. Our Experts won't do the work for you, but they will make suggestions, offer guidance, and help you troubleshoot.


If you like this project, you might enjoy exploring these related careers:

Career Profile
Any time you hear music at a concert, a live speech, the police sirens in a TV show, or the six o'clock news you're hearing the work of a sound engineering technician. Sound engineering technicians operate machines and equipment to record, synchronize, mix, or reproduce music, voices, or sound effects in recording studios, sporting arenas, theater productions, or movie and video productions. Read more
Career Profile
Anthropologists who are employed by colleges and universities usually spend much of their time in offices, classrooms, and libraries. Their working hours are flexible but often total more than 40 hours a week. Most anthropologists also do some field work. This work may take them to study sites as diverse as the Arctic to study the Inuit or Eskimos, to Africa to dig at an archaeological site or observe monkeys in their natural habitat, or into a modern city to record the behavior and attitudes… Read more

News Feed on This Topic

, ,

Cite This Page

General citation information is provided here. Be sure to check the formatting, including capitalization, for the method you are using and update your citation, as needed.

MLA Style

Science Buddies Staff. "Is It a Country Ballad? Listen to the Beat!" Science Buddies, 23 June 2020, https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project-ideas/Music_p017/music/country-ballad-beats. Accessed 19 Apr. 2024.

APA Style

Science Buddies Staff. (2020, June 23). Is It a Country Ballad? Listen to the Beat! Retrieved from https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project-ideas/Music_p017/music/country-ballad-beats

Last edit date: 2020-06-23
Free science fair projects.