Is It a Country Ballad? Listen to the Beat! *

Areas of Science Music
Difficulty
Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Free software can be downloaded to help measure the beats per minute in songs. See the Bibliography for more details.
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
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Abstract

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.

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MLA Style

Science Buddies Staff. "Is It a Country Ballad? Listen to the Beat!" Science Buddies, 28 July 2017, https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project-ideas/Music_p017/music/country-ballad-beats. Accessed 8 Dec. 2019.

APA Style

Science Buddies Staff. (2017, July 28). 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: 2017-07-28

Bibliography

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

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

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Experimental Procedure

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.

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