Fractions in BPM

Paul Blood

Junior Member
I noticed lately on a church gig I do, which uses a click and tracks , that some tracks are marked with bpm which contains decimals. For example. 77.5. I never had a metronome that could do half a point increments. I wonder if that’s common in more professional settings like film scoring where a bpm can be critical ? Can you really feel a difference with a half point increment on the bpm anyways?
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
It's certainly possible to feel just 1bpm at moderate tempos, so a slower tempo like 77 or 78 can be noticeably affected by .5bpm.

At faster tempos, a half beat isn't really noticeable by ordinary humans. We have a song with Al that was specifically recorded at 129.5bpm, and he insists he can feel the difference: 129 is too relaxed, 130 is too bright. Right....
 

Chris Whitten

Silver Member
I can't feel a difference between 1 bpm I don't think.
But yes, it's all about syncing. An audio sequencer (DAW) can do any number of divisions of a bpm, down to hundredths I think. If something has to happen in the music exactly in time to a moment on screen, it is very common to have the bpm with a decimal point, like 77.5 or 77.6.
If you are mapping a click to a free performance (not played to a click), you will end up with lots of sub divisions (like 77.58bpm), changing every bar.
If I have loaded a song from an album on to my computer and want to put a click to it, I will often have to find a click 'in the cracks' that locks most of the time, 110.58bpm for example.
In the pre-digital days songs were recorded to tape, then songs were mastered to tape. Tape isn't bpm accurate, also sometimes they sped the tape up or slowed it down if it made the stereo master work better.
 

JimmyM

Platinum Member
It's certainly possible to feel just 1bpm at moderate tempos, so a slower tempo like 77 or 78 can be noticeably affected by .5bpm.

At faster tempos, a half beat isn't really noticeable by ordinary humans. We have a song with Al that was specifically recorded at 129.5bpm, and he insists he can feel the difference: 129 is too relaxed, 130 is too bright. Right....
Was that scene in the movie? It should be ;)

Do I support that level of nitpickery? Absolutely not! But it doesn’t hurt anything. Unless you don’t have a click that supports half beats.
 
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