Hello, dear readers! One of the key elements that can majorly impact the overall feel and energy of a song is its tempo. The tempo sets the pace and rhythm of how listeners connect with your music. Last week, my dedicated musical theater voice student, Finnigan Green, struggled with the one of their songs. Although otherwise a fabulous performance, it affected their breathing and felt a bit rushed ~ until we changed the tempo, and slowed it down a notch.
In this three-part blog series, we will explore 3 different aspects of a song, and how they can affect the way your song resonates. Today's blog will address the issue of tempo.
In the wonderful Netflix Whitney Houston docudrama, "I Wanna Dance With Somebody", there is a scene where Ms. Houston sings "Home" from the Broadway production of "The Wiz" on her very first TV appearance, on the Merv Griffin Show. Because she was an amateur, at the time, she did not know the correct BPM (beats per minute) of the song in order to communicate it to the band. As a result, it started very slow and low energy. Lucky for her, Cissy Houston, her Mom, was there and able to conduct the band and bring up the tempo, the energy, and the interest of the audience!
YouTube Link: https://youtu.be/t5CeQ3twVaI
But, can you imagine the alternative? What if the entire song was tentative and a bit awkward ~ like the beginning? It could have affected Whitney Houston's entire future.
Today, we will focus on what to do if the tempo feels "off" by examining three scenarios: when the tempo is too fast, too slow, or just right.
Conclusion: Tempo plays a vital role in the overall success of a song, dictating its energy, mood, and connection with the audience. By assessing whether the tempo is too fast, too slow, or just right, you can identify areas for improvement and refine your performance accordingly. Stay tuned for Part 2 of this blog series, where we'll explore the significance of the key and its impact on your song's emotional journey. Remember, the magic of music lies in its ability to evolve and transform, so don't be afraid to experiment and find the tempo that brings your song to life.
EXERCISE FOR BEGINNERS:
Choose a song and sing it at slow, medium, and fast tempos. What feels most "right" for you? Now find 3 different karaoke tracks for that same song, and look at the timestamps. Longer versions of a song are usually slower, while shorter tracks are generally faster (assuming the song structure is the same). I usually like to pick a mid-tempo or slower tempo track for ballads, so I have room to riff and so that my words can be more impactful. I always dance out dance songs, before choosing the tempo and bpm. Also, competitive dance songs need to be at regulation tempos so dancers can do and feel their best.
Modern Music Tempos
(BPM = beats per minute)
The Holistic Voice Coach Blog
by Karen. Lyu
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