Bars per minute

Bars per minute

Bars per Minute, also known as Measures per Minute (MPM), is another way to measure the speed of music. It is a similar system to measuring the Beats per Minute (BPM) of a song. However, measuring BPM does not take into account the time signature of a particular song. When measuring BPM one usually takes for granted that a song will be in 4/4 time.

In ballroom dancing most songs are measured in Measures per Minute (MPM). This is because not all songs have the same time signature. For example Waltzes are in 3/4 time and Paso Doble's are written in 2/2 time. Therefore, counting BPM does not give one an accurate speed of the song in comparison to other songs with different time signatures. Counting the speed of a song in MPM takes into account the time signatures of a song.

The more MPM a song has the faster the song will tend to be. The less MPM a song has the slower the song will tend to be.

The DVIDA style of ballroom dancing states an ideal speed, in MPM, for each particular dance that is taught under that style.

Ideal MPM for American Style dances according to the DVIDA curriculum:

Tango: 30-32 MPM

Foxtrot: 32-34 MPM

Waltz: 30-32 MPM

East Coast Swing: 34-36 MPM

Samba: 52 MPM

Merengue: 30-32 MPM

West Coast Swing: 28-32 MPM

Rumba: 32-36 MPM

Bolero: 24-26 MPM

Cha Cha: 30 MPM

Mambo: 47-51 MPM

Viennese Waltz: 54 MPM

An easy way to calculate the MPM of a song is to count how many measures pass after 10 seconds and then multiply that number by 6.

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