Odd Bpm tempo numbers feel, well, odd...

DamnSingerAlsoDrums

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Maybe I unknowingly am on some kind of autistic spectrum, OCD or something but when I'm recording a new song, anything that I don't have a prior point of reference to, and the producer, musicians and I have to determine the right tempo/feel, it always ends up on an even Bpm number.

For instance, if 110 bpm feels somewhat slow, I will bump the tempo up in 2 bpm increments. Because chances are that 111 or 113 will never feel quite right.

Often in pre-prod/arrangement phase, if we play without a click and the song feels off, if we go to playback and tap for tempo, it is almost certain the tempo of what we just played was an odd number.

I really wonder why it is that even tempo numbers always feel better to me than odd ones.

Is that making any sense to anyone? Do I need pills? :drunken::blackeye:
 

piccupstix

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I've often thought about this too. I seem to always set my metronome to an even number whenever practicing rudiments or whatever on the pad or kit. It seems, for me anyway, like an unwritten law. I do set it to an odd number every so often when I feel like covering all bases, you know, like if the band I'm in hits an odd number I'll be able and ready to hang with it (haha). Crazy? I'm glad you brought this up because I sure wasn't going to. :icon_e_confused:
 

franke

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I'd argue that what might seem to be a heightened sensitivity to small tempo changes and/or a discomfort with some "odd" tempos is because you're a singer: your instrument relies on breath and elocution, that together form what is called phrasing: the ability to creatively sing the melodic line through the use of pitch, dynamics, and rhythm, the last of which may choose to place some notes "on the beat", others "between the beat(s)", or perhaps beyond the bar line, all of which require sufficient time to draw the required breath along with some quick "math" while doing it - something that may come easier and feel more natural when the BPM can be evenly subdivided two or more levels down, and why 110 BPM, which can only be subdivided by one level down, might feel "too slow", or why 113 BPM might feel "too fast", but 112 BPM feels "just right".
 

old_K_ride

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any of you read Peter Erskine's book,"No Beethoven"? he recalls a story during his time with Steely Dan playing "Hey Nineteen".The tempo on that is 118.Without going into detail one nite he kicked it off
@ 119...and without going into further detail,Fagen noticed...great story to read...
 

Markkuliini

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any of you read Peter Erskine's book,"No Beethoven"? he recalls a story during his time with Steely Dan playing "Hey Nineteen".The tempo on that is 118.Without going into detail one nite he kicked it off
@ 119...and without going into further detail,Fagen noticed...great story to read...
I have similar story of playing with an artist, whose one particular song was supposed to be played with a click at 90 BPM. One night I felt the energy of the audience being extra rowdy, and I decided to set the click to 91 BMP. I was sure she wouldn't notice it.
I was wrong. Immediately after the gig she asked if it had been faster than usual that night. Holy moly! You have to respect that.
 

ThomasL

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I'd argue that what might seem to be a heightened sensitivity to small tempo changes and/or a discomfort with some "odd" tempos is because you're a singer: your instrument relies on breath and elocution, that together form what is called phrasing: the ability to creatively sing the melodic line through the use of pitch, dynamics, and rhythm, the last of which may choose to place some notes "on the beat", others "between the beat(s)", or perhaps beyond the bar line, all of which require sufficient time to draw the required breath along with some quick "math" while doing it - something that may come easier and feel more natural when the BPM can be evenly subdivided two or more levels down, and why 110 BPM, which can only be subdivided by one level down, might feel "too slow", or why 113 BPM might feel "too fast", but 112 BPM feels "just right".
If you subdivide 110 bpm, you get a 220 bpm pulse, not 55 bpm.
 

piccupstix

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any of you read Peter Erskine's book,"No Beethoven"? he recalls a story during his time with Steely Dan playing "Hey Nineteen".The tempo on that is 118.Without going into detail one nite he kicked it off
@ 119...and without going into further detail,Fagen noticed...great story to read...
Kenny Aronoff has a similar story about John Fogerty.
 

troutstudio

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I often change tempos in minute increments during pre production of my songs. Even one bpm is different but to me it’s about the groove. I like odd tempos but I’m not stuck on them.
 

Rich K.

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Seconds and minutes are man's creation... estimated subdivisions of time found in nature...artificial...same with distance measurements.
"Feeling" the difference between odd and even bpm wouldn't make any sense. It's not the same as noticing an increase or decrease in speed. I'm sure there are folks that have trained themselves to know bpm to an exact number, but that would have to be learned.
It's the same as guys saying they have trouble tuning "odd sized" toms. Makes no sense...
 

Peterk256

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FWIW - out of 111 songs in my band's repertoire, 53 of them (48%) have official BPMs that are odd numbers. Sounds like it's a crap shoot if the original BPM is odd or even.

Yeah, I keep a spreadsheet with this stuff.

 
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DamnSingerAlsoDrums

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Seconds and minutes are man's creation... estimated subdivisions of time found in nature...artificial...same with distance measurements.
"Feeling" the difference between odd and even bpm wouldn't make any sense. It's not the same as noticing an increase or decrease in speed. I'm sure there are folks that have trained themselves to know bpm to an exact number, but that would have to be learned.
It's the same as guys saying they have trouble tuning "odd sized" toms. Makes no sense...
I know that seconds and minutes are man's creation. Yet, we measure sound frequencies in cycles per seconds (hertz). And certain frequencies "feel" pleasing to the ear and some others not so much. Maybe it is possible that subdivisions of time are kinda similar. Maybe I've just read too many weird physics articles and/or new agey pseudo science stuff and try to rationalize some intrinsicaly subjective thing.

It's probably just some kind of pavlovian thing: I've noticed on a few sessions even tempos that felt good and after a while maybe I've convinced myself that even was "better". I don't know, it's interesting though that a few people here felt sorta the same way. Even if it is complete hogwash, it's still fun stuff to ponder about, for me anyway... ;-)
 

DamnSingerAlsoDrums

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I'd argue that what might seem to be a heightened sensitivity to small tempo changes and/or a discomfort with some "odd" tempos is because you're a singer: your instrument relies on breath and elocution, that together form what is called phrasing: the ability to creatively sing the melodic line through the use of pitch, dynamics, and rhythm, the last of which may choose to place some notes "on the beat", others "between the beat(s)", or perhaps beyond the bar line, all of which require sufficient time to draw the required breath along with some quick "math" while doing it - something that may come easier and feel more natural when the BPM can be evenly subdivided two or more levels down, and why 110 BPM, which can only be subdivided by one level down, might feel "too slow", or why 113 BPM might feel "too fast", but 112 BPM feels "just right".
Despite "Singers can't keep time" jokes, you are right on the "heightened sensitivity because of singing". Unless you are Ella or Al Jareau or something and have extraordinary vocal agility, your interpretation can unravel pretty fast with small changes in tempo. It may still be musical and interesting faster or slower but you probably will have to alter it in a way that fits the new tempo. Yeah sometimes the half second you have between to sentences to refill your lungs can be not enough if you subtract another few 10ths of a second. Or you may come a bit short if you have a long uninterrupted phrase to sing right after a shorter breath... And people WILL notice if you get winded. ;-)
 

ThomFloor

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Just because the metronome or click is set to 111 does not mean you are playing 111 bpm. I find it hard to believe any can play 111 without a plus/minus of 1 or even 0.5 on that, for longer than a minute. And even if its 0.5 off, this means that actually playing 110.5 bpm 'feels good'....which returns us to the insightful post #11.
 


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