Thoughts about the "Dubstep 70 Bpm or 140 Bpm" discussion
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  1. #1
    Tech Wizard Warwolt's Avatar
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    Default Thoughts about the "Dubstep 70 Bpm or 140 Bpm" discussion

    Something I come across a lot on the internet, especially DJ related forums or youtube, is the discussion about the BPM of dubstep songs.

    Generally with dance music we tend to count the tempo of the song based upon the kick, and if we listen to the kick placements in a dubstep song then yes we would conclude that the tempo would fall in somewhere around 70 bpm.

    However, would we count the highhats or the wobbles, we could find ourselves counting in at 140bpm.

    Now, which one of these should we use to determine the tempo and why should we even care if its 140 or 70 bpm since it doesn't really make any difference? It's just half or double the time it takes for us to count 1-2-3-4?

    Doesn't really matter, really, but 140 does give us more precision. Think of it this way; the difference between 70bpm and 72bpm equals difference between 140bpm and 144bpm, in the long run quite a huge difference. In the same way, 70.1 is a bigger step than 140.1. 140bpm gives us more precision when doing fine-adjustments to tempo than 70bpm.

    It also decides wheter we count 8 bars or 16 bars, so if I think the song goes in 142bpm and you say its 71bpm and you try to describe to me how you plan to do this really really cool transition between song A and song B, 4 bars after that fat bassdrop in the middle of the song, I would not go and listen 4 bars after but 2 bars after the drop, since my bar is twice as fast as yours (My bar going in 142bpm while yours is in 71bpm)

    One of the main reasons I think people tend to get confused with dubstep, I think, is due to the half-time feel of the drumbeat. Instead of looping a single bar, producers usually let the beat make its way through 2 bars before starting over again, and by that time the highhats and wobbles have looped two times (depending on the song, of course, sometimes the entire song is going to feel half-time and then it practically IS in the 70bpm range).

    In music theory we all know what 4/4 means. We count one bar as 4 quarter notes. One Two Three Four, easy enough! What I described before would put the drums in a 8/4 time signature, as that is a bar that is twice as long as a bar with the 4/4 time signature. We would count 8 quarter notes as a bar in 8/4 which is the same as a 4/4 bar half the tempo. Imagine that the drums are in 8/4, and that the highhats and melodies are in 4/4. One bar of the drums would equal 2 bars of the highhats and melodies. Confusing? Yes, but its also one of the reasons dubstep is so head-nod friendly.

    Something similair occours with certain styles of Drum and Bass, where the tempo would be up at 160-170 bpm. The break would be up there, and the bass too, but sometimes it feels like the atmosphere is actually a lot slower than the rest of the elements, checking in at the 80-85bpm range instead. The breakbeat would loop twice before anything would happen up in the atmospheres and pads, so say that theres some chordprogressoin going on. If you listen to a DnB track you might hear the chords changing every two breakbeat-loops. Remove those breakbeats and suddenly you're left with a pretty slow and mellow song. Just as with dubstep, I think this is one of the things that gives the genre some of its charm, the contrast between the energy and speed of the elements. Its like driving really fast down a road, everything just next to you will be racing by quicker than you can register it, but towards the horizon and above your head clouds and the distand background would just jog along in a slow tempo.

    The same time happens with dubstep, remove those wobbles and atmosphere from the kick and the snare and suddenly it might sound like its half the tempo it was with the whole package running.

    Nothing revolutionary and probably not entirely correct, but theres some food for thought!
    Last edited by Warwolt; 07-15-2011 at 10:32 PM.

  2. #2
    Banhammerized theory28's Avatar
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    i hope you didnt type all that.

    theres a (long) thread about this. maybe we can merge? mods?

    if it makes you feel better; i read all that
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  3. #3
    DJTT Moderator Dude Jester's Avatar
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    oh god ..
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  4. #4
    Tech Guru Alex Wild's Avatar
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    It's 140 bpm, but really who cares?
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  5. #5
    Tech Guru lethal_pizzle's Avatar
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    There is no need for discussion really...

    Dubstep is circa 140bpm, as it has been for the last 10 years...

    D&B is circa 170bpm, 20 years and counting!

    These aren't really the newest kids on the block - only since the era of the 'internet forum' have I even heard anyone suggest differently...it's as simple as letting yourself tap the tempo in time with the feel of the music - you'll magically be tapping along at 140 or 170!

    *all numeric values contained in this post are approximate
    Last edited by lethal_pizzle; 07-16-2011 at 03:08 AM.
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  6. #6
    Tech Guru DigitalDevil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by theory28 View Post
    i hope you didnt type all that.
    +1

  7. #7

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    dance music is conventionally counted in 4/4. so taking that as our assumption, its 70bpm full-time or 140bpm half-time. it's that simply really. as far as things like 'what should i beatgrid my dubstep tracks to?', i do it to 140 cause it makes a 1/32th beatmash effect more awesome than if I beatgrid it to 70bpm. also, the other elements of the track certanly shouldn't 'seem' like a specific bpm. if they do, i think that's your brain tricking you.

  8. #8
    Tech Guru basspenetrator's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AdamPollard55 View Post
    dance music is conventionally counted in 4/4. so taking that as our assumption, its 70bpm full-time or 140bpm half-time. it's that simply really. as far as things like 'what should i beatgrid my dubstep tracks to?', i do it to 140 cause it makes a 1/32th beatmash effect more awesome than if I beatgrid it to 70bpm. also, the other elements of the track certanly shouldn't 'seem' like a specific bpm. if they do, i think that's your brain tricking you.
    and it makes the transition from 130ish electro much easier..
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  9. #9
    amidoinitrite
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    Quote Originally Posted by AdamPollard55 View Post
    dance music is conventionally counted in 4/4. so taking that as our assumption, its 70bpm full-time or 140bpm half-time. it's that simply really. as far as things like 'what should i beatgrid my dubstep tracks to?', i do it to 140 cause it makes a 1/32th beatmash effect more awesome than if I beatgrid it to 70bpm. also, the other elements of the track certanly shouldn't 'seem' like a specific bpm. if they do, i think that's your brain tricking you.
    this.. its 70 bpm.. BEATS PER MINUTE! ..not beats per 2 min..

  10. #10
    Tech Guru lethal_pizzle's Avatar
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    Dubstep

    Drum & Bass

    Although quite a bit of dubstep features some half-time drums, there's almost always some element at full-time. This explains why you are bobbing around to dubstep a lot quicker than you are bobbing around to hip-hop for example - the tempo is quicker. Follow your body.
    Last edited by lethal_pizzle; 07-16-2011 at 09:12 AM.
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