Tonal Trends Pop Music Theory for Songwriters

Songwriting and Music Theory Vlog youtube-icon twitter-icon facebook guitarate guitar curriculum

Guitarist looking for something to play or teach? Visit our other site:

Get Updates:

Click Here for a List of the latest Songwriting and Music Theory Vlogs

BPMnemonics - Intro

  Hey everybody, welcome to Tonal Trends dot com B P (M)nemonics!

  Silent ‘M’ cause “mnemonics” has a silent ‘M’ I guess—not sure why that is, but I’m glad it does, cause otherwise it’d have to be like B P Memory…helpers or something lame like that.

  So, I was never really all that good at memorizing, or internalizing tempos, and I think that’s mostly because all my best buds are drummers—seriously, 3 out of 4 of the groomsdudes at my wedding were drummers, still are.

  I mean, I get by with a little beats from my friends right?

  Anywayz-a couple weeks ago, after I was collecting some BMP stats for my next spotter stats video, some’ve’em just sort of started… jumping off the page at me, like: the numbers would just start going along with the songs. like the “Call me maybe song”, y’know:

  “Hey I just met you, and this is crazy, but here’s my number, one hundred twenty (120)

  And it was like, hundred-twenty / call me maybe – that could work…

  I mean, the rhyme’s not perfect, but - why don’t I go back and see if I can come up with some stuff for other songs?

  And so after going back over a few songs in the database, it turned out it wasn’t just rhymes that could work. You could also put the numbers with the riffs of songs too if you wanted!

  I know that might seem crazy to rhyme a word with a riff, but it’s all in the rhythm.

  So You know Johnny B Goode right? It’s like: Go Johny go go! "One hundred sevn'dy"

See, since the rhythm of the riff lines up with the number, it makes a pretty good Mnemonic device. Don’t you think?

  Next, I wondered if there’d be any songs with numbers actually in them, that happened to line up with the tempos. That didn’t work as well--The closest one I found was the Beatles “when I’m 64”--That’s really at about 68bpm.

  Here, check it out: "Will you still need me will you still feed me when I’m 64."

  64 isn’t 68—but it’s pretty close anyway! Close enough to be useful to Tonal Trend Spotters that is.

  But yeah - haven’t found a perfect match for this method yet… if you find one you should let me know.

  Oh, FYI—The band the B-52s—they don’t have any songs at 52bpms, so that’s a dead end…it’s probably because people don’t often play music that slow normally.

  But yeah, back to cheating: it’s definitely encouraged: especially when it’s just by a few BPMs, like check it out:

  The Bee-Gee’s disco staple, “Staying alive”, is really in the 103-104 range, but if you cheat just  a little bit you can go like this: "ah, ah, ah, ah, ‘hundred and five, 105," Cool right!

  Also, you can even put numbers in songs that have connotations, or meanings.

like the phrase “86ed” means to get rid of something, right?

  So I went back and searched for songs near 86, and saw that Beck’s song “Loser” is at 86bpm, and then, I just - fit it right in there. Like, check it out: “Soy un perdidor, I’m a loser baby so why don’t you 86 me.”

  And being 86ed is nicer than “so why don’tchya kill me,” so, that’s just an added bonus.

  Last thing I wanna suggest, is you can just be creative and make stuff up, I mean, why not?

  Like I was thinking: 24-7, might be a good connotation one cause that means like "all day," and there’s songs about days.

  But, turns out 247 is like a crazy fast tempo, and I couldn’t really find much at all at this tempo, so I just made something up: ”I play songs 24-7, I play songs 24-7,

in other words 2-36 plus 11, I play songs 247…

  ANYWAYZ, after finding out these things were pretty easy to do, I figured why not turn it into another TonalTrends series like Chordisthenics, and Chop-a-Beats and Meter Mayhem?

  And so here we are: BPMnemonics!

  Alright in each episode we’ll have you memorize a handful of tempos somewhere around 20 bpms apart from each other, then we’ll have a little mini quiz by playing back the tempos and seeing if you can match the clicks to the songs, using the BPMnemonics!

  Wanna try?

  Allright, well then I’ll see you soon for the next Video: BPMnemonics Part 1.

  That’s the end of the intro, thanks for watching music blog!