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I don't know if it is possible to calculate BPM with timing and length only? For example, I have the timing of each note, that is the first note starts with 0s, second note starts with 2.1, the third note starts with 3.... Then, can I calculate BPM without measures and time signatures? Thanks.

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  • BPM is directly related to timing - and vice versa, but the question needs more clarity, please.
    – Tim
    Commented Aug 30, 2022 at 7:33
  • Then how to calculate? Okay, I will edit it
    – Megan
    Commented Aug 30, 2022 at 8:16
  • @Tim I edited it. Hope it helps
    – Megan
    Commented Aug 30, 2022 at 8:18
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    ... but as you don't have measures or time signatures, are "beats" the moments that you would tap your foot. Commented Aug 30, 2022 at 8:31
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    The real question seems to be "what constitutes a musical beat in my data". And then you would have to explain what your data is. If you want to calculate Things Per Minute, you will have to know what a Thing is, and what a Minute is. I guess you know what minute means, so that leaves finding out what a beat is. Commented Aug 30, 2022 at 9:09

2 Answers 2

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This problem can be solved only by making some additional assumptions. For example, you might find that all the notes line up with a multiple of 0.3 seconds, as in the example given here. But you have no way of knowing if a note lasting 0.3 seconds is a quarter note at 200 quarter notes per minute, an eighth note at 100 quarter notes per minute, or a sixteenth note at 50 quarter notes per minute, among many other possibilities.

Furthermore, it's possible for notes with the same notated value to have different durations because the tempo can change over the course of a piece. It might accelerate or decelerate either permanently or temporarily, or there might be some notes played "out of time" with indeterminate duration. This might explain the odd 7-to-3 ratio of the durations cited in the question.

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  • I've now seen multiple examples of transcribers, including me, notating transcriptions of the same music with different BPM...and corresponding different note lengths. I mentioned an example I was involved in as a comment on the question, but another one I've seen lately is one transcriber notate the bulk of a boss theme as quarter note = 120 bpm and another transcriber notate that same bulk of the same boss theme as quarter note = 240 bpm and double the note lengths accordingly (but keep the same meter).
    – Dekkadeci
    Commented Aug 30, 2022 at 17:49
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It's BEATS per minute, not NOTES per minute. Even if all the notes are the same length, they may not each add up to a full beat. And the grouping of notes into beats can be arbitrary.

So, without much more information, I think your answer is 'No'.

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