I am used to writing piano music and want to write some vocal stuff now. However, I have noticed that I write melodies which are too fast to be sung.

Can someone tell me roughly what a "slow" vocal melody would be and a "fast" one? What is an optimal speed range for singing that you would find in a typical, everyday pop song by people like Nicki Minaj, Ke$ha, etc? A crude estimate is fine.

My usual speed for piano pieces is with quarter notes around 160 BPM.

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2 Answers 2


In my opinion there is no optimal speed. It all depends on different aspects.

There could be a optimal speed for a vocalist, depending on his capabilities. Also it depends greatly on the style of the song and the singing style. I wanted to give an example of two styles which need really different "optimal" BPMs, but in fact I realised that in every genre you have different speeds varying greatly.

I think the most important thing is that you try to find a balance, so that the song sounds nice on the instruments and isn't to difficult to sing and that everything matches the style of the song.

EDIT: I wanted to add that in some songs even the BPM of the instrumentals doesn't "match" singing speed.

For example: In irish folk there are sometimes songs which aren't played that fast, maybe 120 to 140 BPM, but the singing is extremely fast. Go to youtube and listen to Fiddlers Green - Lannigans Ball or Little Beggarman.

An other version of that is metal, sometimes you have very fast songs, played at 180 BPM or faster but the singing doesn't have to be that fast and can be stretched.

So, it's all a question of the style of the song and the capabilities of the vocalist.


I have found that the optimal speed (called tempo) range that sounds great lyrically is around 80 - 130 BPM. 160 BPM would mostly be considered to be a running workout song (the conclusion is confirmed by search results when searching "160 BPM songs"). Other than that, if you had a different preference in mind, then keep that tempo! It's up to you really. There aren't any rules here.

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