It was hard to write exactly what I'm getting after in the question.

In certain genres like trap (a sub-genre of EDM) people say that the speed of those beats are in the 110 and higher range. Isn't the speed of the beat kinda determined by the placement of the snare? If so, that would make any sort of trap songs in the 55 - 70 range (half of the speed). When I think about genres that are higher than 100 I think about house, soca, etc.

So, like my title asks, how do you determine the beat of a song?

  • 6
    The metronome count is generally defined as the frequency of the crotchets if not otherwise specified, so that would be twice the frequency of a snare backbeat. — IMO it's utter rubbish to categorise a genre by BPM speed though... Commented Feb 7, 2017 at 1:06
  • That's what I thought. I disagree with you though...many genres have a narrow range for BPM: soca, dancehall reggae, trap, future bass, dirty south hip hop....
    – 02fentym
    Commented Feb 7, 2017 at 1:07
  • Haven't a clue about these genres and sub-genres, but in mainstream music (pop type), the snare is often on 2 and 4, thus makes it sound like the tempo is half of what it really is - if you use snare as a criterion - which is erroneous.
    – Tim
    Commented Feb 7, 2017 at 8:09

1 Answer 1


I thought I'd write this out as a full answer as others may be interested in the theory behind this.

Take a look at the drum beat below: enter image description here The Time Signature is 4/4. This means that there are 4 beats in each bar and that each beat is one crotchet (quarter note).

The snare (which is written in the gap between the 2nd and 3rd lines) is played twice in each bar on beats 2 and 4.

Therefore it follows that in this case the tempo in crotchets per minute would be twice as fast as the snare.

However I must stress that, while this is true for most rock and pop music, there are situations where this can differ. For example:

enter image description here

This would sound identical to the first example if played at half the tempo.

I hope this helped clarify tempos vs snares vs beats.

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