Tempos are especially important for processional music and dancing.
Marches and processions
The modern march tempo is typically around 120 beats per minute. Many funeral marches conform to the Roman standard of 60 beats per minute. The tempo matches the pace of soldiers walking in step. Both tempos achieve the standard rate of 120 steps per minute.
SOURCE: Wikipedia, "March (music): Characteristics"
John Philip Sousa conducted his marches using around 120 beats per minute. Most European march composers, however, conducted their marches in a slower style, using around 100 beats per minute.
SOURCE: Wikipedia "American march music: Tempo"
The US Army's training circular "Army Ceremonial Music Performance" is explicit in giving bpm for specific occasions.
2-17. ... Army musicians march at a cadence of 112-118 beats per minute.
5-89. If the deceased was entitled to honors, they are played at a tempo of 80-100 beats per minute to preserve the solemn dignity of the ceremony.
5-93. ... The march from the chapel to the grave is played at a tempo of 100 beats per minute. If the distance from the chapel to the grave is extremely great, the drum section gradually increases the tempo to 112-118 beats per minute.
And Wikipedia again, in "Military step: Marching types and commands" specifies that:
- Quick march
- Standard pace: 120 bpm
- British light infantry and rifle regiments: 140 bpm
- Highland regiments: 112 bpm
- Australian Army: 116 bpm
- Canadian Armed Forces: 120 bpm
- United States Army: 120
- Slow march
- Standard pace: 60 bpm
- French Foreign Legion: 88 bpm
- Australian Army: 70 bpm
A short article on marching speeds (marching speeds, as opposed to music speeds) offers some different numbers than above.
Below are the international standard tempos for various dances. All of these come from ballroomdancers.com.
- Slow Waltz: 84-90
- Tango: 128-132
- Viennese Waltz: 174-180
- Foxtrot: 112-120
- Quickstep: 200-208
- Cha Cha: 128
- Samba: 100
- Rumba: 104
- Paso Doble: 120-124
- Jive: 176
- American Waltz: 84-96
- American Tango: 120-128
- American Foxtrot: 120-136
- American Viennese Waltz: 162
- American Cha Cha: 112-120
- American Rumba: 128-144
- East Coast Swing: 136-144
- Bolero: 96-104
- Mambo: 188-204
- Lindy Hop: 130-200
- Salsa: 160-220