General Dance Discussion > MPM's vs BPM's

Discussion in 'General Dance Discussion' started by spinner, Nov 3, 2004.

  1. spinner

    spinner New Member

    I do some DJ work and am accustom to listing songs by BPM's (Beats Per Minute). However I notice dance listings rate songs in MPM's (Measures Per Minute). What gives? I understand both methods but am curious as to why there are two different methods of indicating the speed of a song.
  2. bjp22tango

    bjp22tango Active Member

    I am by no means an expert on this so I am guessing, but here goes. Ballroom competitions have strict tempos for each dance that competitors must follow Therefore most music CD's made for ballroom dancers will have the counts in MPM.

    I would suspect this also has something to do with choreographing routines to the music for a given time segment.
    Competitors are given from about 45 seconds up to a minute and a half? to dance their competitive rounds. It gives them an idea of what they can fit into that time frame.

    Also, because different dances have different beats per measure the same beats per minute count can have vastly different meaure per minute counts.

    For example, in International dance competitions the IDSF lists the Foxtrot, Waltz, and Cha Cha at 30 measures per minute. This breaks down to 90 beats per minute for the Waltz, and 120 beats per minute for the Foxtrot and Cha Cha. (The Foxtrot feels slower because in the basic pattern the dancer takes 3 steps per measure vs. 5 steps per measure in the Cha Cha)

    The Paso Doble is listed at 62 measures per minute and the Viennese Waltz at 60 measures per minute. This translates to 124 beats per minute for the Paso Doble and 180 beats per minute for the Viennese Waltz.

    Measures per minute give more information to the ballroom dancer.
  3. jon

    jon Member

    I don't know why, but I do know that it doesn't work to ask a band to play a song in "measures per minute". It is a gratuitous difference, except for those dancers who aren't able to multiply by 3 and 4.
  4. Vince A

    Vince A Active Member

    Amen to that . . .
  5. delamusica

    delamusica Active Member

    As a musician, MPM really makes very little sense to me as I can't offhand tell you whether a given tempo is fast or slow . . . I guess I'm just going to have to resign myself to multiplying. :)

    I think the reason for using MPM in dancing, though, has to do with the fact that the basic steps in most dances use either more or fewer steps than there are beats in a measure. A dancer thinking in terms of units of basic dance timing therefore would have a hard time associating that with a particular number of beats in the music. For example, swing has a six-count basic and four-count music. You don't hear swing dancers counting 1 and 2, 3 and 4, 1, 2, 3 and 4, 1 and 2, 3, 4 - It's just way too confusing.
  6. Jmatthew

    Jmatthew New Member

    It may also have to do with Choreography.

    Little easier to figure time x MPM = steps needed than time x bpm/bpMove = steps.

    Of course this doesn't exactly work for Lindy or West Coast, so maybe that's why Lindy and WCers tend to use BPM rather than MPM.
  7. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Amen to amen to that. :wink: :lol:

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