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Thread: Dividing bpm question

  1. #1
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    Dividing bpm question

    I am programming lights for a tour this summer, I was wondering what numbers I can divide bpm by and still stay on beat? I need to know for programming the effects engine on a lighting counsel. I am assuming 2, 4, 8, 16... ?? Idk exactly
    Last edited by Cjsleme; 05-26-2015 at 02:48 PM.

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    I am using the Road Hog 4 lighting counsel / effects engine in case anyone is interested. image.jpgimage.jpg

  3. #3
    Registered User ragasaraswati's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cjsleme View Post
    I am assuming 2, 4, 8, 16... ??
    Seems like a safe bet but don't you have to talk with the artist(s) about that? Seems like a delicate matter if you aim for a close a synergy of light and sound.

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    Thanks for the reply, the bands send me their set list and I program the lights, there is a lot of freedom but the effects rate settings range around 1bpm - 40bpm, anything faster makes the lights just go crazy so I just need a slower bpm that is still on beat most of the time.

  5. #5
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    In that case, safest to divide the bpm of the song by 2 or 4, or even 8; whatever gets it within your acceptable range.
    That's because most songs are likely to be in 4/4 time, 4 beats par bar, with chord changes mostly occurring between bars.
    So a bpm of 120 (average rock tempo) means two beats per second, or 1 bar every two seconds, which means a 30 bpm setting for you is a change on every bar (30 bars of music per minute).
    Songs also tend to fall into duple groups of bars too, so a verse or chorus might be 8 or 16 bars long. Not a hard and fast rule, however, just a common one.

    You may need to ask if any of the songs are in 3/4, in which case you'd need to divide their bpm by 3 if you want to sync with bar changes.
    Last edited by JonR; 05-28-2015 at 11:59 AM.

  6. #6
    Registered User Malcolm's Avatar
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    Post has some age on it, but, what the heck.

    The division of the beat is usually up to the drummer. With 2/4, 4/4, etc. it normally is straight forward, but, with odd signatures you do need to check as the top number can be played many ways. For example:

    6/8 could be 1,2,3,4,5,6 or 1,2,3,4,5,6 or, the list goes on. Any combination of 2's or 3's that add up to the top number could end up being used. Each song (or drummer) dictates what beat get's played.

    I'd suggest a quick run through with the drummer on any "new" listings.

    Take this as a recommendation from a bass player that has never played with synced lighting. Seems like an impossible task with out some close feedback from the rhythm section.
    Last edited by Malcolm; 10-16-2015 at 03:49 PM.

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