beats per minute

Learn about beats per minute, and how BPM is used and written in sheet music.

Metronome marks on sheet music, indicating tempo.
A BPM of 112 may be expressed with the terms moderato, allegro, or allegretto. Image © Brandy Kraemer

Definition of BPM:

Beats per minute (abbreviated BPM) is the number of times a beat is repeated in one minute. BPM expresses the tempo of a song, and is indicated in notation above the very first measure:

  1. As metronome marks:
    • ♪=224*
    • M.M.=112 (M.M. stands for “Maelzel's Metronome”)
  2. With tempo terms:
    • Allegro means to play quickly, at about 112-160 BPM.


* The little music note in the metronome mark may be written in different note-lengths depending on which note-length holds the main beat.

An eighth note marked with 224 BPM is the same as a quarter note marked with 112 BPM; learn why:


Continue With Rhythm & Tempo

  How to Read Time Signatures
  Learn About Simple & Compound Meter


Musical Symbols:
Staff & Barlines
The Grand Staff
Key Signatures
Time Signatures

Note Lengths
Dotted Notes
Music Rests
Tempo Commands

Dynamics & Volume
8va & Octave Commands

Repeat Signs
Segno & Coda Signs
Pedal Marks
Piano Chords


Beginner Piano Lessons
 ▪  Notes of the Piano Keys
 ▪  The Point Of Double-Sharps
 ▪  Finding Middle C on the Piano
 ▪  Essential Piano Fingering
 ▪  Comparing Major & Minor Chords

Getting Started on Keyboards
 ▪  Sitting Correctly at the Keys
 ▪  Playing Piano vs. Electric Keyboard
 ▪  How to Buy a Used Piano

Piano Chords
 ▪  Chord Types & Symbols in Sheet Music
 ▪  Root Notes & Chord Inversion
 ▪  Diminished Chords & Dissonance
 ▪  Essential Piano Chord Fingering

Piano Care
 ▪  Everyday Piano Care
 ▪  Safely Whiten Your Piano Keys
 ▪  When to Tune a Piano
 ▪  Piano Room Temps & Humidity Levels

Piano Recitals & Performing
 ▪  What to Eat & Drink Before a Performance
 ▪  Concert Etiquette for the Audience
 ▪  Warming Up for a Piano Performance
 ▪  Overcoming Mistakes On Stage

♫ Musical Quizzes!
 ● Identify the Piano Keys
 ● Key Signature Quiz
 ● Note Length & Rest Quiz (U.S. or U.K. English)
 ● Grand Staff Notes Quiz
 ● Time Signature & Rhythm Quiz

Illustrated Piano Chords:
AbmajAbma7Abma9  |  AbminAbm7Abm9  |  AbdimAb°7  |  AbaugAb+7  |  Absus2Absus4