2 From pulse to tempo
The audio extracts in the previous section demonstrate how composers can make use of different tempos to contribute to the overall mood of a piece of music. Tempo can be defined as the speed or pace of the music, and is determined by the pulse rate: fast music will have a fast pulse, and slow music a slow pulse. Although the tempo of a piece of music may be consistent, composers can change the tempo to add contrast and create interest within a single piece.
Listen to the following extracts and decide whether the tempo, and therefore the pulse, of each extract is fast or slow. Indicate this below using the words ‘fast’ or ‘slow’.
While undertaking this activity remember that tempo indicates the pace of the music. Think about whether the music sounds fast or slow moving; a fast tempo will result in a fast pulse.
The tempo of Audio 5 is fast, and therefore has a fast pulse.
The tempo of Audio 6 is fast, and therefore has a fast pulse.
The tempo of Audio 7 is slow, and therefore has a slow pulse.