Distinguishing Rhythm & Tempo

Rhythm vs Tempo

In relation to music, tempo and rhythm are often terms that can cause confusion. Rhythm is a term that is relevant not only to music but to various aspects of life, such as the rhythm of raindrops, a basketball being dribbled, a car racing on a track, or even tapping your foot to music. Tempo is another term that can be confusing, as many people think the two terms are synonymous. However, rhythm is not tempo, as will be explained in this article.


Rhythm is an aspect of music created through the use of sounds and silence that form a pattern. In music, rhythm is the pattern made up of sounds and silence. The structure of beats in a musical composition determines the rhythm of the music.


The tempo of music refers to its speed, which can be discerned by listening; tempo can be slow, medium, or fast. The tempo of a musical composition determines the mood of a song, such as whether it is a sad song or a song suitable for discos. Music tempo is measured in terms of beats per minute (BPM). A 4/4 or 120 BPM indicates that you are listening to a standard tempo.

Key Takeaways

  • Rhythm is created in music using sounds and silences and refers to the structure of beats.
  • Tempo is the speed of music, determining how fast or slow the music is.
  • Tempo is measured by the number of beats per minute, with 120 BPM considered standard.
Dmitri Ivanov
Dmitri Ivanovhttps://whats-different.com
Dmitri Ivanov, a writer and managing editor, was educated in Canada and holds a BS in Science. Dmitri loves doing research, writing, and teaching various courses.


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