Tempo & Stems


Every song has a tempo. This is the speed or pace that the song is played at. A tempo is measured in Beats Per Minute (bpm). This means that if a song is played at 60 bpm, there will be 1 beat every second. An average tempo is around 120 bpm. Song tempos can range from 30 bpm up to 250 bpm.

All the notes on the note value page are played to a set tempo. You might think that playing a sixteenth note or a thirty second note would be difficult to play!

Remember: it’s not the note value that makes it difficult to play, it’s how fast the tempo is.


If a note is placed below the middle line the stem of that note must go up. If a note is written above the middle line the stem will be going down. If the note is placed on the middle line the choice is then yours, but usually it will follow the direction of the stem before it or what ever it is linked to.


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