How do you find out the tempo of a song?

Ive been using a metronome to discover the tempo but I have trouble with one thing.

How do you know whether a song is 80BPM or 160BPM?

If I play those tempos side by side along with the song im trying to transcribe they both sound like they fit. So how do I know which one to write down?

Any help is appreciated!
Last edited by dannydawiz at Nov 8, 2011,
It doesn't matter whether you say the song is in 80BPM or 160BPM, as long you name the correct beat. If it's 160 for a quarter note, than you could write 80 for a halve note.
However, they normally set the BPM in a 4/4 bar for each quarter, but that's only for the majority of songs. It's all about how you wanna write your score, it could be easier to read if you put it in a 80BPM instead of 160.
Think it like this: how do you headbang to your music x) you headbang/tap your foot/jump at 80BPM or 160BPM in that song? That is most likely the tempo they want to give you.
80 or 160
70 or 140
100 or 200, doesn't really have a difference, well, there are more beats, but if you play 2x slower on the 160 one it will still fit in the 80 one because it's the half. There's no real difference.

What you can do is listen to the drum, if it is at 160bpm then the song is at 160bpm (obviously), by just having a guitar playing without leading percussion in a song there is no real "tempo".
Quote by dannydawiz
Thanks! I was able to solve my problem thanks to you guys. I wish the best for both of you for taking the time to explain to me how to discover the tempo of a piece of music.


Glad I could help
If you want some electronic assistance, frozen ape makes a great app for the iPhone called Tempo. It's a digital metronome plus you can just tap out the beat right on your iPhone and it will figure out the tempo for you.