I have a question that involves NPS(notes per second). Is 300bpm considered 15nps? I only ask this as of came upon a list of fastest pickers/guitar players. Shawn lane was on top along with many other guitarist, where he topped 18nps. Anything higher than 15nps would  in what for bpm?
Beats per minute and notes per second can be confusing to convert because they are not measuring the same number of things per time - beats only equals notes when the notes are the duration that takes the beat, but BPM for playing speed is "standardized" on eighth notes.

BPM is measuring beats from the time signature but always assumes the notes being played are eighth notes. This forces the conversion to NPS into eighth notes per second.

So for 4/4 time, the quarter note takes the beat. If the BPM is 300 BPM then there are 300 QUARTER NOTE beats in one minute.

300 quarter beats per minute divided by 60 seconds gives you the number of quarter beats in one second... 5
To get the number of eighth notes per second, multiply by two... 10 NPS

300 BPM = 5 BPS = 10 NPS

450 BPM =  7.5 BPS = 15 NPS

540 BPM =  9 BPS = 18 NPS
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I find it most helpful to think about speed in terms of playing 16th notes at such and such a tempo.
So 16ths at 150 bpm = 10 nps
at 225 bpm = 15 nps
at 300 bpm = 20 nps

The actual world record is something like 16th notes at 360 bpm = 24 nps.
Beats per minute I think comes from the Jazz world; at least they talk about it all the time.

In Jazz, one of the most common solo styles is called "straight eighths" where they play long streams of eighth notes, so that is the "standard" they use for mapping notes to beats per minute. It is not very useful because Jazz actually uses triplets profusely, but the math to convert either quarter note triplets or eight note triplets to notes per second from beats per minute is just enough of a burden that usually skip it.

...and as NSpen1 [tm] mentioned, a lot of people prefer to conceptually think of playing faster notes over a slower pace.
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BPM is measuring beats from the time signature but always assumes the notes being played are eighth notes. This forces the conversion to NPS into eighth notes per second.

So for 4/4 time, the quarter note takes the beat. If the BPM is 300 BPM then there are 300 QUARTER NOTE beats in one minute.

...

I think you meant to write

BPM is measuring beats from the time signature but always assumes the notes being played are QUARTER notes (which isn't quite true, because of compound time, which these days may get played with triplets per beat or not)
jerrykramskoy

No, the standard is eighth notes... in BPM the playing speed assumption is playing eighth notes.

I don't know the reason, but I suspect it is because with the additional note choice deliberation and the focus on clean articulation going on, Jazz players' top speeds average about 10 notes per second, which many non-jazz players would consider medium or slow. Jazz players kind of need to know their limits, and the eighth notes at BPM gives them a practical gauge for song BPMs called on stage... they know their personal "BPM ceiling" because of the eighth note assumption in the definition.
Quote by reverb66
I'm pretty sure the Bible requires that you play through a tube amp in Texas.
I have never heard of that before. I also would (and do) assume that if someone is trying to measure raw speed in terms of bpm that they're talking quarter notes.

Jazz players might practice all 8ths because they're swinging. What I have heard of is jazzers setting the click to 2 and 4 to practice playing with a backbeat.

Also 10nps = 8ths @ 300bpm, which is ridiculously fast, for 8th notes. Even with 16ths it's 150bpm, which is only slow you're trying shred some metal.
PlusPaul The way rhythm is taught here (UK) distinguishes between note value (as per time signature) and metric beat (tactus).  The "beat" in BPM is always the tactus, (what we tap our foot to).

The table below allows for modern rhythm to use signatures like 9/8 without forcing a triplet feel.
The tactus is determined as follows:

Dotted feel?    A/B                        Metric beat
------------------------------------------------------------
y                   a is multiple of 3
(not 3 itself)
b = 4                         dotted 1/2 note
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
y                   as above.
b = 8 or 16                 dotted 1/4 note
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
n                   b = 2                          1/2 note
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
n                   b = 4, 8, 16                 1/4 note

So, 6/4 dotted at 100 bpm would result in 300 quarter notes (100 dotted halfs) per minute.
Whereas 6/4, not dotted, would result in 100 quarter notes a minute.

6/8 dotted at 100 bpm would result in  300 1/8th notes (100 dotted 1/4 notes) per minute.
Whereas 6/8,not dotted, would result in 200  1/8th notes (100 1/4 notes) per minute.

I've never heard of the 1/8th note being the metric beat.

The main reason I know the above is that I contracted Paul Elliott, one of the top UK drummers and personal friend, to advise me as I was designing a rhythm, generator as part of the overall emuso software.  Paul has also been teaching at many of the main music schools in the UK for a long time, and gigged with the likes of Frank Gambale.

Check him out: The guitarist is Shaun Baxter, my guitar teacher for many years.

Last edited by jerrykramskoy at Aug 3, 2017,
BPM is just tempo which is used in all music not just jazz. It is usually but not always in reference to quarter notes. However it can give you an idea of how fast something is going to be. It is true that jazz players do tend to play a lot of eighth note runs. So any time BPM is refered and you know you're talking about eighth notes, you can do a little math to know if it's even something you can play

Straight eighths and sixteenth notes can be easily converted by multiplying by 1/30 and 2/30. This is because BPM in quarter notes, divided by 60 is the beats per second. So for eighth notes you double it then double it again for sixteenth.

So 120 bpm is 2 QPS, 4 EPS, or 8SPS
150/30=5 EPS, 180 is 6 EPS

For triplet eighths and sixteenths the math is way easier. 150=15SPS 250=25SPS

And hopefully you'll realize that 100BPM sixteenth note triplets is the same speed as 300BPM eighth notes. It's the same amount of notes just parted differently.

When people are just talking BPM it could be any speed but you'll have an idea based on the song/genre. Metal is full of 16th notes so if you want to play metal at 300BPM you will know you need to play very fast.

When people are talking notes per second it could be any tempo. It could be 100BPM triplet sixteenths or 150BPM sixteenths or 300BPM eighths and all those would be 10NPS

Also this is indeed 4th grade math
Quote by PlusPaul
jerrykramskoy

No, the standard is eighth notes... in BPM the playing speed assumption is playing eighth notes.

Please do say if I'm misunderstanding what you're saying, but are you implying the if we have a song in 4/4, 120bpm would mean that you should play 120 eighth notes in minute, not 120 quarter notes? Because honestly, you're the first person I've ever met or even seen claiming that. As far as I know, when talking about BPM without context, it's safe to assume that it means the same as "quarter notes per minute". If I missed your point or something do clarify.
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Please do say if I'm misunderstanding what you're saying, but are you implying the if we have a song in 4/4, 120bpm would mean that you should play 120 eighth notes in minute, not 120 quarter notes? Because honestly, you're the first person I've ever met or even seen claiming that. As far as I know, when talking about BPM without context, it's safe to assume that it means the same as "quarter notes per minute". If I missed your point or something do clarify.

I think he meant that when people are talking about notes per second at certain bpm, the basic assumption would be that you are playing 8th notes. So 120 bpm would be the same as 4 notes per second.
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