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Rule #2: Length & tempo

The rules are very similar to the ones that apply to for standard up-tempo songs. The average length of a slow song is somewhere between 3’00 and 5’00 minutes, although you may also come up with something much longer as long as it doesn’t get boring. You may again do a longer version plus a radio edit, if you think there may be a chance that radio stations could eventually play it. If your song is really great, then length won’t be a problem either, as demonstrated by Metallica’s Nothing Else Matters (6’28) in the 1990s. A slow song often has a slower tempo than up-tempo songs, although this doesn’t have to be the case, and there are tons of exceptions. In most cases slow songs will be in the range between 70 and 100 BPM, although they can be both slower or even way faster. Here are some examples of famous slow song’s BPMs:

  • Imagine – John Lennon: 76 bpm
  • What’s Going On – Marvin Gaye: 100 bpm
  • Hey Jude, Yesterday & Let It Be – The Beatles: 148, 95 & 72 bpm
  • A Change Is Gonna Come – Sam Cooke: 87 bpm
  • (Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay – Otis Redding: 95 bpm
  • You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ – The Righteous Brothers: 94 bpm
  • One – U2: 92 bpm
  • When A Man Loves A Woman – Percy Seldge: 98 bpm
  • Bridge Over Troubled Water – Simon And Garfunkel: 82 bpm
  • Blueberry Hill – Fats Domino: 135 bpm
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Chapter 5.3   •   Page 3 of 14

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