After watching over a dozen movie dance mashups on YouTube, I decided there must be a perfect tempo for dance music. A quick Google search told me there would be only one way to find the answer. I would have to spend time on the BPM Database researching the greatest dance songs of all time and then average their scores.
I found the answer:
The perfect tempo for a dance song is 117.2 beats per minute.
Based on the over 500 songs with 117 bpm on the database, I have to suspect I wasn’t the first person to stumble upon this conclusion. From Abba to Weezer, musicians have it covered.
But, I have a problem. If you look at the songs on the 117 bpm list, few fall in the dance category. Dance songs average at 117, but they run a wide range from as low as 50 bpm to as high as 400!
Something is right with the math.
Real scientists couldn’t give me an answer (at least not from a simple Google search). The closest I can find is the most feel-good song ever written—Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now (155 bpm). Who am I to argue with science?
Okay. So maybe I can’t use math to prove anything. Maybe we will have to rely on surveys. If you survey “tens of thousands” of people, can you find the Greatest Dance Track of All Time?.
Is it One More Time by Daft Punk? (128 bpm)
It seems like the more I learn, the more questions I have. How has science not proven this yet? I feel like it would be easy to lock people in a room and measure their brain responses to different music until we know which one is proven to be the actual jitterbug.
The Jitterbug is 112 beats per minute. At least when sung by Judy Garland.
Ultimately, I’m left to assume dance—like all music—is a subjective matter.
There is only one answer. The video that set me down this path to begin with: