Ted submitted a recording for Challenge #7 and it seemed a little short to me.
You played a whole note? That’s not what it sounds like to me.
A whole note is four beats sustained.
To which Ted replied,
This is one of the things that mystifies me. No where is the length, in seconds or any other measure of time, is a “whole” note defined in challenge #7 as far as I can see. If you are playing 50 beats per minute and I’m playing 100 beats per minute won’t my whole note be half as long as yours?
How do you decide how long a whole note should be if you don’t specify the tempo?
Added a tempo to Challenge #7
But at the same time, the question brought up an interesting point.
The tempo isn’t always specified on written music.
Ted is correct about the tempo determining the duration of notes and rests.
In terms of the tempo played,
I imagine a typical tempo to be somewhere around 120 bpm (beats per minute). A slow song might be more like half that.
But 120 bpm would be a fairly standard tempo.
200 bpm would be around the fastest tempo a metronome will go up to. Few songs are played faster than that. And if they were going to be played faster than that, you would more likely write them in “cut time” and think of the notes differently. A half note would become the new beat instead of a quarter note and you would cut the bpm in half as well.
In 4/4 time though:
If there are 120 beats in a minute and sixty seconds in a minute, then there are two beats each second.
Four beats, for a whole note, would last for two seconds.
At a slower tempo, like 60 bpm, a whole note would last for four seconds.
At a tempo of 240 bpm, which is very fast, a whole note would only be one second. To put that in perspective though, the fastest setting on my metronome is 208 bpm.
If we look at your first note, it’s played for 1.5 seconds. That would correspond with a tempo of 160 bpm which is pretty fast.
Listen to what 160 bpm sounds like on your metronome.
The tempos have Italian names given to different ranges.
A slow tempo is called ‘largo’.
There is a brief range after that called ‘larghetto’.
Faster than that is ‘Adagio’
After that comes ‘Andante’
Followed by ‘Allegro’
And ‘presto’ at the highest end of the metronome, ending at around 208 bpm.
For Challenge 7, play the whole note as if the tempo is around 60 bpm, so the note should last for about four seconds.
A bit longer than twice as long as you Ted played it initially.
The question reminds me of something I think I read in Quincy Jone’s autobiography, had been meaning to look at that again.