128 Beats per Minute
What’s the secret of this? Why is it perfect? Why can I determine exactly the tempo 128 of a track? I do have some problems with 125 or 133 for example, but I’m able to determine if the tempo of a song is 128 BPM or not.
What’s the number 128 and why is it a special number?
128 is the 7th power of 2, therefore the binary representation is 10000000. This looks pretty beautiful, right?
You can also write 128 as 2^(8-1). It’s the same number with the same numbers. It’s a Friedman number. Like 347 = 7^3 + 4.
128 is divisible by 1,2,4,8,16,32,64 and 128. So it’s perfect for 4/4 music. And most House / Electronic music is on a 4/4 scale and thats the reason why a lot of tunes are 128 bpm.
So, 128 bpm is the perfect tempo.
It’s a quote by Richie Hawtin. He’s talking the truth.
128 is also a refactorable number. The number of divisors is 8 and 128 is divisible by 8.
Here some other interesting facts about the number 128:
The first original Apple Macintosh personal computer was the Macintosh 128k. And Apple is always magic, you know that;-)
It’s also the atomic number of unbioctium, an element that isn’t discovered yet. How long will this take? The name is pretty simple Un(=100)Bi(=20)Octium(=8). Easy:-)
Back to the music:
In ‘General Midi’, the number of musical instruments is 128. General Midi is a standardised specification for music synthesizers.
And Shakespeare saw the magic of 128 as well. He wrote this Sonnet in 1601. This is magic. No, it’s music.
How oft when thou, my music, music play’st
Upon that blessèd wood whose motion sounds
With thy sweet fingers when thou gently sway’st
The wiry concord that mine ear confounds,
Do I envy those jacks that nimble leap,
To kiss the tender inward of thy hand
Whilst my poor lips, which should that harvest reap,
At the wood’s boldness by thee blushing stand!
To be so tickled, they would change their state
And situation with those dancing chips
O’er whom thy fingers walk with gentle gait,
Making dead wood more blessed than living lips.
Since saucy jacks so happy are in this,
Give them thy fingers, me thy lips to kiss.
Music is magic and 128 is a magic number. Therefore
128 bpm is the perfect tempo, especially in Electronic Dance Music!
P.S. Sorry if you're allergic to maths. I love it so now and then:-)
DJ / Producer