Under the Hat: Exploring Tempo in Music

Under the Hat: Tempo

The instant we hear music our bodies start responding to the sounds.

Why is it that some music makes us want to dance and other music makes us want to take a nap? Using examples from his songs “Grilled Cheese” and “Sueños,” Mister G illustrates the role tempo plays in creating mood in music. It’s really not that complicated: fast tempos tend to make the listener want to move fast and slow tempos make the listener want to move more slowly.

He explains how songwriters use tempo as a tool to create different emotions in the listener and encourages listeners to notice the way the speed of music affects their emotions.

As a songwriter, Mister G takes into account the subject for his songs before deciding on a tempo. So, with an exciting topic like “Grilled Cheese,” a fast tempo is in order. And with a gentle lullaby  like “Suenos,” a slow tempo makes sense.

Next month in Under the Hat: What role does rhyme play in songwriting? Playing examples from his songs “Pizza for Breakfast” and “Cocodrilo,” Mister G explains how rhymes are the fundamental building blocks of lyric writing for popular songs.


Mister G (Ben Gundersheimer) is an Amherst College graduate who spent 20 years as a singer/songwriter/producer in the adult music world prior to earning a Masters in Elementary Education at Smith College and transitioning to making music for children.  His most recent release, CHOCOLALALA, a collection of original, bilingual (Spanish/English) songs for children, won a Parents’ Choice Gold Award and is on the Grammy ballot for Best Children’s Album of 2012. A leading figure in the kids music world, Mister G’s 2011 bilingual release, BUGS garnered numerous national awards and was dubbed “irresistible” by People magazine. www.mistergsongs.com

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