Difference Between Rhythm and Tempo

Rhythm vs Tempo

Tempo and rhythm are terms that are used in relation with music. Rhythm is a word that is used in not just music but in every aspect of life. You can find a rhythm in rain dropping down, a basketball being dribbled by a player, a car moving in a racing track or even in foot taping with a piece of music. Tempo is another term that confuses many as they feel the two terms are synonymous. However, rhythm is not tempo as will be clear after reading this article.


Rhythm is a feature of music that is created with the help of sounds and silence, to make a pattern. Thus, rhythm in music is a pattern that is made of sounds and silence. The structure of the beats in a musical composition decides the rhythm of the music.


Tempo of music pertains to its speed. You can discern it by listening as tempo can be slow, medium, or fast. The tempo of a musical composition decides whether you are listening to a sad song or a song that is fit to be listened inside discos. Tempo of music is measured in terms of beats per minute. 4/4 or 120 BPM tells you that you are listening to the standard tempo.

What is the difference between Rhythm and Tempo?

• Sounds and silences are used to create rhythm in music. It is the structure of beats.

• Tempo is the speed of music and tells you how fast or slow the music is.

• The number of beats in a minute decides the tempo of music and 120 BPM is considered a standard.

• It is possible to have two compositions with similar rhythms to have different tempos.

• Rhythm is a pattern created by sounds and silence and you can feel the rhythm in falling raindrops, horse moving on a track, dribbling of basketball, and so on.