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Tuning into Heart Rate Through Song

Tuning into Heart Rate Through Song

By: Rosie Hays, MA, MT-BC

Lately, I’ve been thinking about all of the qualities of music: instrumentation, lyrics, feel, rhythm, dynamics, timbre, etc., and how these properties are connected to us emotionally, mentally, spiritually and physically. How can we think about the properties of music and be more mindful about the choices we make in how and what we are listening in our day-to-day activities?  

When it comes to how music relates to our physiology, I have often wondered specifically about the music of our hearts and how this can be intertwined with the beats per minute (BPM) in songs. Pieces of music, generally speaking, can be measured rhythmically in BPM. Our heart rates can be measured the same way. So, next time you either want to use music to pump yourself up during a physical activity or you want to unwind and slow down the amount of work your body is doing, try tuning into your heart rate and see how you feel. It can be a catalyst for more mindful incorporation of music into your physical self-care routines.

Here is one way to begin:

  1. Measure your heart rate in the present moment. Luckily, some people can get this instantly on their smart watch. Personally, I feel more connected to my heart rate when I find it the old fashioned way. To do this, find your pulse in your wrist, chest, or wherever you can. Set the timer for a minute and count until the timer stops. That number is your current BPM.  

Target heart rate zones for various activities, including resting, fall within a wide spectrum depending upon personal factors. The American Heart Association ( offers general guidelines and averages if you want to find some more information.

  1. Find a song. There are websites, such as, in which you can find the BPM of a variety of songs. Find your match and you can hear a song that represents your heart rate in that moment. is another helpful website that allows you to do advanced searches in which you can input a BPM and find a list of songs.

Then, perhaps next time you are making a playlist for exercise, walking, movement, relaxation, etc., think about your target heart rate for different activities and find song matches. Notice if this affects how you are tuning into your body during your exercise or relaxation routines. 

Here are some examples of the BPM of songs*:

Claude Debussy (as performed by Martin Jones on Piano)

– Clair de Lune (66 BPM)

Chance the Rapper-Blessings (72 BPM)

Red Hot Chili Peppers- Under the Bridge (85 BPM)

Selena-Como La Flor (91 BPM)

Solange-Cranes in the Sky (97 BPM)

Bob Marley- Could You Be Loved (103 BPM)

Depeche Mode- Enjoy the Silence (113 BPM)

Assala- Bent Akabar (125 BPM)


Frou Frou- Let go (140 BPM)

Florence and the Machine- Dog Days are Over (150 BPM)

Note: Recordings and performances of the same song can have varying BPMs depending upon artist interpretation. These are directly from recordings cited on and/or, and I have cross-referenced them. I am not endorsing these websites and can not claim 100% accuracy on their measurements of BPM.  

Curious to explore this or further or to discover more about your deep connection to music?

Contact Rosie Hays, MA, MT-BC.


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