Waltz tempos – two for the price of one!

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A waltz is in 3/4 time – isn’t it? You’d be surprised! In the world of music and dancing it’s not always easy to decide. Take “The Impossible Dream (The Quest)” by Andy Williams that was used in Strictly Come Dancing as a Waltz. Listening to it you’ll discover you can count two different tempos in 3/4. One at 60bpm and one at 180bpm.

The reason for this is that it’s time signature is 9/8. For the higher tempo you’re counting on every one of the 9 quavers. For the slower tempo you’re counting every three quavers and so the tempo goes down to a third. So it’s a good tempo for a viennese waltz, but too slow for a waltz  – a waltz has a nominal tempo of 90bpm. For Strictly they sped it up to 88bpm to keep the feeling of a waltz – Letitia Dean and Darren Bennett got a great 35/40 score.

Letitia & Darren waltzing to ‘The Impossible Dream’


In DancePicker we rate the track as it is, and even allowing for a wide tolerance on the tempo, 60 is just too low to make it a waltz. If you disagree with this, and want to waltz at slow tempos, you can find tracks by using the ‘Waltztime’ filter combined with a tempo selector of say 50 to 70. And of course, you can always speed them up too!

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