LET’S GET PHYSICAL How does music tempo affect running speed? By Jade Studley, Erin Giec-Yorston and Carla Peacock Fahan School Year 9 Aim: To test whether the tempo of music affects a runner’s speed. Hypothesis: If the tempo of music is increased then the pace of running will also increase because the runner will speed up to match the timing to the music. Apparatus: • 1 x Trundle Wheel • 2 x Stop Watch • 1 x iPod • 1 x iPod Speakers • 1 x 1km measured course Method: 1. A 1 km course was marked out on an indoor surface suitable for running on. In this case, the school gym was used. 2. Participants ran the designated 1km track without music and the time for each participant to complete the course was measured using a stopwatch, then recorded. 3. After the participants completed the 1km course they were given an adequate rest. 4. At the conclusion of the rest, steps 2 and 3 were repeated two times. 5. The following week, the participants repeated the procedure (steps 1-4) using low tempo music playing on the speakers. Rolling in the deep by Adele was used (85 beats per minute). The participants were timed with a stop watch and their results were recorded. 6. Finally, the procedure was repeated using a fast tempo song; Lonely boy by The Black Keys (167 BPM). All results were recorded. Results Table 1 Recorded running times without music: Running times (s) Subject Trial 1 Trial 2 Trial 3 Average Speed (m/s) 1 269 269 264 267 3.75 2 319 251 248 273 3.66 3 319 324 335 326 3.07 4 280 275 286 280 3.57 Table 2 Recorded running times with Rolling in the deep - Adele: Running times (s) Subject Trial 1 Trial 2 Trial 3 Average Speed (m/s) 1 266 270 271 269 3.72 2 257 261 255 258 3.88 3 303 331 331 322 3.11 289 284 287 3.48 4 Results Table 3 Recorded running times with Lonely boy - The Black Keys: Running times (s) Subject Trial 1 Trial 2 1 269 266 2 258 246 3 307 4 263 Trial 3 Average Speed (m/s) 268 3.73 254 256 3.91 291 316 305 3.28 264 257 261 3.83 Table 4 Calculated running speeds for different tempos of music: Subject’s Average Running Speed (m/s) Music Tempo 1 2 3 4 0 3.75 3.66 3.07 3.57 85 3.72 3.88 3.11 3.48 167 3.73 3.91 3.28 3.83 (BPM) Results 4 Average Speed (m/s) 3.9 3.8 3.7 3.6 Subject 1 3.5 Subject 2 3.4 Subject 3 3.3 3.2 Subject 4 3.1 3 0 50 100 150 200 Music Tempo (BPM) Figure 1 average running speed calculated for different music tempos. DISCUSSION From Table one it can be seen that the first subject’s time decreased when listening to Adele's Rolling in the deep. The runner then made a rather slight improvement when listening to Lonely boy by The Black Keys. The subject was unable to complete the last trial as shown in Table 3. This was due to the gymnasium being used so the experiment was unable to go ahead. Subject 2 improved their average speed greatly when accompanied by Adele’s Rolling in the deep. Subject 2 then improved again slightly whilst listening to The Black Keys’ Lonely boy. The calculated average of the second subject was affected by running alongside subject 3, due to them talking and effectively slowing themselves down in the process. Subject 3 maintained a steady pace, improving slightly whilst listening to Adele’s Rolling in the deep. The subject then improved further whilst accompanied by The Black Keys’ Lonely boy. In this trial, subject 3 made a large improvement of 0.17 metres per second. Subject four was unable to complete a trial during the medium tempo test, as shown in table 2. This was due to the subject having an asthma attack part way through the first trial. The subject was then, however, able to recover and complete the subsequent trials. Subject 4 became slower when listening to Rolling in the deep by Adele. The Subject then improved immensely when listening to Lonely boy by The Black Keys. The results calculated were fairly inconsistent however the results show that there is an increase and decrease in the speed of the runners according to the tempo of the music. Generally, all runners performed best when accompanied by Lonely boy at 167 beats per minute. There where some variables that affected this project such as time constraints.Time was a large variable as the experiment was often postponed due to prior and unavoidable commitments during school. Other variables such as not having sole use of the gymnasium was also affected by a busy school schedule. So that the experiment could be completed, the gymnasium was often shared with classes and training sessions, this created a lot of background noise. This meant that some of the runners were self-conscious when watched by their peers. This in turn affected their results. On one occasion the runners found it difficult to hear the music due to a class, affecting the reliability of the results of the experiment. The participants sometimes had no choice but to eat their lunches before they ran. DISCUSSION CONTINUED This may have made it difficult to run as they had a full stomach, causing stitches and cramps. The speed of the subjects may have been affected by the amount of sleep they had, the activities done before they ran and their general mood for the day. Any injury or illness that they had might also have affected their results. In one instance Subject 4 had to stop during a trial due to an asthma attack. After she recovered she ran the final 2 trials. The participants often complained about sore knee and ankle joints due to the hard gym floor. They also had to turn many corners which also strained their leg joints. This will have slowed their speeds down dramatically. If this experiment was repeated, the following changes would have helped improve the method. A timetable would have been set up. This would ensure that the gym was available to run the experiment without interruptions or classes taking place. The environment the Subjects ran in would have been a more suitable surface to run, to minimise the possibility of any injury. Conclusion In conclusion, the results showed that the tempo of music can affect running speed with 3 out of 4 participants running at their fastest speed when accompanied by Lonely boy with a tempo of 167 beats per minute. The results in this experiment were fairly inconsistent however it supported the hypothesis that speed would increase with tempo. Acknowledgements A big thank you to all the people that helped us and assisted in the making, execution and completion of our project. Miss Tyrrell; for helping us with almost every aspect of our experiment, Mr Moss; for supplying our equipment and Mr Dale and Mr Owens for letting us share the gym with them. Finally, to the four subjects; Emily Renshaw, Arkie Pickering, Daisy Murphy and Ella Thomas.