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12 or 16 Bars Which is Best for you ?

How Many Bars Should I Write 12 or 16 ?

The term Droppin 16 was a common phrase at one time. It was a reference of how many bars a rap artist was about to spit .

In fact not only did they drop 16 on the verses , many times they would do it 3 times ( 3 verses ) . This was normal practice back in the days. I remember sessions that dropped artists of the track because they didn’t have a full 16 . 16 Bars 3 verses was LAW!!!

Now fast Forward to present time And Tme and there is a new norm and that is 12 bars and only two verses. So what happened? How did we loose so many bars per song? Heres what I means let’s take 16*3= 48 Bars Yesterday Compared ton12 * 2= 24 Bars Today standard. So that’s 48 - 24=16 less bars Per song .

HERES HOW IT HAPPENED AND WHY: So now the new norm is the magical number 12 . The reason for the change is simple . The TEMPO changed drastically. The beats of the past were more uptempo (faster) . The faster the tempo the less time the bars take up . So with a faster tempo beat, 3 16s don’t take as long to spit and can still average out to be a 3 min song. Music at one time was more upbeat especially hip hop. But as time has changed so did the vibe. Some of the songs that you hear may sound high energy (they ARE HIGH ENERGY) and mistaken for a fast tempo but in fact are not . The slow speed of todays beats give room for advance high hat patterns . So the hi hats and other percussions are hitting at double and triple beats , this is what create the illusion of a faster beat.

As above so BE SLOW . On the flip side, the slower the beat , the longer it will take to spit bars . With up tempo beats being fast as 100 bpm , today is a complete opposite With a majority of the beats being around 70 -80 Bpm .

Again these amount of bars on that tempo will still result in a 3 min song give or take a few seconds depending on arrangement.


SO When should you drop 16 ?? 16 Bar tracks are rare today . But the sign to look for is a beat above 95 bpm . Typically the hook will be 8 bars but depending on the song that can even be cut in half to 4 bars . The idea is to avoid a long drawn out song . We live in a Tik Tok Youtube short world now .

When should you drop 12 ? beats below 90 bpm should automatically be considered. Not only 12 bars but unlike the faster beats we will only need 2 verses . 3 verses are too many ( opinion) . That 3 rd verse on a slow beat could leave you with a 4 min song if not careful, I see it happen all of the time in the studio .

Hard headed artists are going to do what ever they want without considering the points discussed of this topic . Don’t make that mistake with them . Let them be and take the advantage of the benefits of creating music that’s NOT long and drawn out.



Attention Artists : Sound is EVERYTHING it may also even be your very first impression . Make sure your Music is Properly Mixed and Mastered .

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