How can people tell things like the time signature, key, and BPM of a song just by listening to it?

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How can people tell things like the time signature, key, and BPM of a song just by listening to it?

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>How can people tell things like the time signature, key, and BPM of a song just by listening to it?

By the same mechanism that allows you to tell that someone is *speaking English* or *reciting a poem* or *chiding another person*.
At some point you **learned** the patterns and vocabulary that allow you to interpret language, meter or social cues.
Music isn’t any different.

Because they’ve had formal music training where you learn how to do that stuff.

BPM is (relatively) easy to figure out if you can identify the beat and have a stopwatch, because it’s just counting. Time signature isn’t too hard either because songs generally emphasize the first beat of the measure (plus 99% of pop songs are in 4/4 anyways.) Key is a bit trickier but some people have an ear for it.

The key takes a lot more experience and expertise, I can’t do that.

But time signature and tempo just comes down to counting. Complex time signatures are much harder to count out, but the vast majority of songs are either in 4/4, or 3/4.

So 1,2,3,4,1,2,3,4 or 1,2,3,1,2,3.

Most people with a little practice should be able to do that.

Anyone who has any sort of musical learning (piano lessons, beginning band, choir) should be able to identify most common time signatures and peats per minute as it is taught fairly early on.

The key is a lot more challenging for most people outside of it being major/minor. I had 20 plus years of piano/band/orchestra and I couldn’t tell you the key of a song without looking at the sheet music.