8.4 Tempo


Category: Elementary music theory | Tags: Tempo

The speed (tempo) in which music is played is indicated with (often Italian) words. At the begining of a piece, above the first measure, is usually an indication for the tempo in which the piece is meant to be played, for example, allegro or moderato. Then you’ll know how fast you have to count and how long a quarter note lasts. Also, within the piece of music are terms indicating the speed/tempo changes, like ritardando. Learn these words from memory. Do you not know one of the words? Look it up and learn it from memory.



appassionato with passion.
funebre funeral; indicating a stately and plodding tempo.
l'istesso tempo at the same speed.
mesto sad.
rubato with some freedom of time (lit. robbed).
scherzando playful, joking.
semplice simple, plain.
sostenuto sustained.
tempo guisto in strict time.