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Basic tempo markings

By adding an –issimo ending the word is amplified/made louder.

By adding an –ino or –etto the word is diminished/made softer.

The metronome marks are broad approximations.

Note: Metronome markings are a guide only and depending on the time signature and the piece itself, these figures may not be appropriate in every circumstance. 

Also, in longer pieces such as symphony movements the tempo marking used by the composer for the movement does not have to be adhered to strictly throughout the movement. 

Individual interpreters may vary the tempo at their discretion.

Larghissimo - very, very slow (20 BPM and below)

Grave - slow and solemn (20-40 BPM)

Lento - slowly (40-60 BPM)

Largo - broadly (40-50 BPM)

Larghetto - rather broadly (40-50 BPM)

Adagio - slow and stately (literally, "at ease") (51-60 BPM)

Adagietto - rather slow (61-80 BPM)

Andante moderate - a bit slower than andante

Andante - at a walking pace (61-80 BPM)

Andantino - slightly faster than andante (although in some cases it can be taken to mean slightly slower than andante)

Marcia moderato - moderately, in the manner of a march™

Moderato - moderately (81-90 BPM)

Allegretto - moderately quick (91-104 BPM)

Allegro - fast, quickly and bright (105-132 BPM)

Vivace - lively and fast (-132 BPM) (quicker than allegro)

Vivacissimo - very fast and lively 

Allegrissimo - very fast 

Presto - very fast (168-177 BPM)

Prestissimo - extremely fast (178-208 BPM)


page last modified 14th January 2015