Tempo

Commonly Used Words

Sheet Music macro
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This Italian word at the beginning of a music piece indicates how slow or fast the piece should be played. This is called the tempo (from the Latin word tempus meaning time) which is effective throughout the duration of the music unless the composer indicates otherwise. Here are the most common tempo marks used in music:

Words Used to Signify Tempo
WordDefinition
accelerandoplay faster
adagioplay slowly
allargandoslow down and grow louder
allegrettomoderately fast, merrily
allegroplay fast and lively
andanteplay moderately slow
andantinomoving moderately
a tempoplay at the original speed
conmodoleisurely
con motowith movement
gravevery, very slow
largoplay very slow
larghettofairly slow
l'istesso tempoplay at the same speed
moderatoplay at a moderate speed
non tropponot too fast
poco a pocogradually
prestoplay fast and lively
pretissimoextremely fast
ritardandoplay gradually slower
ritenutoplay slower
sostenutosustained
vivacelively