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Basic Tempo Markings



Every communication has a tongue, some go with words and other with notes and symbols. In either case, it is not just understood but also acknowledged on many levels. Likewise, we have “tempo” for musical language. If we want to learn music then we have to know the basic tempo markings.

What are basic tempo markings?

Tempo is an Italian word which means time. It is a piece which comes after a particular gap in time. Classical music tempo is considered as instructions that can be measured in beats. These beats are recorded at every minute. Leading to know the basic tempo of the markings.

On the other hand, in modern music symphonies, there is a marking called “metronome mark”. This reduces, replaces, adds, or equalizes supplements.

What is the tempo?

It is something that separates meter and articulation or other elements that come as a form of combination to formulate tempo. The combinations along with other factors eventually form “texture”. However, it is all about the player how he or she builds tempo. Changeable and modified upheavals of notes bring music into its actual condition. A song or a piece of music is played either with drastic accelerando or tempo rubato.

Details about tempo build-ups

Before going into details and then the crux of basic tempo markings, let’s know a bit about how music is amplified in the louder or centric as in softer note.

If you add “-issimo” towards the end of the note then it makes a louder sound and the amplificated is a bit pitchy. However, on the other hand, if you simply add “-etto” or “-ino” in the end then the music of that word is softer with reduced pitchy sound. In addition to it, it is good to revise that “metronome marks” are there to determine a proximity.

Notes on metronome markings

These markings are developed as a guide and nothing more than that – they are not fit for every situation, therefore players have to check their fixing and setting before finalizing any piece. Tempos are interpreted on different levels and preferences.

Following are some of the main slow and fast notes.

Slow tempo markings

  • Grave – deliberate, slow, and serious: between 20 and 40 BPM
  • Adagietto – relatively and moderately slower: between 65 and 69 BPM
  • Lento – gently and slowly: between 40 and 45 BPM
  • Larghetto – somewhat approximately: between 50 and 55 BPM
  • Larghissimo – extremely slow: 19 and below 19 BPM
  • Largo – roughly: between 45 and 50 BPM
  • Moderato – abstemiously: between 86 and 97 BPM
  • Andante – with a slow pace (somewhat at the pace at which humans walk): between 73 and 77 BPM
  • Marcia moderato – soberly, as if you are marching in a parade: between 83 and 85 BPM
  • Andante moderato – a fragment lengthier than andante: between 69 and 72 BPM
  • Andantino – vaguely speedier than andante: between 78 and 83 BPM
  • Adagio – measured and majestic (also known as “at the ease”): between 55 and 65 BPM

Fast tempo markings

  • Presto – something extremely fast: between 168 and 177 BPM
  • Allegro – fast, rapidly and cheerful: between 109 and 132 BPM
  • Allegretto – abstemiously and moderately fast: between 98 and 109 BPM
  • Prestissimo – very fast or extremely fast: between 178 BPM and beyond
  • Vivacissimo – very, very fast with lively notes too: between 140 and 150 BPM
  • Accelerando – slowly fast-tracking
  • Allegrissimo – exceptionally fast: between 150 and 167 BPM
  • Vivace – fast and wild: between 132 and 140 BPM

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