Musical Terms



Musical Terms
Musical Terms
Please keep in mind that metronome markings are always approximate and should be
determined by an understanding of the composition and its time period. Largo – broadly (40–60 BPM)
Adagio – slow and stately (literally, "at ease") (60–76 BPM)
Andante moderato – a bit slower than andante (69-72 BPM)
Andante – at a walking pace (76-108 BPM)
Andantino – slightly faster than andante (80-92 BPM)
Moderato – moderately (108-120 BPM)
Allegretto – moderately fast (96–120 BPM)
Allegro – fast, quickly and bright (120–160 BPM)
Vivace – lively and fast (144-176 BPM) (quicker than allegro)
Presto – very quickly (168 –200 BPM)
(German: Langsam – slowly; Lebhaft – lively; Mäßig – moderately; Rasch – quickly;
Schnell – fast; Bewegt – animated, with motion)
-issimo ending the word is amplified/made louder; -ino or -etto diminished/made softer.
Allargando – growing broader; decreasing tempo, usually near the end of a piece
assai – very much, as in allegro assai, quite fast
Calando – going slower (and usually also softer)
con brio – with vigor and spirit
con fuoco – with fire
con moto – with motion
deciso – decidedly, decisively
Giocoso – merrily, funny
Grazioso – gracefully
Leggiero – to play lightly, or with light touch
meno – less
molto – much, very
Morendo – dying
Mosso – movement, more lively, or quicker, much like più mosso, but not as extreme
non troppo – not too much
Pesante – heavily
più – more
quasi – almost, nearly, as if (such as Più allegro quasi presto, "faster, as if presto")
Rallentando – gradual slowing down (abbreviation: rall.)
Ritardando – slowing down gradually; also rallentando, ritenuto (abbrevs: rit., ritard.)
Ritenuto – slightly slower; temporarily holding back.
Rubato – free adjustment of tempo for expressive purposes
Scherzando – playfully
senza – without
Sostenuto – sustained, sometimes with a slackening of tempo
Stringendo – pressing on faster (literally "tightening")
Tranquillamente – adverb of tranquillo, "calmly"
Musical Terms by Laura Grant

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