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Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Larghissimo / Prestissimo

The speed of music

In music at the beginning of the song and when required, are placed a few words to indicate the speed and the trend at which it should have, especially in classical music.
Most of these words are Italian, because many of the most important composers of the 17th century were Italian, and this period was when tempo indications were first used extensively.
All of these markings are based on a few root words. By adding an -issimo ending the word is amplified, by adding an -ino ending the word is diminished, and by adding an -etto ending the word is endeared.
Nowadays we use BPM (Beats Per Minute), a unit typically used as a measure of tempo in music.
So, in accordance to past and present, we can found these notations on classical music sheet, that are the basic tempo markings:
  • Larghissimo — very, very slow (20 bpm and below)
  • Lento — very slow (40–60 bpm)
  • Largo — very slow (40–60 bpm), like lento
  • Larghetto — rather broadly (60–66 bpm)
  • Grave — slow and solemn
  • Adagio — slow and stately (literally, "at ease") (66–76 bpm)
  • Adagietto — rather slow (70–80 bpm)
  • Andante — at a walking pace (76–108 bpm)
  • Andante Moderato — a bit faster than andante
  • Andantino – slightly faster than andante
  • Moderato — moderately (101-110 bpm)
  • Allegretto — moderately fast (but less so than allegro)
  • Allegro moderato — moderately quick (112–124 bpm)
  • Allegro — fast, quickly and bright or "march tempo" (120–139 bpm)
  • Vivace — lively and fast (˜140 bpm) (quicker than allegro)
  • Vivacissimo — very fast and lively
  • Allegrissimo — very fast
  • Presto — very fast (168–200 bpm)
  • Prestissimo — extremely fast (more than 200bpm)

In Andante and Variations by W.A. Mozart
we can see the tempo indication above the beginning of the notes

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