What Language Is Prevalent for Tempo/Mood Markings in Contemporary Music?

What language are tempo markings used in music?


Although Italian has been the prevalent language for tempo markings throughout most of classical music history, many composers have naturally written tempo indications in their own language—most notably, French, German, and English.

Which foreign language is used for most tempo terms?

In classical music, it is customary to describe the tempo of a piece by one or more words, most commonly in Italian, in addition to or instead of a metronome mark in beats per minute. Italian is typically used because it was the language of most composers during the time these descriptions became commonplace.

What language are tempo markings and dynamics written?


Like dynamics, most tempo markings are written in Italian. They often appear at the beginning of a work, movement, or section, at the top left of the first staff or system. The most common tempi are as follows: Fast tempi: vivace, presto, allegro, allegretto (-etto is an Italian suffix meaning “little”)

Is tempo markings are written in English terms?

Tempo markings are usually written as a word that corresponds with a number, which you will see below, or in beats per minute (bpm). For example, Allegro means fast and is a tempo between 120 bpm and 168 bpm. The composer could write Allegro or 120bpm.

Is tempo Greek or Latin?

tempos; tempi

The word tempo came into English by way of Italian, tracing all the way back to the Latin word tempus, meaning time. It was originally used to describe the timing of music, or the speed at which a piece of music is played.

What are the most common used tempo marking or symbols?

What Are the Basic Tempo Markings?

  • Larghissimo—very, very slow, almost droning (20 BPM and below)
  • Grave—slow and solemn (20–40 BPM)
  • Lento—slowly (40–60 BPM)
  • Largo—the most commonly indicated “slow” tempo (40–60 BPM)
  • Larghetto—rather broadly, and still quite slow (60–66 BPM)

What is the most melodic language in the world?

The languages perceived as most melodious were French (79.3), Italian (76), and Spanish (72.2) – followed by English and Catalan. In the lowest range were German (43.5), Welsh (44.8), and Greek (51.6) – followed by Polish and Russian.

What is the most musical language?

The most widely used is Shona, a language with a very interesting tonal makeup. Tones in Shona are relative to the pitch of the other words being used. Without the specific tones being properly attached, the meaning is lost.

Which language sounds most like Latin?


Italian is seen to be one of the closest Romance Languages to Vulgar Latin and resembles it closely in syntax compared to Classical Latin words. Is Latin closer to Italian or Spanish? – Italian is the closest national language to Latin, followed by Spanish, Romanian, Portuguese, and the most divergent being French.

Which words do musicians use to describe tempo?


  • Adagio – a slow tempo (other words for slow are lento and largo)
  • Andante – performed at a walking pace.
  • Moderato – played at a medium tempo.
  • Allegro – a quick and lively tempo (another common word for fast is vivace)

Where are tempo markings usually written?

Tempo Markings. The speed/tempo of a piece in traditional music notation is given with an Italian word called a tempo marking. Tempo markings are written above the stave at the start of a piece of music.

How is tempo written in a music piece?

Tempo markings are indicated in beats per minute; that is why 60 BPM is the same speed as seconds. Lower numbers mean the song is sung slower, and higher numbers mean the tempo is faster. When numbers are used to indicate tempo, it will look like the picture to the right.