Tempo is the speed of the beat – how fast or slow the music is.
Tempo markings are words used to describe how fast a piece should go, they are often in Italian:
- Grave – slow, solemn
- Largo – rather slow, stately
- Adagio – slowly
- Andante – moderate, walking speed
- Moderato – moderate speed
- Allegretto – fairly quick
- Allegro – quick, lively
- Presto – very fast
Metronome markings are a more specific way to measure tempo, they tell us how many beats there are per minute. So
= 80 means 80 crotchet beats per minute. We can put this pulse onto a metronome to play along with (to practice accurate rhythm and tempo) or just to check our tempo before we play
Portable metronomes, metronome apps and online metronomes are widely available with lots of free options!