Music Theory Resources
The tempo is the speed of the beat. A tempo may be designated with general terms such as "fast" or "slow," or it can be measured precisely in beats per minute (bpm). The second-hand of a clock ticks at 60bpm, which is a good reference point.
It is common to find tempo markings in Italian (very fast: presto, slow: lento) or another language such as French or German. Although some terms can be understood by consulting a standard bilingual dictionary, other terms are conventional rather than literal. For example, allegro literally means 'happy' or 'cheerful' in Italian, but in music allegro means fast.
|Larghissimo||solemn (very, very slow)||< 24|
|Grave||solemn (very, very slow)||25-40|
|Largo||broad (very slow)||40-60|
|Adagio||slow and stately||66–76|
|Adagietto||slower than andante||72–76|
|Andantino||slightly faster than Andante||80–108|
|Marcia moderato||moderately (march)||83–85|
|Andante moderato||between andante and moderato||92–112|
|Allegretto moderato||close to but not quite allegro||116–120|
|Vivacissimo||very fast and lively||172–176|
|Allegrissimo or Allegro vivace||very fast||172–176|
|Presto||very, very fast||168–200|
|Prestissimo||even faster than Presto||> 200|