Tempo has three elements:
Tempo is not just the beats per minute of a song(BPM), its also the emotional and energetic context.
This concept doesn't just apply to music, and can apply to anything that moves over time.
- organizations have a tempo. more conservative risk-adverse companies have a slower tempo. Risky startups have a faster one.
- Larghissimo – very, very slow (24 bpm and under)
- Adagissimo – very slowly
- Grave – very slow (25–45 bpm)
- Largo – broadly (40–60 bpm)
- Lento – slowly (45–60 bpm)
- Larghetto – rather broadly (60–66 bpm)
- Adagio – slowly with great expression (66–76 bpm)
- Adagietto – slower than andante (72–76 bpm) or slightly faster than adagio (70–80 bpm)
- Andante – at a walking pace (76–108 bpm)
- Andantino – slightly faster than andante (although, in some cases, it can be taken to mean slightly slower than andante) (80–108 bpm)
- Marcia moderato – moderately, in the manner of a march (83–85 bpm)
- Andante moderato – between andante and moderato (thus the name) (92–98 bpm)
- Moderato – at a moderate speed (98–112 bpm)
- Allegretto – by the mid-19th century, moderately fast (102–110 bpm); see paragraph above for earlier usage
- Allegro moderato – close to, but not quite allegro (116–120 bpm)
- Allegro – fast, quick, and bright (120–156 bpm) (molto allegro is slightly faster than allegro, but always in its range; 124-156 bpm)
- Vivace – lively and fast (156–176 bpm)
- Vivacissimo – very fast and lively (172–176 bpm)
- Allegrissimo or Allegro vivace – very fast (172–176 bpm)
- Presto – very, very fast (168–200 bpm)
- Prestissimo – even faster than presto (200 bpm and over)
- Change in Tempo Terms
- Accelerando – speeding up (abbreviation: accel.)
- Affrettando – speeding up with a suggestion of anxiety
- Allargando – growing broader; decreasing tempo, usually near the end of a piece
- Calando – going slower (and usually also softer)
- Doppio movimento / doppio più mosso – double-speed
- Doppio più lento – half-speed
- Lentando – gradually slowing, and softer
- Meno mosso – less movement; slower
- Meno moto – less motion
- Più mosso – more movement; faster
- Mosso – movement, more lively; quicker, much like più mosso, but not as extreme
- Precipitando – hurrying; going faster/forward
- Rallentando – a gradual slowing down (abbreviation: rall.)
- Ritardando – slowing down gradually; also see rallentando and ritenuto (abbreviations: rit., ritard.) sometimes replaces allargando.
- Ritenuto – slightly slower, but achieved more immediately than rallentando or ritardando; a sudden decrease in tempo; (Note that the abbreviation for ritenuto can also be rit. Thus a more specific abbreviation is riten. Also, sometimes ritenuto does not reflect a tempo change but rather a 'character' change.)
- Rubato – free adjustment of tempo for expressive purposes, literally "theft"—so more strictly, to take time from one beat to slow another
- Slargando – gradually slowing down, literally "slowing down", "widening" or "stretching"
- Stretto – in a faster tempo, often used near the conclusion of a section. (Note that in fugal compositions, the term stretto refers to the imitation of the subject in close succession, before the subject is completed, and as such, suitable for the close of the fugue. Used in this context, the term is not necessarily related to tempo.)
- Stringendo – pressing on faster, literally "tightening"
- Tardando – slowing down gradually (same as ritardando)
- Tempo Primo – resume the original tempo