What is tempo?


Reading — Intermediate Level
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In classical music, tempo is typically indicated with an instruction at the start of a piece (often using conventional Italian terms) and is usually measured in beats per minute. In modern classical compositions, a "metronome mark" in beats per minute may supplement or replace the normal tempo marking, while in modern genres like electronic dance music, tempo will typically simply be stated in bpm.

Tempo may be separated from articulation and meter, or these aspects may be indicated along with tempo, all contributing to the overall texture. While the ability to hold a steady tempo is a vital skill for a musical performer, tempo is changeable. Depending on the genre of a piece of music and the performers' interpretation, a piece may be played with slight tempo rubato or drastic variances. In ensembles, the tempo is often indicated by a conductor or by one of the instrumentalists, for instance the drummer.

While tempo is described or indicated in many different ways, including with a range of words like "Slowly", "Adagio" and so on, it is typically measured in beats per minute . This measurement and indication of tempo became increasingly popular during the first half of the 19th century, after Johann Nepomuk Maelzel invented the metronome. Beethoven was one of the first composers to use the metronome; in the 1810s he published metronomic indications for the eight symphonies he had composed up to that time.
Source: Wikipedia
  1. Tempo refers to the   of a musical piece.

  2. BPM stands for   .

  3. Any musical piece has a   tempo.

  4. A metronome is a   .

  5. A/An   is a group of musicians, actors, or dancers who perform together.


Practice your writing skills by discussing the questions below

  1. What is tempo in a musical piece?

  2. How is tempo identified ?

  3. What do you think are the different kinds of tempo in music?


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