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Music

Rhythm and metre

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Timing and rhythm are vital to all forms of music. Without them the sound becomes unformulated and the musicians cannot play in unison.

Speed or tempo

The pulse is the beat in a piece of music.

The tempo of a piece of music is the speed of the underlying beat.

Tempo is measured in BPM, or Beats Per Minute. 60 BPM is one beat every second. Sometimes the tempo is written at the beginning of the music and is called a metronome marking. Tempo and stylistic feel are often indicated in classical music by Italian terminology.

Here are some of the common Italian musical terms and their meanings.

Musical terms

LargoSlowly and broadly
AndanteSlowish, at walking pace
ModeratoAt moderate speed
AllegroFast
VivaceLively
PrestoVery quick
AccelerandoGradually speeding up
RallentandoGradually slowing down
RitenutoImmediately slower
AllargandoGetting slower and broadening
RubatoLiterally 'robbed time', where rhythms are played freely for expressive effect.

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