LATIN Terms used in Music

There are many Latin terms used in music to show how a piece of music is to be performed.  Some of these terminologies are arranged under various groups as shown below.


 Tempo time The speed of music e.g. 120 BPM
Grave solemn Slow and solemn, slower than largo
Largo broad Slow and dignified
Larghetto a little bit broad Not as slow as largo
Lentando slowing Becoming slower
Lento slow Slow
Adagio ad agio, at ease Slow, but not as slow as largo
Adagietto little adagio Faster than adagio; or a short adagio composition
Andante walking Moderately slow, flowing along
Moderato moderately At a moderate speed
Allegretto a little bit joyful Slightly slower than allegro
Largamente broadly Slow and dignified
Mosso moved Agitated
Allegro joyful; lively and fast Moderately fast
Sostenuto sustained A slowing of tempo, often accompanied by legato playing
Fermata stopped Marks a note to be held or sustained
Presto ready Very fast
Prestissimo very ready Very very fast, as fast as possible
Accelerando accelerating Accelerating
Affrettando becoming hurried Accelerating
Allargando slowing and broadening Slowing down and broadening, becoming more stately and majestic, possibly louder
Ritardando slowing Decelerating
Rallentando becoming progressively slower Decelerating
Rubato robbed Free flowing and exempt from steady rhythm
Tenuto sustained Holding or sustaining a single note

Accompagnato accompanied The accompaniment must follow the singer who can speed up or slow down at will
Alla marcia as a march In strict tempo at a marching pace (e.g. 120 bpm)
A tempo to time Return to previous tempo
L’istesso tempo Same speed At the same speed



Calando quietening Becoming softer and slower
Crescendo growing Becoming louder
Decrescendo shrinking Becoming softer
Diminuendo dwindling Becoming softer
Forte strong Loud
Fortissimo very strong Very loud
Marcato marked a note played forcefully
Mezzo forte half-strong Moderately loud
Piano gentle Soft
Pianissimo very gentle Very soft
Mezzo piano half-gentle Moderately soft
Sforzando strained Sharply accented
Stentato in the manner of Stentor Loud, boisterous
Tremolo trembling A rapid repetitive variation in the volume (or pitch) of a tone
Messa di voce placing the voice a style of singing involving changing volume while holding a single note



Affettuoso with feeling Tenderly
Agitato agitated Excited and fast
Animato animated Animated
Brillante brilliant Brilliant, bright
Bruscamente brusquely Brusquely – abruptly
Cantabile singable In a singing style
Colossale colossal in a fashion which suggests immensity

You can download the rest  musical terms

Compiled byNnaemeka Alumona
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