Tempo

In musical terminology, tempo ("time" in Italian) is the speed or pace of a given piece. 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 (or bpm). 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 accelerando. In ensembles, the tempo is often indicated by a conductor or by one of the instrumentalists, for instance the drummer.

Measurement

Electronic metronome, Wittner model

While tempo is described or indicated in many different ways, including with a range of words (e.g., "Slowly", "Adagio" and so on), it is typically measured in beats per minute (bpm or BPM). For example, a tempo of 60 beats per minute signifies one beat per second, while a tempo of 120 beats per minute is twice as rapid, signifying one beat every 0.5 seconds. The note value of a beat will typically be that indicated by the denominator of the time signature. For instance, in 4
4
the beat will be a crotchet, or quarter note.

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.[1]

Instead of beats per minute, some 20th-century classical composers (e.g., Béla Bartók, Alberto Ginastera, and John Cage) specify the total playing time for a piece, from which the performer can derive tempo.[citation needed]

With the advent of modern electronics, bpm became an extremely precise measure. Music sequencers use the bpm system to denote tempo.[citation needed] In popular music genres such as electronic dance music, accurate knowledge of a tune's bpm is important to DJs for the purposes of beatmatching.[citation needed]

The speed of a piece of music can also be gauged according to measures per minute (mpm) or bars per minute, the number of measures of the piece performed in one minute. This measure is commonly used in ballroom dance music.[2]

Other Languages
Alemannisch: Tempo (Musik)
العربية: سرعة إيقاع
azərbaycanca: Alleqretto (musiqi)
български: Темпо
bosanski: Tempo
català: Tempo
čeština: Tempo
dansk: Tempo
Deutsch: Tempo (Musik)
eesti: Tempo
Ελληνικά: Tempo
español: Tempo
Esperanto: Tempo (muziko)
euskara: Tempo
فارسی: تندا
français: Tempo
한국어: 템포
Hawaiʻi: Māmā
hrvatski: Tempo
Bahasa Indonesia: Tempo (musik)
italiano: Tempo (musica)
עברית: מפעם
Кыргызча: Темп
Latina: Tempo
magyar: Tempó
Bahasa Melayu: Tempo
မြန်မာဘာသာ: တင်န်ပို
Nederlands: Tempo (muziek)
नेपाल भाषा: लय
日本語: テンポ
norsk: Tempo
norsk nynorsk: Tempo
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Allegretto
português: Andamento
română: Tempo
русский: Темп (музыка)
Scots: Tempo
Simple English: Tempo
slovenčina: Tempo (hudba)
slovenščina: Tempo
کوردی: تێمپۆ
српски / srpski: Темпо
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Tempo
suomi: Tempo
svenska: Tempo (musik)
ไทย: เทมโป
тоҷикӣ: Аллегретто
Türkçe: Tempo
українська: Темп
Tiếng Việt: Nhịp độ