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Author Topic: Stupid Question: How fast is Allegretto?  (Read 10768 times)
j.s. bach the 534th
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« on: October 26, 2008, 01:12:05 AM »

Sorry, this seems like a stupid question, but I am self taught, so I never really learned that much about tempo. I know Presto is fast, Allegro is a little slower, Moderato a little slower, and Andante and Adagio even slower. But other than that, I don't know anything.

So, around how many beats per minute is Allegretto?
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retrouvailles
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« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2008, 02:30:52 AM »

You can't really give a designation of beats per minute to every tempo and have that designation stay rigid. All tempi are subjective to an extent (as far as beats per minute), are relative, and act as an indication of how to play the piece, aside from tempo. Try literally translating all of the various tempo markings from Italian, and see what you come up with. Allegro means happy or cheerful in Italian. Allegretto is a type of diminutive of Allegro (linguistically speaking), and it is a bit slower than Allegro. Try reading up on tempo in a musical glossary for more information and some possible examples on tempo markings.
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m
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« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2008, 04:46:24 AM »

The tempo marking depends on many factors, including style, mood, genre, etc.
I perceive it more like a character of the piece, which very much depends on a composer. For example, consider the second movement of Mozart A-Major Sonata and Liszt Feux Follets are both Allegretto.

Best, M
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faulty_damper
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« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2008, 08:39:08 AM »

Tempo markings, like Allegretto, are expression markings; it aides in the interpretation of the written music.

Allegretto: dance-like; pulse is between andante and allegro.
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db05
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« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2008, 01:11:36 PM »

I don't ask these tempo questions anymore because even the teachers around here don't agree on them. Most especially with Andante.

They say Allegretto isn't very fast, and yet everytime I heard Rondo Alla Turca on the piano, in recordings or live, it's always really fast! Dance-like? The only dance I know with that kind of speed is the Minute waltz...

Edit:
I find that some Allegro movements are slower than some Allegretto movements, even in the same era/ composer. Now I'm even more confused!!
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communist
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« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2008, 01:13:59 PM »

my teacher said it was the same as moderato but i always played it alittle bit faster than moderato but make sure you dont do to much.
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m
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« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2008, 04:19:28 PM »

I don't ask these tempo questions anymore because even the teachers around here don't agree on them. Most especially with Andante.

I am not sure about the teachers around there, but at least my teachers taught me (I should admit though, since then it's been awhile, so my memory might be a little rustic) that Andante is a walking tempo.

Quote
They say Allegretto isn't very fast, and yet everytime I heard Rondo Alla Turca on the piano, in recordings or live, it's always really fast! Dance-like?

No, as you rightly noticed, "really fast" is not at all Dance-like. The confusion with Alla Turca tempo is not because Mozart did not know what is Allegretto, but it is because most of the performers whether
1) do not know what Allegretto means, or just
2) think that Presto suits much better that piece.

Quote
I find that some Allegro movements are slower than some Allegretto movements, even in the same era/ composer. Now I'm even more confused!!

Which once again proves the fact that it is not about sheer tempo, but rather about character and expression. So no need to get confused.

Best, M
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michel dvorsky
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« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2008, 07:34:44 PM »

Allegretto...Just think of a moving performance of that movement from Beethoven 7th.
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aewanko
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« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2008, 10:40:49 PM »

According to the "ever-reliable" internet:
-Allegretto is "In a moderately quick tempo, usually considered to be slightly slower than allegro but faster than andante. Used chiefly as a direction."
-"A rather fast tempo marking between Allegro and Moderato."


Often times, I see these directions as like what retrouvailles said:

You can't really give a designation of beats per minute to every tempo and have that designation stay rigid. All tempi are subjective to an extent (as far as beats per minute), are relative, and act as an indication of how to play the piece, aside from tempo. Try literally translating all of the various tempo markings from Italian, and see what you come up with. Allegro means happy or cheerful in Italian. Allegretto is a type of diminutive of Allegro (linguistically speaking), and it is a bit slower than Allegro. Try reading up on tempo in a musical glossary for more information and some possible examples on tempo markings.

Not all the time these directions mean tempi. You could be very well literal with these directions.
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Bob
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« Reply #9 on: October 26, 2008, 11:02:40 PM »

If this is the term I'm thinking of it's a really good question.

Didn't allegretto mean a little faster than allegro at one time, and then a little slower than allegro at another time?  I think this is the one.

In that case, it depends when the piece was written and who wrote it.


aewanko, you've got to include your source.  Man.... 




Oxford Music online says...
Allegretto
(It., diminutive of allegro).
A tempo (and mood) designation, normally indicating something a little less fast, and perhaps a little more lighthearted, than Allegro. But there is some evidence that in Paris around 1800 it was understood to be faster than allegro, most specifically in J.B. Cartier's L'art du violon (Paris, 1798) and in Renaudin's Plexichronomètre readings (see B. Brook La symphonie française, Paris, 1962, i, 318). It is found occasionally in Vivaldi and Domenico Scarlatti, but hardly at all in their precursors, even though Brossard mentioned the word in his Dictionaire of 1703. During the second half of the 18th century it came into special popularity, for the idea of a fastish tempo that should on no account show any sign of hurry was peculiarly appropriate to the galant style. Leopold Mozart (1756) said it should be performed ‘prettily, frivolously and jokily’ (‘artig, tändelend und scherzhaft’). When included in graduated lists of tempo marks it was normally placed between allegro and andantino. Unlike allegro, it is current only in musical contexts.

The slow movement of Beethoven's Seventh Symphony is perhaps the most famous example of allegretto, and a glimpse of the word's precise nature may result from the attempt to consider how that movement would have been affected if Beethoven had chosen instead to mark it andantino. He marked the second movement of his Quartet op.59 no.1 allegretto vivace e sempre scherzando, presumably in an attempt to suggest a fast tempo with the minimum of metrical accentuation and a maximum of fluidity.
For bibliography see Tempo and expression marks.
David Fallows


The Oxford Dictionary of Music says...
Allegretto
(It.).
Moderately quick, pretty lively (but not so much as allegro). Allegrezza. Mirth, cheerfulness.



The Oxford Companion to Music says...
allegretto
(It., dim. of allegro).
A tempo faster than andante but slower than allegro and in a lighter style. The term is also used for a short piece or movement with the tempo marked allegretto or allegro.




I like the first definition better.




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aewanko
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« Reply #10 on: October 27, 2008, 10:34:48 PM »

Sources are for morons!
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« Reply #11 on: October 27, 2008, 11:53:18 PM »

Just saying 'the internet' is a little broad though. 
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guendola
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« Reply #12 on: October 28, 2008, 05:30:59 PM »

In fact, from my experience I can confirm that Allegretto sometimes means "a little faster than Allegro" and sometimes "a little slower than Allegro". Apparently the musical world changed dramatically with the invention of the metronome. Mozart for example had a very sophisticated system of expressions to mark the tempo of his music, many composers simply relied on the experience of the musician, some musical forms such as Waltzes, Polonaises etc. had specific tempi at certain periods which again changed dramatically when "Waltz" or "Polonaise" was not used for dancing anymore (in compositions), etc. etc. So a general answer is virtually impossible.

If you look at other details: Czerny is famous for his infamous tempi, some people doubt that he referred to BPS but nobody can explain what he actually referred to. Experts kill each other verbally when discussing tempi of well known composers.

Now my idea generally is this: Allegro means "happy" and "Allegretto" is the diminuativ of that, so "a little bit happy". If the music sounds like this, you probably got the right tempo.
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j.s. bach the 534th
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« Reply #13 on: October 28, 2008, 11:25:22 PM »

Now my idea generally is this: Allegro means "happy" and "Allegretto" is the diminuativ of that, so "a little bit happy". If the music sounds like this, you probably got the right tempo.

so my Allegretto piece that is in a minor key is still supposed to sound a little happy?...
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Bob
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« Reply #14 on: October 29, 2008, 01:28:56 AM »

I thought allegro meant light.
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j.s. bach the 534th
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« Reply #15 on: October 29, 2008, 02:53:57 AM »

Well, I have no idea what Allegro means, I just know that in music Allegro is supposed to be played fast Smiley
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retrouvailles
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« Reply #16 on: October 29, 2008, 04:23:44 AM »

I thought allegro meant light.

Leggiero means light. Allegro means happy or cheerful.

so my Allegretto piece that is in a minor key is still supposed to sound a little happy?...

You should forget about the myth that all pieces in minor keys are sad and all pieces in major keys are happy. Think of Allegretto just a bit slower than Allegro, that's it. Like I said, read a music glossary for a precise definition and examples, but I don't think you can get more precise than Allegretto being a diminutive of Allegro.
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« Reply #17 on: October 31, 2008, 11:31:46 AM »

Take any piece of music with an allegretto indication and listen to a dozen interpretations of it and you'll be suprised how much the tempo can vary across the interpretations. (The fastest is easily going to be at least 50% quicker tha the slowest).

The conclusion? Anything goes!


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« Reply #18 on: November 12, 2008, 02:32:46 AM »

Sorry, this seems like a stupid question, but I am self taught, so I never really learned that much about tempo. I know Presto is fast, Allegro is a little slower, Moderato a little slower, and Andante and Adagio even slower. But other than that, I don't know anything.

So, around how many beats per minute is Allegretto?

I think that around 100 would probably work. Maybe a little more than 100. The reader could actually reproduce this on his/her own electronic keyboard or physical metronome by playing a song in what they think is alegretto, then turning the metronome to match your tempo. You could then find your specific BPM for that song, and if you do it a few times you can establish a simple range.

In my personal opinion it's better to play it as you want to and not worry about specific numbers, but there it is.
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retrouvailles
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« Reply #19 on: November 13, 2008, 11:14:24 AM »

Please note the distinction between "song" and "piece". Songs require that there be a singing part in it, whereas a piece does not. I assume you are using the word "song" in place of the word "piece" to sort of mean any composition in general, which is wrong.
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gyzzzmo
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« Reply #20 on: November 13, 2008, 11:47:39 AM »

Allegretto is an indication and description of 'feeling' that the composers would like a play performed. Allegretto probably means that he wants it played pretty fast/hasty, but not as fast as allegro.
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xpjamiexd
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« Reply #21 on: November 18, 2008, 11:12:28 AM »

As far as i'm aware Allegretto is "fast, but faster still". I think.
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retrouvailles
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« Reply #22 on: November 19, 2008, 10:34:40 AM »

As far as i'm aware Allegretto is "fast, but faster still". I think.

Read the replies above. There is no way that can be possible, given that Allegretto is a diminutive, or a smaller form, of Allegro, which literally means happy and specifies a faster tempo. Given the nature of a diminutive, Allegretto would have to be slower, and it is generally lighter in character, as far as I have seen. But yes, I agree with the others that it is more of an indication of character or feeling than a specific tempo.
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xpjamiexd
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« Reply #23 on: November 19, 2008, 05:01:32 PM »

Read the replies above. There is no way that can be possible, given that Allegretto is a diminutive, or a smaller form, of Allegro, which literally means happy and specifies a faster tempo. Given the nature of a diminutive, Allegretto would have to be slower, and it is generally lighter in character, as far as I have seen. But yes, I agree with the others that it is more of an indication of character or feeling than a specific tempo.

Well I did a little resaerch and you're right, I had a book which listed some musical tempo markings and Allegretto said "Fast, but still faster" so I looked it up and found:

Allegro — fast and bright or "march tempo" (120–168 bpm)
Allegro moderato — moderately quick (112–124 bpm)
Allegretto — moderately fast (but less so than allegro)

Strange but yes you're right. Sorry about that.
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ryanyee
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« Reply #24 on: November 27, 2008, 11:28:41 AM »

presto is indicated as 200 beats per minute on the metronome. if my memory serves me correctly cos the last time i saw one was like 5 years ago.vivace comes before presto, allegro vivace i think, is after vivace. and prestissimo means as fast a possible. hope that helps.
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