Grade 1 Performance Directions

For the ABRSM grade 1 music theory exam you’re going to need to know some Italian words and symbols and what they mean. Although it can seem quite daunting at first don’t worry. You’ll pick them up easily with a little bit of work.

So below are all the Grade 1 Italian Musical Terms for you to start getting familiar with.

When you're ready there's a quiz at the end to have a go at and see how well you've learnt them.


Accelerando / accel. – Gradually getting quicker

Adagio – Slowly

Allegretto – Moderately fast

Allegro – Fast, quickly, and bright

Andante – At a walking pace

Cantabile – In a singing style

Crescendo / cresc. – Gradually getting louder

Da Capo / D.C – Repeat from the beginning

Dal Segno / D.S – Repeat from the sign

Decrescendo / decresc. – Gradually getting quieter

Diminuendo / dim. – Gradually getting quieter

Fine – The end

Forte – Loud

Fortissimo – Very Loud

Legato – Smoothly

Lento – Slow

Mezzo – Half

Mezzo Forte – Moderately loud

Mezzo Piano –Moderately quiet

Moderato – Moderately

Piano – Quiet

Pianissimo – Very quiet

Poco – A little

Rallentando / rall. – Gradually getting slower

Ritardando / rit. – Gradually getting slower

Ritenuto / rit. – Held back

Staccato – Detached

Tempo – Speed / Time

8va – Octave


Grade 1 Performance Directions Quiz

If you want to test yourself on the above Grade 1 Italian musical terms we have a little quiz for you to test out your knowledge. No cheating!


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