Grade 1 Italian Musical Terms

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In music we need to indicate lots of different things to the musician on how to play something. For example, you might want them to play a piece at a certain speed and so you’ll indicate what speed using tempo markings. Or, you might want them to play it at a certain volume and so have dynamic markings. All these different things you need to tell the musician are called performance directions

In this post I’m going to be covering all the different performance directions that you’ll need to know for the ABRSM grade 1 music theory exam.

What are the grade 1 performance directions?

There are quite a few different performance directions to learn and to help you get your head around all the different musical directions that you need to know for the ABRSM grade 1 music theory exam we’ve put together a big list.

At grade 1 they’re all in Italian. Some are to do with tempo, others dynamics and although it can seem overwhelming the amount of words to learn you’ll get it with a bit of practice.

Then, when you’re ready, there’s a quiz at the end of the page to have a go at and see how well you’ve learnt them all.

I’ve also made a free PDF of all the terms that you can download and print out or have on your phone to help with revision.

The Grade 1 Italian Music Terms

Grade 1 Italian TermsDefinition
a tempoin time
accelerando / accelgradually getting quicker
adagioslowly
allegrettomoderately fast
allegrofast, quickly, and bright
andanteat a walking pace
cantabilein a singing style
crescendo / cresc.gradually getting louder
da capo / D.Crepeat from the beginning
decrescendo / decresc.gradually getting quieter
diminuendo / dim.gradually getting quieter
dolcesweet, soft
fine, al finethe end, to the end
forteloud
fortissimovery loud
legatosmoothly
mezzohalf
mezzo fortemoderately loud
mezzo pianomoderately quiet
moderatoat a moderate speed
pianoquiet
pianissimovery quiet
rallentando / rall.gradually getting slower
ritardando / rit.gradually getting slower
staccato / stacc.detached
tempospeed / time
8vaoctave

Grade 1 Italian Terms Quiz

Hopefully they’re starting to sink in. If you’re ready you can take the quick quiz below to test how well you’ve learnt all the performance directions.

Now that you’re getting familiar with all these Italian grade 1 words, you can move on to the further grades by clicking one of the links below.

Grade 2 Musical Terms

Grade 3 Musical Terms

Grade 4 Musical Terms

Grade 5 Musical Terms

Or head back over here to see our music theory lessons.

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Written by Dan Farrant
Dan Farrant, the founder of Hello Music Theory, has been teaching music for over 10 years helping thousands of students unlock the joy of music. He graduated from The Royal Academy of Music in 2012 and then launched Hello Music Theory in 2014. Since then he's been working to make music theory easy for over 1 million students in over 80 countries around the world.