In music, when describing how fast a piece of music should be played at we use a series of different Italian words. These tend to be a rough range rather than a fixed specific speed.
Below I’ve added some of the different Italian terms we use to tell indicate fast tempos (more on what is tempo here).
I’ve also indicated a rough BPM (which stands for beats per minute) if you want to use a metronome to check the speed.
|Moderato||at a moderate speed||108 – 120 bpm|
|Allegretto||moderately fast||112 – 120 bpm|
|Allegro moderato||fast (but not as fast as allegro)||116 – 120 bpm|
|Allegro||fast, quickly and bright||120 – 156 bpm|
|Vivace||lively and fast||156 – 176 bpm|
|Vivacissimo||very quick (faster than vivace)||172 – 176 bpm|
|Allegrissimo||very fast||172 – 176 bpm|
|Presto||very fast||168 – 200 bpm|
|Prestissimo||as quickly as possible||over 200 bpm|
For a music theory exam you won’t be expected to know the BPM of each tempo but you’ll need to know the description.
Also, remember that the beats per minute that I’ve put are rough indications. There are lots of differing opinions from different sources that will say differently.