What Is The Musical Term For Fast?

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.

I’ve also indicated a rough BPM (which stands for beats per minute) if you want to use a metronome to check the speed.

Italian termDefinitionBpm
Moderatoat a moderate speed108 – 120 bpm
Allegrettomoderately fast112 – 120 bpm
Allegro moderatofast (but not as fast as allegro)116 – 120 bpm
Allegrofast, quickly and bright120 – 156 bpm
Vivacelively and fast156 – 176 bpm
Vivacissimovery quick (faster than vivace)172 – 176 bpm
Allegrissimo very fast172 – 176 bpm
Prestovery fast168 – 200 bpm
Prestissimoas quickly as possibleover 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.

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