What Does Andante Mean in Music? Definition, Meaning & Examples (2022)

Have you ever wondered how musicians know how fast or how slow to play their music? And here’s an even bigger question: how do they give the notes mood and expression?

Simply stated, by varying the tempo of a particular segment. The best example of that is the music of jaws; where there’s a tap, then a steady build-up that creates an immense amount of suspense. That escalation is ultimately an increase in the music speed.

Andante is one of several tempo markings that musicians have been using since the Renaissance.

What Does Andante Translate to?

What Does Andante Mean in Music? Definition, Meaning & Examples (1)

Andante is an Italian word that generally means “slow down”, but things are not that simple. Sometimes, it means “slow down as you stroll under the moonlight” or “slow down and be mellow”. Other times, it implies “slow down to breathe after a vicious fight”.

That’s exactly why robots and some skilled musicians can’t really play music. There’s a huge part that depends on personal experience. It’s about the unique interpretation of what the composer might have intended.

To further demonstrate, we can take a look at one of Anton Bruckner’s markings: “Bewegt, quasi Andante, feierlich”. This German/Italian note translates roughly to ‘Vivacious, semi Andante, Stately’.

Vague as it might be, these tempo instructions are certainly more intuitive than Bach’s notes. Since these often come with minimal tempo or articulation signatures.

(Video) What does andante mean?

In a famous concert in the 1960s, Leonard Bernsteinexplains how Glenn Gould could interpret Bach’s notes without the essential composer instructions. This shows both the importance of tempo signatures and the unbelievable talent of Gould.

So What Exactly Does an Andante Tempo Mean?

What Does Andante Mean in Music? Definition, Meaning & Examples (2)

The tempo of a music piece denotes how fast or how slow it should be played. This isn’t left entirely to the judgment of the players, as there are ways to identify and unify the concept of the ‘beat’. Tempo is expressed as beats per minute, and it’s best represented by the metronome.

The Andante tempo resembles your heartbeat when you’re walking briskly. It’s like the music of Bach’s Air, Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, and the amazing Italian song Bella Ciao.

To understand how fast an Andante movement should be, we should look at a few more things. Like the other speeds frequently used, alternative ways of timing a music piece, and the finest pieces that were played in the Andante tempo. Additionally, there’s the matter of why these speed marks are given in Italian?

Why Are the Tempo Marks Written in Italian?

Between the 14th and 17th centuries, Italy was experiencing its glorious Renaissance. Every aspect of life was changing, but most of all, the arts and culture flourished incredibly. At the same time, the rest of the world was struggling with internal and external conflicts.

Italy soon became a magnet for musicians, painters, and thinkers from the four corners of the map. In addition to the emergence of many great Italian artists that became mentors for others. That’s why much of the vocabulary of music and art is in Italian.

(Video) Allegro, Andante, A Tempo - Music Dictionary for Beginners 2

The abundance of Italian terminology was accompanied later on by French, German, and English terms. Even today, it’s not surprising at all to see instructions written in two or more languages on the same music sheet.

What Are the Other Speeds Commonly Used in Music?

What Does Andante Mean in Music? Definition, Meaning & Examples (3)

In order to read music, one has to know how quickly or how slowly it needs to be played. Just imagine playing a song like Somedayin a fast tempo, or going too slow with Drunken Sailor. Clearly, it would lose its meaning, mood, or punch.

Thus far, we’ve only talked about the Andante tempo, but there are plenty more where that came from. Here are the basic ones.

  • Larghissimo: This is an incredibly slow pace, like a heart beating at 24 bpm.
  • Largo: This isn’t just slow, it’s also ‘big’, like a military march. It follows a tempo of 40–60 bpm
  • Adagio: This too is slow, but it’s a bit dramatic. It has a slightly higher tempo of 66–76 bpm
  • Andante: This is the regular walking step at which our heart would beat at 76–108 bpm.
  • Moderato: Here the pace gains a bit of spring, and the beats rise to 108–120 bpm.
  • Allegro: This is a quick and optimistic stride. It’s full of energy at 120–156 bpm.
  • Vivace: Still quick, but also lively and vivacious. Imagine a race with a tempo of 156–176 bpm.
  • Presto: This is an extremely fast tempo that’s way higher than any heartbeat. 168–200 bpm is what machines do, and surprisingly, music has even faster tempos.

Are There Other Ways to Time Music?

The very first timekeeper was an invention by Abbas Ibn Firnas in the ninth century. Galileo added to it a pendulum action but didn’t associate it with music. This prototype was carried to completion in 1814 by Dietrich Nikolaus Winkel.

Another engineer, Johann Maelzel, adopted that model and started manufacturing it under his own name. To avoid appearing to steal the invention, Maelzel added a scale to the metronome. He then set out to market it to musicians, performers, and choreographers.

Beethoven was among the first to embrace this new invention, and all his published works from 1815 onwards were marked by beats per minute.

What Does Andante Mean in Music? Definition, Meaning & Examples (4)

Besides the metronome, some music composers resorted to assigning a total time for the whole piece. And from there, the performers should figure out the suitable tempo.

(Video) What does Andante mean?

I personally find that a bit more complicated than just revealing the proper timing from the outset. Surprisingly, Bella Bartok and other musicians were applauded for that new convention!

Nowadays, metronomes are no longer mechanical structures, and most people use electronic contraptions. There are many mobile apps that simulate the look and sound of vintage mechanical metronomes. I’ve used some of them, and they’re amazing.

Who Sets the Tone/Tempo of a Music Piece?

A musical composition could be written in strict terms, where the tempo is given in clear beats per minute. But still, someone has to keep that beat, and the rest of the players need to follow. Otherwise, if every player decides to take matters into their own hands, the piece would be a jumble of asynchronous tunes.

Typically, the conductor, or maestro, is the person who’s often in charge of maintaining the right tempo. This is among many other tasks, of course. And if a music player strays a little, you can often spot the conductor dragging them back into the right tempo.

In music bands where there’s no formal conductor, it’s customary for the drummer to keep the beat.

Andante in the Tempos of Classical vs. Modern Music?

Dance Music for Palaces

What Does Andante Mean in Music? Definition, Meaning & Examples (5)

Back in the day, beats were used primarily for composing music. Some of that music was intended for chambers or orchestral concerts, and these could come in any kind of tempos.

Other types of music were designed specifically for ballroom dances. They had to have a tight structure that suited the movement of the dancers.

Choreography went hand in hand with composition at the time. All the Waltzes, Boleros, Tangos, and Polkas are of this type.

(Video) What ANDANTE means • Meaning of ANDANTE • andante MEANING • andante DEFINITION

By the time Opera and singing were celebrated arts, the tempo had to follow the human way of talking. Music couldn’t be too fast for the words or the vocals of the performers. That’s why Andante is a popular tempo for many of these pieces.

Matching the Beat of The Previous Song

In our modern times, the tempo is still one of the main pillars of music composition, and the beat still plays a huge part in more parts of our life.

There are some interesting applications that started appearing around the 1960s, and they had to do with beat. As clubbing and dancing in public venues became a thing, DJing as a profession grew too. And to keep the dancers from leaving the floor, the DJs invented a trick.

Beatmatchingwas the new development Francis Grasso brought to the pop scene. It meant merging the beats of two songs, so the dancers wouldn’t notice that one ended and another began.

Matching the Energy of the Room

What Does Andante Mean in Music? Definition, Meaning & Examples (6)

In recent times, DJs took this game a step higher, and they started matching the tunes to the heartbeats of the dancers. If the energy of the room is regular, and people are just chatting, then a song with a beat from 70 to 90 should be good. And by the way, that’s an Andante.

As the energy rises, so does the beat. And the songs still match the room’s heart. But that can’t last for too long, or the crowds will just escape back to their chairs. That’s why a good DJ would give breathers, pick up the beat again until the night ends on the softest of tunes.

From Dancing to Sports

Beatmatching isn’t limited to clubs, and DJs weren’t the only folks who noticed how music affected energy. Many gyms soon caught up with the idea, and tunes specially tailored for high-intensity training emerged en masse.

Another way the beats are used is relatively new. Some smartwatches and fitness trackers are capable of matching a person’s heartbeatwith a suitable techno song. You might’ve guessed that a nice walk would invite Andante music, and as the heat goes up, the beat goes up.

(Video) ANDANTE (in English)

FAQs

What is andante an example of? ›

Use the word andante to describe a relatively slow, moderately paced tune. Your piano teacher might tell you to play a piece andante. The word andante, particularly common in classical music, is sometimes described as "at a walking pace." An andante movement in a symphony is faster than adagio but slower than allegro.

How do you use andante in a sentence? ›

The symphony has begun andante, but it will progress to molto vivace. The andante finishes with a diminuendo-ing long pause, and then moves into the 6/8 allegretto.

What is andante used for? ›

Anaconda is an open-source distribution of the Python and R programming languages for data science that aims to simplify package management and deployment.

How do you describe andante tempo? ›

Andante is a musical tempo marking meaning moderately slow.

What is an example of allegro? ›

Allegro is defined as a quickness of tempo. An example of something that can be described as allegro is a portion of an orchestral piece. The definition of an allegro is a portion of the music that moves quickly. An example of an allegro is the third movement of Beethoven's Piano Sonata No.

What kind of song is andante? ›

It was written by members Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus on April 9, 1980, at Polar Music studios.
...
Andante, Andante.
"Andante, Andante"
Single by ABBA
ReleasedFebruary 1981
RecordedApril 9, 1980
GenreEuropop, pop, Swedish pop
8 more rows

What is the English translation of Andante? ›

moderately slow and even.

Is andante fast or slow? ›

Andante – at a walking pace (73–77 BPM) Moderato – moderately (86–97 BPM) Allegretto – moderately fast (98–109 BPM) Allegro – fast, quickly and bright (109–132 BPM)

What pace is andante? ›

Andante – at a walking pace (76–108 bpm) Andantino – slightly faster than andante (although, in some cases, it can be taken to mean slightly slower than andante) (80–108 bpm) Marcia moderato – moderately, in the manner of a march (83–85 bpm)

What are examples of tempo in music? ›

“Beats per minute” (or BPM) is self-explanatory: it indicates the number of beats in one minute. For instance, a tempo notated as 60 BPM would mean that a beat sounds exactly once per second. A 120 BPM tempo would be twice as fast, with two beats per second.

What are the 5 types of tempo? ›

Typically, tempo is measured according to beats per minute (bpm) and is divided into prestissimo (>200 bpm), presto (168–200 bpm), allegro (120–168 bpm), moderato (108–120 bpm), andante (76–108 bpm), adagio (66–76 bpm), larghetto (60–66 bpm), and largo (40–60 bpm) (Fernández-Sotos et al., 2016).

What is the slowest tempo in music? ›

From slowest to fastest:
  • Larghissimo – very, very slow (24 BPM and under)
  • Grave – slow and solemn (25–45 BPM)
  • Lento – very slow (40–60 BPM)
  • Largo – slowly (45–50 BPM)
  • Larghetto – quite broadly (60–69 BPM)
  • Adagio – slow and stately (66–76 BPM)
  • Adagietto – quite slow (72–76 BPM)
  • Andante – at a walking pace (76–108 BPM)

What does Allegretto mean in music? ›

Definition of allegretto

(Entry 1 of 2) : faster than andante but not so fast as allegro —used as a direction in music. allegretto. noun. plural allegrettos.

How do you pronounce andante in music? ›

How To Say Andante - YouTube

What is the tempo of bahay kubo? ›

Song Metrics

Bahay Kubo is a song by The Grail Singers with a tempo of 157 BPM. It can also be used half-time at 79 BPM or double-time at 314 BPM. The track runs 1 minute and 4 seconds long with a F key and a major mode. It has low energy and is somewhat danceable with a time signature of 3 beats per bar.

Who wrote andante? ›

Andante, andante

Is andante a name? ›

Andante - Boy's name meaning, origin, and popularity | BabyCenter.

What does adagio mean in music? ›

: at a slow tempo —used chiefly as a direction in music.

What does allegro mean in music? ›

: at a brisk lively tempo —used as a direction in music.

Which two words for tempo means slow and very slow? ›

The words Lento and Largo both mean very slowly. The bpm range of Lento/Largo is 40-60 bpm.

What is the Italian tempo of andante? ›

1. Tempo
TermMeaningBPM
andante moderatomoderate walking pace, faster than andante92-112
andantinomoderate tempo, slightly faster than andante80-108
gravevery slow25-45
larghettorather slow and broad, slightly faster than largo60-66
15 more rows

What is a slow tempo? ›

Slow tempos are typically anything below 80 beats per minute. Tempo in music refers to the speed or “pulse” of a song and is generally measured in beats per minute. A slow song will typically be around 60 to 70 BPM (beats per minute). A slow tempo is a song's or music's playing speed, also known as the rhythm.

How do I find the tempo of a song? ›

Music Theory Lesson Tempo - YouTube

What tempo is moderately slow? ›

Moderate Tempo Markings
Tempo MarkingTranslationBeats Per Minute
AndanteAt a walking pace, moderately slow72 - 76 bpm
AndantinoSlighlty faster and more light-hearted than Andante73 - 83 bpm
ModeratoModerately108 - 120 bpm
AllegrettoModerately fast, but less than allegro100 - 128 bpm

What is the tempo of a song? ›

In simple terms, tempo is how fast or slow a piece of music is performed, while rhythm is the placement of sounds in time, in a regular and repeated pattern. Tempo generally is measured as the number of beats per minute, where the beat is the basic measure of time in music.

What is very fast music called? ›

Subscribe to Hello Music Theory!
Italian termDefinitionBpm
Allegrofast, quickly and bright120 – 156 bpm
Vivacelively and fast156 – 176 bpm
Vivacissimovery quick (faster than vivace)172 – 176 bpm
Allegrissimovery fast172 – 176 bpm
5 more rows
11 May 2022

How many beats is a second? ›

A tempo marking of 60 BPM equals one beat per second, while 120 BPM equals two beats per second. A metronome is commonly used as a practice tool to help maintain a steady tempo while learning difficult passages.

What is it called when the music gradually slows down? ›

Ritardando - slowing down, holding back. A tempo - return to the original tempo after speeding up or slowing down.

Is andante fast or slow? ›

Andante – at a walking pace (73–77 BPM) Moderato – moderately (86–97 BPM) Allegretto – moderately fast (98–109 BPM) Allegro – fast, quickly and bright (109–132 BPM)

What is a tempo in music? ›

In simple terms, tempo is how fast or slow a piece of music is performed, while rhythm is the placement of sounds in time, in a regular and repeated pattern. Tempo generally is measured as the number of beats per minute, where the beat is the basic measure of time in music.

What is andante in sonata? ›

Andante is a village in the World of Eternal Sonata that serves as the headquarters of Andantino and as a place of refuge for its members. It is an underground city built into a mountainside, and few know of its existence other than Andantino.

What does tempo mean in music? ›

: the rate of speed of a musical piece or passage indicated by one of a series of directions (such as largo, presto, or allegro) and often by an exact metronome marking. : rate of motion or activity : pace.

What is it called when music slows down? ›

Ritardando - slowing down, holding back. A tempo - return to the original tempo after speeding up or slowing down.

What is the slowest tempo in music? ›

From slowest to fastest:
  • Larghissimo – very, very slow (24 BPM and under)
  • Grave – slow and solemn (25–45 BPM)
  • Lento – very slow (40–60 BPM)
  • Largo – slowly (45–50 BPM)
  • Larghetto – quite broadly (60–69 BPM)
  • Adagio – slow and stately (66–76 BPM)
  • Adagietto – quite slow (72–76 BPM)
  • Andante – at a walking pace (76–108 BPM)

What is the fastest tempo in music? ›

Fast Tempo Markings
Tempo MarkingTranslationBeats Per Minute
AllegroFast, quickly and bright120 - 156 bpm
VivaceBriskly, Lively and fast156 - 176 bpm
VivacissimoVery fast and lively, faster than Vivace172 - 176 bpm
Allegrissimo or Allegro vivaceVery Fast172 - 176 bpm
3 more rows

What are the 3 types of tempo? ›

Instrumental music with three kinds of tempo (fast tempo: >120 bpm, presto and allegro; medium tempo: 76–120 bpm, moderato and andante; and slow tempo: 60–76 bpm, adagio and larghetto) was selected by three music professors.

What tempo is very slow? ›

A slow tempo is considered – largo (40–60 bpm), larghetto (60–66 bpm) and adagio (66–76 bpm). These 3 fall into the category of what is known as a 'slow tempo' in music. Slow tempos are typically anything below 80 beats per minute.

What is example of tempo? ›

For instance, a tempo notated as 60 BPM would mean that a beat sounds exactly once per second. A 120 BPM tempo would be twice as fast, with two beats per second. In terms of musical notation, a beat almost always corresponds with the piece's time signature.

What's another name for sonata? ›

In this page you can discover 16 synonyms, antonyms, idiomatic expressions, and related words for sonata, like: concerto, partita, sonatina, scherzo, Op. 18, op-17, fugue, chaconne, sonatas, concerti and nocturne.

What are the 3 movements of sonata? ›

The basic elements of sonata form are three: exposition, development, and recapitulation, in which the musical subject matter is stated, explored or expanded, and restated.

What are the 4 movements of a sonata? ›

The sonata da chiesa usually consists of four movements, in the order slow–fast–slow–fast.

What is it called when a song gets faster? ›

Accelerando (accel.) Quickening; a gradual speeding up of the tempo.

What symbol means very soft? ›

pppianissimo (very soft)
ppiano (soft)
mpmezzo-piano (medium soft)
mfmezzo-forte (medium loud)
fforte (loud)
1 more row

What is it called when a song changes tempo? ›

Tempo rubato (UK: /ˈtɛmpoʊ rʊˈbɑːtoʊ/, US: /ruː-/, Italian: [ˈtɛmpo ruˈbaːto]; 'free in the presentation', literally Italian for 'stolen time') is a musical term referring to expressive and rhythmic freedom by a slight speeding up and then slowing down of the tempo of a piece at the discretion of the soloist or the ...

Videos

1. Andante Meaning
(SDictionary)
2. Andante - Meaning | Pronunciation || Word Wor(l)d - Audio Video Dictionary
(Word Wor(l)d)
3. Music Theory Lesson Tempo
(MusicTheoryAcademy)
4. What Is Tempo | Explaining Tempo | Musician's Addition
(Musician's Addition)
5. Episode 4 - Tempo | Andante, Adagio, Allegro, Presto | The Itsy Bitsy Spider
(Maestro's Magical Music Box)
6. Tempo - Andante, Moderato, Allegro
(Alan Smith)

Top Articles

You might also like

Latest Posts

Article information

Author: Ray Christiansen

Last Updated: 11/22/2022

Views: 6240

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (49 voted)

Reviews: 80% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Ray Christiansen

Birthday: 1998-05-04

Address: Apt. 814 34339 Sauer Islands, Hirtheville, GA 02446-8771

Phone: +337636892828

Job: Lead Hospitality Designer

Hobby: Urban exploration, Tai chi, Lockpicking, Fashion, Gunsmithing, Pottery, Geocaching

Introduction: My name is Ray Christiansen, I am a fair, good, cute, gentle, vast, glamorous, excited person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.