Terms of Musical Expression

The links below provide more terms, including Italian, French and German, all needed to pass the theory exams.

Alphabetised by 'Musical Term'

English
Symbol
Musical Term
Language
at choice, meaning that a passage may be played freely
ad libitum, ad lib.
Italian
rather slow (faster than adagio)
adagietto
Italian
agitated
agitato
Italian
with a minim beat, equivalent to 2/2, implying a faster tempo than the note values might otherwise suggest
alla breve
Italian
love (amoroso – loving)
amore
Italian
soul, spirit
anima
Italian
becoming lively
animando
Italian
animated, lively
animato
Italian
well
ben
Italian
vigour
brio
Italian
convenient, comfortable
comodo
Italian
with determination
deciso
Italian
delicate
delicato
Italian
energetic
energico
Italian
force
forza
Italian
broadly
largamente
Italian
light, nimble
leggiero
Italian
emphatic, accented
marcato / marc.
Italian
in a military style
marziale
Italian
sad
mesto
Italian
heavy
pesante
Italian
first
prima / primo
Italian
bold, strong
risoluto
Italian
rhythmically
ritmico
Italian
with some freedom of time
rubato / tempo rubato
Italian
playful, joking
scherzando / scherzoso
Italian
second
seconda / secondo
Italian
simple, plain
semplice
Italian
always
sempre
Italian
gradually getting faster
stringendo
Italian
suddenly
subito
Italian
so much
tanto
Italian
calm
tranquillo
Italian
sad, sorrowful
triste / tristamente
Italian
time (prima volta – first time, seconda volta – second time)
volta
Italian