A – At, to, by
A Cappella – (lit, in the church style.) Unaccompanied vocal music
Accelerando, Accel. – Gradually faster
Ad libitum, Ad lib. – At pleasure. The speed and manner of performance are left to the performer
Adagio – Slow
Adagietto – Rather slow
Adagissimo – Very slow
Affrettando – Hurrying, pressing onwards
Agitato – Agitated
Alla Breve – Formerly stood for four minims in a bar, now more often indicates two minim beats.
Allargando – Getting slower, with an implication also of generally bigger tone.
Allegro – Lively, fast
Allegretto – Rather lively (but less so than Allegro)
Andante – (lit, walking). At a moderate pace
Andantino – Alternatively faster or slower than Andante.
Animato – Animated
A piacere – At pleasure
Appassionato – Passionately
Appoggiatura – A grace-note
Assai – Very
A tempo – In time, i.e. resuming normal speed after a deviation


Bravura (con.) – (With) boldness and spirit
Breve – (lit, short). Originally a note of relatively short duration, but now the longest note, equal to four minims
Brillante – Brilliant(With) boldness and spirit
Breve – (lit, short). Originally a note of relatively short duration, but now the longest note, equal to four minims
Brillante – Brilliant


Calando – Decreasing both tone and speed
Cantabile – In a singing style
Capo – (lit, head). The beginning (da capo-from the beginning)
Coda – (lit, a tail.) A passage added at the end of a movement to make a satisfactory finish
Con – With
Crescendo, Cresc. – Becoming gradually louder


Da – From
Da capo, D.C. – From the beginning
Dal segno, D.S. – From the sign
Decrescendo, Decresc. – Becoming gradually softer
Delicato – Delicate
Diminuendo, Dim. – Becoming gradually softer
Dolce – Tenderly, sweetly
Dolcissimo, Dolciss. – Very gently, very sweetly
Dolente – Sadly


Energico – With energy
Espressione – Expression
Espressivo, Espr., Espress. – With expression


Fine – The end
Forte, f – Loud
Forte piano, fp – Loud, then soft
Fortissimo, ff or fff – Very loud
Forza – Force
Forzando, fz – Forcing, a sudden accent
Furioso – Furiously


Giocoso – Gay, merry
Giusto, Tempo giusto – Strict, exact
In strict time
Grandioso – Grandly, in the grand manner
Grave – Very slow, solemn
Grazia – Grace
Grazioso – Gracefully


Impetuoso – Impetuously
Incalzando – Increasing speed, with often an implication of increasing tone


Lacrimoso – (lit, tearfully.) Sadly
Lamentoso – Mournfully
Largamente – Broadly
Larghetto – Less slow than largo
Largo – Slow and stately
Legato – Smooth
Legatissimo – As smoothly as possible
Leggiero – Light, delicate
Lento – Slow
L’istesso tempo – (lit, the same speed.) The speed of the beat remains the same although the notation changes
Lontano – As from a distance
Lunga pausa – A long pause
Lusingando – In a coaxing style


Ma – But
Ma non troppo – But not too much
Maestoso – Majestically
Mancando – Waning, dying away
Marcato – Marked, accented
Marcia – A march
Martellato – Hammered out
Marziale – Martial
Meno – Less
Meno mosso – Less movement, slower at once
Mesto – Sadly
Mezza voce – (lit, half voice.) In an undertone
Mezzo forte, mf – Moderately loud
Mezzo Piano, mp – Moderately soft
Misterioso – Mysterious
Moderato – Moderate time
Molto – Much. Di molto, very much
Morendo – Dying away
Mosso – Moved, movement
Moto, Movimento – Movement. Doppio movimento, twice as fast


Nobilmente – Nobly. A term much used by Elgar
Non – Not
Non tanto –  Not so much
Non troppo – Not too much


Obbligato – Indispensable, cannot be omitted
Ossia – The word indicates an alternative version of a passage
Ostinato – (lit, obstinate.) Frequently repeated e.g. Basso ostinato a composition in which a bass tune (usually of 4 or 8 bars) is repeated with varied treatment at each repetition


Passionato – Passionately
Pastorale – In a pastoral style
Patetico – With feeling, with pathos
Pausa – A rest
Perdendos – Dying away
Pesante – Heavy, ponderous
Piacevole – Pleasing, agreeable
Piangevole – Plaintively
Piano, p – Soft
Pianissimo, pp or ppp – Very softly
Piu – More
Piu allegro – Quicker, more lively
Piu lento – More slowly
Pui mosso – More movement, quicker
Pochettino – A very little
Pochissimo – As small as possible
Poco – A little
Poco a poco – Little by little
Precipitato, Precipitoso – Precipitately, impetuously
Prestissimo – As fast as possible
Presto – Very quick
Primo – First


Quasi – As if, almost
Quasi recitativo – Like a recitative
Quasi una fantasia – As if it were a fantasia, in the style of a fantasia


Rallentando, RaIl. – Becoming gradually slower
Repetizione, Replica – Repetition
Rigoroso – Strictly
Risoluto – Resolute, bold
Risvegliato – With increased animation
Ritardando, Ritard – Gradually slower
Ritenuto – Held back
Ritmico. – Rhythmically


Scherzando – Playful
Scherzo – A joke
Scherzoso – Playfully
Segno – A sign See Dal segno
Segue – Go on with what follows
Semplice – Simple
Sempre – Always
Senza – Without
Sforzando, Sforzato, sf, sfz – Forcing, accented
Simile – In a like manner
Sin’, Sino – Until
Slargando, Slentado – Gradually slower
Szforzando – Dying away
Soave – Gentle, smooth
Solenne. – Solemn
Sonore – Sonorous, full-toned
Sospirando – Sighing
Sostenuto – Sustained
Sotto voce – In an undertone
Spiritoso – Spirited
Staccato – Detached
Staccatissimo – Very detached
Strepitoso – Noisy, boisterous
Stringendo – Gradually faster
Suave – Gentle, smooth
Subito – Suddenly


Tacet (Lat.) – It is silent
Tanto – So much
Tempo – The speed
Tempo comodo – At a convenient speed
Tempo giusto – In strict time
Tempo primo, Tempo I – Resume the original speed
Tenerezza – Tenderness
Teneramente – Tenderly
Tenuto, Ten – Held
Tosto – Swift, rapid
Tranquillo – Calm, tranquil
Tremolando, Tremolo, Trem. – The rapid repition of a note or rapid alternation of two notes
Trionfale, Trionfante – Triumphant
Troppo – Too much
Tutta forza – The whole power, as loud as possible
Tutti – All


Un, una, uno – One
Un poco – A little


Veloce – Swift, quick
Vibrato – Vibrating
Vigoroso – Boldly, vigorously
Vivace, Vivo – Quick, fast, lively
Vivacissimo – Very lively, with extreme vivacity
Voce – Voice
Volante – Flying
Volti subito, V.S. – Turn the page quickly