Concepts of music – Duration – Tempo
Students will explore the Italian terms of Lento, Andante, Moderato, Allegro and Presto.
There are many different Italian terms used to describe speed in music. So as not to overwhelm students, focus on 5. In this lesson sequence we will focus on Lento, Andante, Moderato, Allegro and Presto.
- 4.1 performs in a range of musical styles demonstrating an understanding of musical concepts.
- 4.4 demonstrates an understanding of musical concepts through exploring, experimenting, improvising.
- 4.12 demonstrates a developing confidence and willingness to engage in performing, composing and listening experiences.
- 5.1 performs repertoire with increasing levels of complexity in a range of musical styles demonstrating an understanding of the musical concepts.
- 5.12 demonstrates a developing confidence and willingness.
Internalising a beat.
Students will research the definition of the 5 core Italian duration terms. They will then learn to internalise the beat and identify these terms, by:
- walking in time to the beat of 5 different tempos (life skills activity)
- playing a game that identifies 5 different tempos
- performing the first 8 bars of Beethoven's Ode to Joy in time with a metronome, using 5 different tempos
- completing a worksheet of real-life scenarios and relating them to Italian words describing tempo (extension activity).
- information and communication technology
All activities require students to demonstrate their learning and are all assessment for learning activities.
Teaching and learning activities
Students will research the definition and approximate bpm (beats per minute) of each of the 5 core Italian terms:
- Lento – slowly, 45 to 60bpm
- Andante – at a walking pace, 76 to 108bpm
- Moderato – at a moderate speed, 108 to 120bpm
- Allegro – fast and lively, 120 to 168bpm
- Presto – very fast, 128 to 200bpm.
Students will walk to the beat of pieces in different tempos. The following pieces are suggested as examples :
Students will listen to an excerpt of a piece of music and then move to the corresponding tempo term. The 5 Italian terms can be printed as individual signs and placed around the room. The following pieces are suggested as examples:
Students will perform the first 8 bars of Beethoven's Ode to Joy in the different tempos, using a metronome as an indicator of speed.
A metronome may be accessible on keyboards, as a free app, a website or on YouTube. This task can also be done as a whole class activity with the pulse amplified through speakers. The music for this exercise can be downloaded for:
- complete the tempo scenarios sheet (PDF 4.27 MB). This includes the expressive techniques terms, ritardando and accelerando, which manipulate the concept of duration.
- LS 1 a student uses movement, vocalisation or instruments to respond to a range of music.
- participate in the movement activity by physically moving all or part of the body.
- hit a drum or other percussion instrument in response to different tempos.
Feedback is formative during the lessons. Students will successfully internalise the beat by moving or playing in time with different tempos and use correct Italian terms to identify tempos.
Tempo example videos
- Reckless by Australian Crawl
- History by Olivia Holt
- Kiss this Thing Goodbye by Del Amitri
- Castle on the Hill by Ed Sheeran
- Lacrimosa Lullaby by Karl Jenkins
- Million Reasons by Lady Gaga
- Sun Dirt Water by The Waifs
- Feel Invincible by Skillet
- Highway Star by Deep Purple
- A Little Party Never Killed Nobody by Fergie
Syllabus outcomes and content descriptors from Music 7–10 Syllabus (2003) © NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) for and on behalf of the Crown in right of the State of New South Wales, 2017.