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tempo

[tem-poh] /ˈtɛm poʊ/
noun, plural tempos, tempi
[tem-pee] /ˈtɛm pi/ (Show IPA)
1.
Music. relative rapidity or rate of movement, usually indicated by such terms as adagio, allegro, etc., or by reference to the metronome.
2.
characteristic rate, rhythm, or pattern of work or activity:
the tempo of city life.
3.
Chess. the gaining or losing of time and effectiveness relative to one's continued mobility or developing position, especially with respect to the number of moves required to gain an objective:
Black gained a tempo.
Origin of tempo
1680-1690
1680-90; < Italian < Latin tempus time

a tempo

[ah-tem-poh; Italian ah-tem-paw] /ɑˈtɛm poʊ; Italian ɑˈtɛm pɔ/
adverb, Music.
1.
resuming the speed obtained preceding ritardando or accelerando.
Origin
1730-40; < Italian: in (the regular) time
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for tempo
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Then I may pick out a waltz number and try a few steps to that ¾ tempo.

  • These two steps are done in four measures of 4/4 tempo in the centre of the stage.

  • American competition gone, the tempo of businesslife seemed to run slower and slower.

  • These are done in eight measures of 4/4 tempo in the centre of the stage.

  • The tempo throughout this part is 80 and the rhythm strongly marked.

    The Tinguian Fay-Cooper Cole
British Dictionary definitions for tempo

tempo

/ˈtɛmpəʊ/
noun (pl) -pos, -pi (-piː)
1.
the speed at which a piece or passage of music is meant to be played, usually indicated by a musical direction (tempo marking) or metronome marking
2.
rate or pace
Word Origin
C18: from Italian, from Latin tempus time

a tempo

/ɑː ˈtɛmpəʊ/
adjective, adverb
1.
to the original tempo
noun
2.
a passage thus marked
Also tempo primo
Word Origin
Italian: in (the original) time
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for tempo
n.

"relative speed of a piece of music," 1724, from Italian tempo, literally "time" (plural tempi), from Latin tempus (genitive temporis) "time" (see temporal). Extended to non-musical senses 1898.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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tempo in Culture

tempo definition


In music, the speed at which a piece is performed. It is the Italian word for “time.”

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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9
11
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