- Music. relative rapidity or rate of movement, usually indicated by such terms as adagio, allegro, etc., or by reference to the metronome.
- characteristic rate, rhythm, or pattern of work or activity: the tempo of city life.
- 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
- resuming the speed obtained preceding ritardando or accelerando.
Origin of a tempo
Related Words for tempopace, cadence, momentum, velocity, downbeat, measure, meter, rate, pulse, time, speed, bounce
Examples from the Web for tempo
Contemporary Examples of tempo
At the same time, it has escalated the tempo of aerial bombardment and resumed its scorched earth campaign against civilians.Satellites Correctly Predict Military Campaign Against Civilians in Sudan
December 9, 2013
Rather it is the time to increase the size and tempo of guerrilla attacks even through the coming, bitterly cold Afghan winter.Taliban’s Quetta Shura Meet in Islamabad to Press for Peace
November 1, 2013
Crisis, pause, crisis, pause: this has been the tempo of North Korean behavior since the end of the Cold War.What Can We Do About North Korea?
April 5, 2013
Now, with the campaign over, President Obama must set the tempo for a second term.What Progressives Want From Obama’s Second Term
November 26, 2012
With Bachmann hanging back, Romney seized control of the tempo in what may have been his strongest performance so far.Romney Puts Perry on Defensive
September 13, 2011
Historical Examples of tempo
And outside that foul transparent pit the tempo quickened also.Under Arctic Ice
The ticking did not change its tempo until she came to her waist.The Moon is Green
Fritz Reuter Leiber
Tempo: Adagio lamentoso, with occasionally a rise to andante maesto.A Book of Burlesques
H. L. Mencken
He speaks of three kinds of tempo—lively, moderate and slow.A Popular History of the Art of Music
W. S. B. Mathews
He and his baton are your friends and are giving you your tempo.The Art of Stage Dancing
- 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
- rate or pace
Word Origin for tempo
- to the original tempo
- a passage thus marked
Word Origin for a tempo
"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.
In music, the speed at which a piece is performed. It is the Italian word for “time.”