Part 13 Tem­pos and changes

In his penul­ti­mate mu­sic read­ing les­son Char­lie Griffiths de­scribes some of the com­monly used terms as­so­ci­ated with tem­pos and tempo changes in mu­si­cal sit­u­a­tions.

Guitar Techniques - - LESSON: ROCKSCHOOL -

means that you should grad­u­ally de­crease the speed. Ri­tar­dando is some­times ab­bre­vi­ated to “ri­tard.” or “rit.”. sim­i­larly, a dot­ted line above the score in­di­cates the amount of bars to be slowed down.

Ral­len­tando is an­other term which in­di­cates a slow­ing down in tempo which is es­sen­tially the same as ri­tar­dando, but ral­len­tando (or ‘rall’ for short) is usu­ally placed at the end of a piece of mu­sic and is of­ten a more dra­matic drop in tempo which brings a song to and end.

Fi­nally we have fer­mata which is best in­ter­preted as a mo­men­tary pause in the song, and usu­ally used as an ef­fec­tive way to build

Some­times tempi are writ­ten tra­di­tion­ally, us­ing Ital­ian de­scrip­tions to de­note the speed of a piece: Ada­gio, An­dante, Mod­er­ato, etc.

the an­tic­i­pa­tion of an end­ing note or chord, but they can also be used within a piece too. the fer­mata sym­bol is some­times re­ferred to as a ‘bird­s­eye’, or ‘cy­clops’ as it is drawn as a sin­gle dot, with a curved line above it. A fer­mata can be placed above any note and ef­fec­tively pro­longs that note for an un­spec­i­fied time. The ex­act amount that the note is pro­longed is an artis­tic de­ci­sion left up to the mu­si­cian, or con­duc­tor. In rock and pop mu­sic, the drum­mer of the band will usu­ally as­sume the role of con­duc­tor for th­ese mo­ments and vis­ually cue the band to come in on the fol­low­ing note with a com­bi­na­tion of eye con­tact and the phys­i­cal mo­tion of his sticks. singers also some­times adopt this role.

A fer­mata sym­bol can also be placed over a bar­line, which in­di­cates a pause at the end of a sec­tion within the piece.

the fol­low­ing ex­am­ples demon­strate how some of th­ese tempo mark­ings work in prac­tice. Fol­low the no­ta­tion while lis­ten­ing to the au­dio ex­am­ples and try recre­at­ing the parts over the back­ing tracks pro­vided.

Whether speed­ing up, slow­ing down or stay­ing steady there is a term for them all

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