"Allegro ben moderato"

• Aug 24, 2019 - 19:18

According to Google Translate, a literal translation of "ben" from Italian to English is "well," so I'm left wondering exactly what the tempo directive "Allegro ben moderato" is supposed to mean (presently, I have it at 128 bpm). Thanks!


In reply to by OlyDLG

I would take "ben" to mean "quite" so I would translate this Quite moderately allegro which I would interpret to mean at the slower end of moderately allegro. The exact meanings of words like allegro have changed throughout the years. Anything that isn't an actual BPM is subject to individual preference.

The first word specifies the speed: Allegro => Fast or Happy / Cheerful
The second word indicates the type of speed: Moderato = Moderate
the middle word supports the second: ben => good, well, high

Means: well-Moderately Fast

How fast? : Maybe between allegro and moderato => 118 ?

Beethoven said, "The metronome is a silly gadget: you must know the tempi!"

Listen to the music-piece with different metronomes and you decide the best tempi. :)

Maybe with a cheerful / happy feeling and just moderato tempo? = 100 ?

In reply to by Ziya Mete Demircan

Strictly speaking "moderato" is the past participle of "moderare", to moderate. Then "ben(e)" is the adverb "well", so it means "Well-moderated allegro". Perhaps a better translation would be "restrained", as opposed to "allegro furioso" or similar, so it would mean "very restrained allegro". All this has to do with indicating the mood of the music, not representing mechanical speed directions. (Just what Beethoven said)

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