What Does Andante Mean in Music?


Quick Answer

In music, andante means to play at a moderately slow tempo. It is commonly described as playing at an easy walking pace.

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Full Answer

Andante is Italian, as are most terms related to tempo in music, and literally means "ordinary." It dates back to the 17th century, when most of the prominent composers of the time were Italian and tempos were first measured and codified.

It wasn't until the early 19th century that the metronome was invented and composers used mathematical tempos in their work. Beethoven was the first composer to use the metronome in his work. In 1817, he started publishing beats per minute alongside the Italian indications for tempo in all of his scores.

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