What is a moderato?
Wondering what moderato means? We reveal more about this musical term.
Different pieces of music are composed with different tempos (or speeds) in mind, and moderato (meaning ‘moderate’ or ‘medium’) is right at the centre of all of them. A little faster than andante (described as walking pace) but not as fast as allegro (usually described as fast and merry), moderato has a nice, steady tempo.
Tempos are measured in beats per minute (BPM) and indicate how quickly or slowly a piece of music should be played. Moderato typically falls between 108-120 BPM on a metronome. Sometimes the exact BPM is included on a score – for example, you might see the word moderato followed by a note symbol and then ‘= 120’.
Examples of moderato music
Classical pieces played with a moderato tempo include Bach’s Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring; Tchaikovsky’s Chant de l’Alouette (Song of the Lark), and the Minuet from Mozart’s Don Giovanni. Listening to these should give you a good idea of what a moderato tempo sounds like.