Early Music and Historically Informed Performance Practice

Affects in Italian and French Music, and in the Typical Baroque Sonata


Some Italian Affect (Tempo) Terms

Allegra (early C17)
Allegro
merry, lively (i.e. not ‘fast’)
Ad asio (early C17)
Adagio
at ease, relaxed (i.e. not ‘slow’)
Andante
(from andare=to go)
going
(flowing, moving)
(i.e. not ‘slow’)
Largo broad (i.e. not ‘slow’)
Lento slow
Presto fast
Vivace vivacious, full of life (slower than allegro)
Grave heavy, serious (not necessarily slow)

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Some French Affect (Tempo) Terms
and their Italian equivalents

lentement slowly [lento]
gay (gai) gay / merry [allegro]
gayement gaily [allegro]
gracieusement gracefully
vivement brightly [vivace]
légèrement lightly
gravement solemnly [grave]
tendrement tenderly
vîte (viste) fast [presto]
rondement roundly [andante]

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Affect in the typical Baroque Sonata
(from Corelli onwards)

I. 
severe slow allemande
majestic French overture
(esp. dotted Grave opening section)
solemn
proud
II.
resolute fugue (fast)
contented
III.
tender (operatic) arioso/aria
melancholic triple metre / sarabande rhythm
(often with hemiolas)
IV.
light fast allemande
carefree gigue / gavotte / minuet

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