Fire & Hemlock

Rene Fleischbein rene_fleischbein at
Wed May 11 15:50:50 EDT 2005

Hi Jenny & All,

Because I am using Fire and Hemlock in my thesis I asked an Italian friend 
to translate these words.  She said they were very specialized words for 
music and sent them to her mother to have them explained by an Italian music 
teacher.  My friend then translated the explanation that was given.  Here it 

They are conventional terms used to define the general character of a 
musical piece, or part of one. The most common terms are usually written at 
the beginning of the music page (?); from the SLOWEST to the FASTEST, they 
are as follows: grave (40); largo (48); lento (60); adagio (69); andante 
(80); andantino (100); moderato  (108); allegretto (116); allegro (120); 
allegro assai 160); vivace (168); presto  (184); prestissimo (200).
The number in parentheses correspond to the number of beats per minute. The 
metronome is the instrument used to measure their pace.
Oftentimes the abovementioned terms are accompanied by adjectives which are 
used to define the expressive character of the musical piece. Therefore, 
"allegro vivace" is a fast-paced, happy piece between 120 and 168 beats per 
minute (for example, the first movement of Symphony #40 'Jupiter' by 
Mozart); "andante cantabile" is a bit slower than a normal walk, reminds of 
a stroll in a quiet place, with pleasant sounds (the second movement of the 
abovementiones symphony); "allegro con fuoco" is hard to describe with 
words, but listen to the finale of Concert #1 for piano and orchestra by 
Tchaikovsky; "presto molto agitato" is illustrated by the finale of Symphony 
#9 by Beethoven; "scherzando" results "funny", but check the second movement 
of Symphony #8 by Beethoven.

I hope it helps. I don't know how much classical music you have access to, 
but if you need I can see if I manage to download any of them, or if I 
already have them on my computer. You might also find useful help here:, it's a dictionary of musical terms 
online. They have the original words in Italian and the explanation in 


As my friend told me, I hope this helps...

>From: Jenny Holmstrom <Jenny.Holmstrom at>
>Reply-To: dwj at
>To: dwj at
>Subject: Fire & Hemlock
>Date: Wed, 11 May 2005 18:48:05 +0200
>I'm currently reading "Fire & Hemlock" (I'm just about to start reading 
>Part Two). I've had the book in my bookshelf for quite a while now, so it's 
>about time...
>I really do like this book!
>I have a question though. Do any of you know what the musical terms means?
>allegro vivace
>andante cantabile
>allegro con fuoco
>presto molto agitato
>To unsubscribe, email dwj-request at with the body "unsubscribe".
>Visit the archives at

To unsubscribe, email dwj-request at with the body "unsubscribe".
Visit the archives at

More information about the Dwj mailing list