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Student NotesWe've seen "dynamics and articulation" so what would come next? What is another way to generate interest in a song? How about changing the tempo? There are 3 common ways that composers change tempo in a song. They are:

  • ritardando (rit. or ritard)
  • A tempo (a tempo)
  • accelerando (accel.)

"Ritard" tells the player to gradually and smoothly slow down. "A tempo" tells the player to return to the original tempo after a slow down or a speed up. "Accel." tells the player to gradually and smoothly speed up. In the figure above, "a tempo" and "ritard' is shown. Notice the wavy line after rit.? As with dynamic line markings, this tells the player what measure(s) or what part of the song to slow down. The wavy line is the length of the ritard. In the example above the ritard is expressed over roughly 5 quarter notes.

12 Note Companion
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