Tempo dial markings
From Bounce Metronome
This is the tempo dial for Bounce Metronome Pro
How to decide what tempo to use
The tempo may be marked on the score as Quarter note = 92 (say) (or as crotchet = 92 in the UK). That means that the tempo for the quarter notes is 92 beats per minute.
So set the dial to that tempo and then play so that your quarter notes are in time with the metronome ticks. The tempo may be given for other sizes of notes e.g. eighth notes, then the process is similar except this time you play so that your eighth notes are in time with the ticks.
In Bounce Metronome's tempo dial] you can set the tempo to any number in bpm even outside the range of a normal dial, and even fractional beats per minute e.g. 60.5 or whatever.
Tap at Tempo
Also, you can tap at the desired tempo with the BACKSPACE key - this works almost anywhere in Bounce Metronome Pro and is very handy if you want to vary the tempo while practicing on a musical instrument.
Typical tempo ranges for a modern metronome
The tempo ranges shown on the dial are typical of modern metronomes.
The tempo ranges used were:
Over 200 Prestissimo
168 to 200 Presto
120 to 168 Allegro
108 to 120 Moderato
76 to 108 Andante
66 to 76 Adagio
60 to 66 Larghetto
40 to 60 Largo
Below 40 Larghissimo
So for instance, on a typical metronome, 100 bpm is moderato, 150 bpm is Allegro and 200 bpm is Presto.
To get an idea of typical values for tempo markings, see the wikipedia article on Tempo
However they are just indications, and it's well to not be too tied down to these numbers - except in pieces where the composer actually indicates in the score that you must follow a particular number of beats per minute.
Tempo names are often more to do with the feel of the music
This is another page with a list of many examples of tempo indications in BPM for the different tempo markings. It gives an idea of how variable they can be - Dolmetsch Music Theory on-line - Tempo - Table of Tempo Markings.
Indeed, the tempo names are often more to do with the feel of the music than anything you can measure exactly in beats per minute. So it wouldn't be wrong to play these tempi outside the range given on the metronome, e.g. an Andante below 76, or above 108.
Andante in particular has an association with walking, sometimes translated as "at a walking pace", though if you look at the article, there is more to it than that, anyway the range of tempi for Andante is roughly the same as normal walking tempi, from well over one beat a second to well under two beats a second (beyond that it is more like running).
Here is the interesting article by Charles Rosen on Andante which is quoted in that dolmetsch article: Charles Rosen on Andante
In modern music if an exact tempo in beats per minute is required, then normally the desired BPM figure will be written in the score, maybe in addition to a tempo name for a guide to the "feel" of the piece.
Get Bounce Metronome Pro
Download your Free Test Drive of Bounce Metronome Pro Now (with free taster metronome yours to keep)! It's easy to use - just choose a preset rhythm and click on the dial to set the tempo - and has many special features to help with your metronome practise.
I also maintain a list of other software and on-line metronomes, which you can find here:
I'm Robert Walker, the inventor and programmer for Bounce Metronome Pro. These Many Ways to Use a Metronome pages arise out of the research I did for the program, and feedback from users of the software.