Sign up ×
Music: Practice & Theory Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for musicians, students, and enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I have a song that is just acoustic guitar/vocals/and cello and I don't want to give it a tempo because I enjoy the way it sounds just played at the tempo of whatever emotion I have or venue I'm playing at, etc...

I was just wondering if there was a word for a song without a tempo (just played however I feel/free form)


share|improve this question
Does the song have a consistent tempo once you start playing it, out just changes each time you play it, or does the tempo change as you play it, too? – Kevin Dec 18 '13 at 21:11

3 Answers 3

up vote 24 down vote accepted

The term you are looking for is A piacere (It.). This basically means that the piece should be played at the performers discretion with regard to tempo and rhythm. Literally, "at pleasure".

share|improve this answer

Another term often used is 'Ad Lib.' Ad libitum freely, or do what you like .

share|improve this answer

Check out "tempo rubato."

That is the vocalists instruction to a band when s/he wants it to follow the way it is being sung without regard to the song's usual beat.

share|improve this answer
Welcome to Music.SE! Rubato is a relevant term in this context, and may even be what the OP had in mind. But note that strictly speaking there's still a fixed tempo with rubato – only, not every single beat is actually played on time; rather you fall behind in one place and take up tempo in another. – leftaroundabout Aug 5 at 7:44

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.