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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)


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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
up vote 25 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".

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

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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.

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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 '15 at 7:44

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