Is ""poco a poco accel. fino al misura 25" correct tempo mark in Italian for "step by step accelerate until measure 25"?

  • 2
    There's no harm in being specific, but you can also just say "poco a poco accel.," and then in m 25 "a tempo" Sep 26, 2023 at 22:50

3 Answers 3


Beyond the obvious "accelerando", there are various ways to note a gradual increase in tempo; "di piu in piu animato" (ex. Saint-Saens, Danse Bacchanale, lit. "more and more animated"); "cresc. e stretto poco a poco" (Grieg, In the Hall of the Mountain King, "stretto poco a poco" being literally "gradually tighter" or "narrower", i.e. referring to the time interval between the notes).

As others have pointed out, if the accelerando is not until the end of a piece (in which case one can simply append "al fine"), the end point is more practically indicated by a new tempo marking (coupling it with a rehearsal mark is definitively a good idea) or other mark that makes this clear, such as an extension line for the accelerando. In a case like this, I would very likely pencil in a mark on the sheet music if it were not already present

In any case, although that is a bit moot, and ignoring that musical Italian is not always proper Italian (for ex. "fine" is also feminine), "misura" is grammatically feminine (see the dictionary) and thus, to be strictly correct, it would be "alla misura".

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    Thank you for such a detailed answer. I actually translated from English to Italian via ChatGPT. I guess, it does not know enough about music Italian :-) Sep 27, 2023 at 8:07

Musical directions are not always correct Italian, and don't really need to be as long as the meaning is clear. But a much more usual way of notating something like this is write just "poco a poco accel." and then at M.25 add "a tempo" or give a new tempo indication. Musicians don't read measure numbers while they are playing.

  • Thank you for the suggestion. Sep 27, 2023 at 8:06

Assuming the music wouldn't be performed by an Italian-only orchestra, it may be most effective to simply write that in English.

  • First thought: "well, I want everything in the same language", but then, the title is in English, so it is already two languages :-) Sep 27, 2023 at 14:09
  • I do think tempo indications in English is more and more commonplace these days.
    – nuggethead
    Sep 27, 2023 at 15:31
  • 3
    All classically trained musicians worldwide learn to understand 'musical Italian' but not all of them understand English.
    – PiedPiper
    Sep 27, 2023 at 16:06

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