Song 1 Song 2

The images are starting part of two different songs in Guitar Pro 6. My question is about the things that I circled in red.

I get that they indicate bpm. But what does the word Moderate mean there? Why the other song doesn't have the word Moderate?

3 Answers 3


Moderate or Moderato is a convention from back before the invention and widespread use of the quartz-powered metronome. Tempo markings are a relatively recent invention, and they are used for their simplicity and accuracy. However, many composers choose to omit them because the "idea" of the tempo of the piece is more important than an absolute value.

Other uses will indicate a range of metronome markings (BPM), or add a word like "Moderato" to give the player an idea of the "flavor", or style of the piece of music. In this case, (and in my opinion), Moderate indicates "Don't go nuts with the tempo!" here, since the classical tempo equivalences tend to put "moderato" around q=110, and q=158 to be somewhere in the zone of vivace, presto, or allegro vivace.


The word Moderate indicates the name for the tempo; each tempo has a different name. Here is a list of the names:

adagio:         very slow.
allegretto:     fairly quick, slightly slower than allegro.
allegro:        lively, rather quick.
andante:        rather slow, at a moderate, walking pace.
andantino:      this used to mean a little slower than andante, but now it usually means a little faster than andante.
con moto:       with movement, or a certain quickness.
grave:          extremely slow and solemn.
largamente:     broadly.
larghetto:      less slow than largo.
largo:          slow and broad.
lentamente:     slowly.
lento:          slow.
moderato:       moderate pace.
prestissimo:    as quick as possible.
presto:         very quick.
rapido:         rapid.
veloce:         with velocity.
vivace:         quick and lively.

As you can see, Moderate (in Italian Moderato) means that the speed of the song is a moderate pace

  • Is there a need for the colons? I don't know, they just bother me.
    – Cole Tobin
    Apr 11, 2014 at 19:19

It's actually pretty pointless putting 'moderato' there, as a proper tempo is written. This gives exactly the speed of the piece, in beats per minute, each beat being shown as a crotchet.Back in the Classical days, composers would put the Italian words, which gave a rough to fairly good idea as to the pace of the piece.

Nowadays, it's more usual to put the actual tempo, in b.p.m and indicate what constitutes 'a beat'.

If 158bpm is 'moderato', then 81 bpm will be nearly half that speed, given that each uses a crotchet as the 'beat'.By the way, the number of beats in each bar will have no bearing on the speed the piece gets played.

On one metronome I have, 'moderato' is 108 to 120 bpm, so why that's marked as such on guitarpro, I don't know.

  • 1
    I don't think that's part of Guitarpro's code, at least not this example -- it's probably just text provided by whoever created the Guitarpro file.
    – NReilingh
    Apr 11, 2014 at 16:27
  • @NReilingh If it's just text, why would it change to the bpm I set by selecting t=158 from the Sound menu of the software. Apr 12, 2014 at 4:07
  • @AmarDuplantier I don't know the software, but I'm not sure what you mean either. Does the text vary based on the BPM that you set?
    – NReilingh
    Apr 12, 2014 at 21:23
  • @NReilingh Yes, the text vary when I set the BPM from the menu. Apr 13, 2014 at 8:10
  • This is a option of Guitar Pro, you can choose to display the "speed name" or not with the tempo. I'm not sure where you set that though, maybe in the stylesheet (F7). I though you would set this name manually but as you noticed, it seems that GP does it automatically.
    – Julien N
    Apr 16, 2014 at 12:43

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