I am currently studying Simandl's 30 Studies for String Bass, and on the 6th one I came upon this term:

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Since I'm not acquainted with Italian Musical Terms, I used this site to find out what Poco Meno means.

poco -> a little
meno -> less

But I'm not sure what that is supposed to mean. A little less what?

5 Answers 5


Generally it is to do with speed/tempo. Poco= a little, meno = less, so, a teensy bit slower. Slower than marked, or slower than you played the bit before. Often followed by 'mosso'.

  • 2
    "Generally it is to do with tempo": furthermore, in this case it is clearly printed in the position and typeface of a tempo indication.
    – phoog
    Commented Feb 9, 2021 at 16:35
  • Not sure I understand the comment. The legend may also indicate how the piece is played, not merely what its tempo is. And often, the wording gives a lot of leeway to tempo.
    – Tim
    Commented Feb 9, 2021 at 17:07
  • 1
    I understood @phoog's comment immediately: in the "classical" piano music I play, that physical location of the words, as well as fontsize, absolutely say "tempo comment/marking" to me. :) Commented Aug 7, 2022 at 4:21

Not as a musician, which I am even though not on this kind of stuff unfortunately, but as a translator, even though usually the way round en-it, what I get from it in Italian is that you should do a little less than what they prompted you to do earlier, whatever it was; maybe a forte or such; but not too much less, just a little. Hope it helps!


In my edition of Harriet Cohen's transcription of Bach's 'Ertödt uns durch dein' Gute' the phrase 'meno' appears regularly, on its own. I think it means 'less' of the previous crescendos, Fortes etc. in the previous passages i.e. a return to normal tempo and loudness.

  • 1
    This would be true if not for the fact that the instruction appears above the staff in the position and graphical style of a tempo indication. If it were related to dynamics it would be below the staff and in the same typeface as pesante.
    – phoog
    Commented Feb 9, 2021 at 16:33
  • 1
    Again, I agree with @phoog on this... Commented Aug 7, 2022 at 4:22

From Harvard Dictionary of Music 2nd Edition (Apel)

Meno (It.): less Poco: (It.): little

'Poco meno' is ambiguous. I saw the expression in 'Glass The Piano Collection' too.


"Poco meno" is ambiguous. A little less what indeed? As it's combined with "pesante" and a "f" dynamic (what was the preceding dynamic?) we can guess it's not asking for a smaller sound. Probably a little less speed. Watch the conductor and see what HE thinks it means!

  • 3
    It's a study for string bass. Conductor?
    – Tim
    Commented Dec 14, 2015 at 14:18

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