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Is there a difference between tempo and bpm (beats per minute ) ? Or is one just more precise than the other?

5

Tempo is a convention (allegro, andante, presto, etc...), i.e. A subjective approach to music timing. BPM are the number of beats happening in a minute, i.e. an objective approach.

5

It's the difference between length and meters. Tempo is the concept, BPM is the measurement.

2

Tempo is vague - purposely - to allow some musical licence for performers. On one of my metronomes, andante spans 120-150, whereas another spans 76-108. One official note is 'moving along but not slow'. If that lot's not vague!

BPM is actual, so a lot, lot more exact. Not so important for a classical piece, say, but for a particular dance, paramountly so. Having said that, a lot of tracks that are marked at a specific bpm can move +/- 5% or so, because that's what the music makes the players do, to an extent, especially when playing live.

0

Tempo means 'speed'. It can be defined loosely by terms such as 'Allegro', 'Lento' etc. It can be defined more precisely by a mm mark or BPM figure. There are words that convey a mood as well as a speed. 'Giocoso' means 'Merrily' which implies more than just a bright tempo. We could argue over whether to classify it as a Tempo term or something else. Here's a selection of 'Tempo plus' terms:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tempo#Mood_markings_with_a_tempo_connotation

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