- The speed of the
beat of a piece of music is indicated at the
start of a piece of music, and by convention appears at the top left,
just above the first stave.
- This indication
can be done in explicit terms by saying how many beats per minute and/or
in more subjective terms by using a
direction word or phrase.
- If beats per minute are specified, this is called a metronome marking
and is written in the form "mm x = nn"
where mm stands for metronome, x is a small graphical representation of the
note length which is the
(e.g. crotchet or minim), and nn is the
number of these beats per minute. Sometimes, the "mm" is left out.
- In fact, historically speaking, mm stands for Maelzel's Metronome,
after the man who invented the metronome in the early 1800's.
- So in the example below, each crotchet takes just over one second:
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