What Does Andante Mean in Music?

By Michael Black
Andante is a tempo marking.

Andante is a tempo marking that tells the musician how fast a piece of music is supposed to be played. Tempo markers help to keep music at a uniform speed, no matter who is playing the song.

Beats per Minute

Andante means to play music at a moderate pace. In terms of beats per minute (bpm), andante can mean anything from 58 bpm to 108 bpm. This is a wide range of tempos, so often times the bpm is listed on the sheet music near the word "andante."

Etymology

Andante is Italian in origin. It is a form of the Italian word for andare (meaning "to go"), but it has often been translated as "moving along" or "walking pace." According to the online etymology dictionary, the word originated in 1742.

Other Tempo Markings

More than 20 different Italian tempo markings exist. The slowest of these markings is grave, and veloce is the quickest. Other common tempo markings are, from slowest to fastest, largo, lento, allegro and presto.

About the Author

Michael Black has been a freelance writer based in South Central Pennsylvania since 2010. He graduated from York College of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Arts degree in professional writing. He has written music- and writing-related articles for various websites.