Musical Notation en Italiano 

Musical Notation en Italiano 

Anyone that has experienced the world of music can attest to the first time they opened a piece of music only to be guided by foreign terms. This is because when the rules for music notation were worked out and transcribed, it was all done in Italian around 1000 AD. In fact, Guido of Arezzo created the earliest version of the "heads-and-stems-on-staves" structure that we use today. 

Over the next few hundred years, musicians built on Guido’s system and theorists added useful features like note values, time signatures, and of course musical directions. After some time these terms became quite fashionable, so when the rest of Europe started notating music, Italian was the only logical choice. Below are a few of the most common words one may come across in a piece of music. 


Because Italian is naturally a musical language, it comes as no surprise that it’s universally used for musical directions. While there are some Italian terms like ‘tempo’, ‘adagio’, ‘allegretto’ and ‘rallentando’ which are only used in the context of writing or reading music, some words such as ‘concerto’, ‘piano’, ‘soprano’ and ‘opera’ became so stylish that they eventually made their way into our everyday English musical vocabulary.

We hope you've enjoyed learning about Musical Notation en Italiano! Looking to gain a better understanding into the cultural significance Italy has played in shaping the world of music linguistically? Our culturally immersive group classes taught by native instructors can help you read any foreign notation with ease! Click below for more info!