The Nutcracker #dec2020

1. What is a tempo?

2. Name 4 tempos and define them.

3. What ballet takes place on Christmas Eve?

4. Name 2 pieces from the ballet.

5. What is your tempo as a person?Name another person and their tempo.

Musical composer Tchaikovsky’s 1892 ballet “The Nutcracker” is based on a story by German author E.T.A. Hoffmann from 1812. In The Nutcracker, a Christmas present — a nutcracker — comes to life as a handsome prince. He takes the young girl who received him as a present on some fantastic adventures.

The music of the ballet has many different tempos. Tempo is the speed at which a piece of music is played. The words used for tempos are written in Italian.

Some musical tempos include:

  • Largo—the most commonly indicated “slow” tempo (40–60 BPM) 
  • Adagio—another popular slow tempo, which translates to mean “at ease” (66–76 BPM) 
  • Andante—a popular tempo that translates as “at a walking pace” (76–108 BPM) 
  • Moderato—moderately (108–120 BPM) 
  • Allegro—perhaps the most frequently used tempo marking (120–168 BPM, which includes the “heartbeat tempo” sweet spot) 
  • Vivace—lively and fast (typically around 168-176 BPM) 
  • Presto—the most popular way to write “very fast” and a common tempo in fast movements of symphonies (ranges from 168–200 BPM) 

What tempos fit the music from these Nutcracker examples below:

1. Overture

2. Trepak

3. March

4. Waltz of the flowers

5. Dance of the sugar plum fairy

6. Pas de Deux