Allegretto (It., diminutive of allegro)
- David Fallows
(It., diminutive of allegro)
A tempo (and mood) designation, normally indicating something a little less fast, and perhaps a little more lighthearted, than Allegro. But there is some evidence that in Paris around 1800 it was understood to be faster than allegro, most specifically in J.B. Cartier's L'art du violon (Paris, 1798) and in Renaudin's Plexichronomètre readings (see B. Brook La symphonie française, Paris, 1962, i, 318). It is found occasionally in Vivaldi and Domenico Scarlatti, but hardly at all in their precursors, even though Brossard mentioned the word in his Dictionaire of 1703. During the second half of the 18th century it came into special popularity, for the idea of a fastish tempo that should on no account show any sign of hurry was peculiarly appropriate to the galant style. Leopold Mozart (1756) said it should be performed ‘prettily, frivolously and jokily’ (‘artig, tändelend und scherzhaft’). When included in graduated lists of tempo marks it was normally placed between ...