Foreign Terms

Foreign Terms

Grade 2

At grade 2 you are expected to know the translation for another 32 foreign terms that are found in music.
Additionally, you are still required to remember the original grade 1 terms, meaning in total there are 62 foreign terms you need to remember!

I have found, personally, the best method for remembering these is using Memrise.
Memrise is a free app/website designed to help you memorise different foreign terms, originally designed for learning langugages.
However, there is a ABRSM foreign term course developed by users, available here.
It helped me quite a lot and is definitely worth a shot.

There is also Test yourself post on ABRSM’s forums by another user.
This post has a list of the foreign terms, and when you highlight a term you will be able to see it’s translation.

Sadly there are no shortcuts, and it is a pain to learn. Foreign terms are only a few marks however, but learning them early also means a guarenteed few easy marks!


Grade 2 Terms

  • A – At, to, by, for, in, in the style of
  • Al, alla – To the / in the manner of
  • Allargando – Broadening (getting a little slower and a little louder)
  • Allegro assai – Very quick
  • Andantino – Slightly faster than andante
  • Assai – Very (e.g. allegro assai – very quick)
  • Con, col – With
  • Dolce – Sweet, soft
  • E, ed – And
  • Espressivo (or espress or espr) – Expressive
  • fp (= fortepiano) – Loud then immediately soft
  • Giocoso – Playful, merry
  • Grave – Very slow, solemn
  • Grazioso – Graceful
  • Larghetto – Rather slow (but not as slow as largo)
  • Largo – Slow, stately
  • Ma – But
  • Maestoso – Majestic
  • Marcia – March
  • Meno – Less
  • Molto – Very, much
  • Mosso, moto – Movement (meno mosso: slower; con moto: with movement)
  • Non – Not
  • Piu – More
  • Presto – Fast
  • Senza – Without
  • Sforzando, sforzato (sf, sfz) – Forced, accented
  • Simile (or sim.) – In the same way
  • Sostenuto – Sustained
  • Tenuto – Held
  • Troppo – Too much (non troppo: not too much)
  • Vivace, vivo – Lively, quick

Grade 1 Terms

  • A Tempo – In Time
  • Accelerando (Accel.) – Gradually getting quicker
  • Adagio – Slow
  • Allegretto – Fairly quick, but not quite as quick as allegro
  • Allegro – Quick (literally cheerfli)
  • Allegro Moderato – Moderately Quick
  • Andante – At a walking pace (literally going) – medium speed
  • Cantabile – In a singing style
  • Crescendo (Cresc.) – Gradually getting louder
  • Da Capo (D.C.) – Repeat from the beginning
  • Dal Segno (D.S.) – Repeat from the sign
  • Decrescendo (decresc.) – Gradually getting quieter
  • Diminuendo (dim.) – Gradually getting quieter
  • Fine – The end
  • Forte (f) – Loud
  • Fortissimo (ff) – Very loud
  • Legato – Smoothly
  • Lento – Slow
  • Mezzo – Half
  • Mezzoforte (mf) – Moderately loud (literally half loud)
  • Mezzopiano (mp) – Moderately quiet (literally half quiet)
  • Moderato – Moderately
  • Pianissimi (pp) – Very quiet
  • Piano (p) – Quiet
  • Poco – A little
  • Rallentando (rall.) – Gradually getting slower
  • Ritardando (rit. or ritard.) – Gradually getting slower
  • Ritenuto (rit. or riten.) – Held back
  • Staccato (stacc.) – Detached
  • Tempo – Speed, time