alla breve

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


alla breve ( Italian : "after (= according to) the brevis ", Germanized also Allabreve ) or Tempo maggiore is a time signature in music; alla breve is an abbreviation for Tactus alla breve . In today's sense, this means a straight measure in which instead of the usual quarter notes, half the notes become the beat . In place of the 4 / 4 -Takts (corresponding to the historical concept alla semibreve ) thus enters 2 / 2 -Stroke (small Allabreve) . The specification as alla breve is suitable therefore particularly for very fast music to (z. B. prestissimo or vivacissimo with over 200 beats per minute).

The to the Renaissance music extremely common 4 / 2 -Stroke (large Allabreve) has become rare now and in later music. In general, the indication of alla breve requires that the note values ​​be executed much faster, if not necessarily twice as fast.

In the English-speaking world and in popular music, alla breve is also known as cut time .


The term has its origin in the mensural notation of the 15th and 16th centuries. While a three-meter meter was referred to as a tempus perfectum and Mensural time signature 2.svgsymbolized by a circle as the scale mark, the two meter meter was viewed as a tempus imperfectum and Mensural time signature 4.svgsymbolized by a semicircle . The tempus imperfectum diminutum , in which the note values ​​are converted in a ratio of 1: 2, was Mensural time signature 3.svgsymbolized by a semicircle with a point . The latter two characters have been preserved in their forms 4/4 timeand as time indicationsalla breve up to today's musical notation .

The question of whether the alla breve a speed acceleration is or even -verdoppelung connected, is not easy and not to answer for all ages alike. Gotthold Frotscher points out that the alla breve in different compositions by the same composer can mean both doubling and halving the brevis value, for example in Wilhelm Friedemann Bach . In his Theory of Fine Arts (1771 ff.), Johann Georg Sulzer calls for the speed to be doubled. Even Johann Kirnberger generally require a doubling of the rate:

“The Zweyzweytel or better the Allabrevetackt, which is consistently referred to with alla breve, or also with 2 , is used in many ways in church pieces , fugues and elaborated choirs. It should be noted of this tack type that it is performed very heavily and emphatically, but again as quickly as its note types indicate, unless the movement is required more slowly by the adjectives grave, adagio, etc. "


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Essentials of Music
  2. Heinrich Bellermann: The mensural notes and time signs of the XV. and XVI. Century . Ed .: Georg Reimer. 2nd Edition. Berlin 1906, OCLC 6825594 , p. 55 ff . ( ).
  3. Gotthold Frotscher : Performance practice of early music (= pocket books on musicology , 6). Heinrichshofen, Wilhelmshaven 1984, ISBN 3-7959-0072-7 , pp. 41-44
  4. Johann Georg Sulzer : General theory of the fine arts . Volume 1. Leipzig 1771, p. 27. ( Online text at .)
  5. ^ Johann Philipp Kirnberger : The art of the pure sentence in music . 2nd part, 1st division. Decker and Hartung, Berlin / Königsberg 1776, p. 118 ( Textarchiv - Internet Archive )