What Is a Slow Tempo Called?

A slow tempo is considered – largo (40–60 bpm), larghetto (60–66 bpm) and adagio (66–76 bpm). These 3 fall into the category of what is known as a ‘slow tempo’ in music. Slow tempos are typically anything below 80 beats per minute.

Tempo in music refers to the speed or “pulse” of a song and is generally measured in beats per minute. A slow song will typically be around 60 to 70 BPM (beats per minute).

A slow tempo is a song’s or music’s playing speed, also known as the rhythm. Slow does not always imply sluggishness through a song. Its significance depends on the situation. When music moves slowly, it can be called slow-tempo music or slow-paced music by musicians and listeners alike.

Key Takeaways

  • There are three specific tempos categorized as slow in music: “Largo” (40–60 bpm), “Larghetto” (60–66 bpm), and “Adagio” (66–76 bpm), which are all under the threshold of 80 BPM that typically defines slow tempo.
  • “Largo” signifies a very slow tempo, often used in music requiring a solemn or expansive atmosphere, like lyrical pieces or hymns.
  • “Larghetto”, slightly faster than “Largo”, still falls within the slow tempo category, offering a broader feel suitable for expressive yet slow music.
  • “Adagio” represents a tempo that’s slow but can convey drama or emotion, traditionally utilized in Baroque music to enhance the emotive aspects of a piece.
  • Despite their slow nature, songs within these tempo ranges, such as Chris Stapleton’s “Tennessee Whiskey”, X Ambassadors’ “Torches”, and Bon Jovi’s “Right Side Of Wrong”, demonstrate that slow-tempo music can still achieve widespread popularity and appreciation.


The word “largo” means slow in Italian, and it is also used to describe the mood of slow music. “Largo” tempo ranges from 40 bpm to 60 bpm and this is considered a really slow tempo. People use the “largo” tempo when they want slow music for lyrical pieces, slow dance music, slow chordal music, slow hymns, and slow classical music.

Example of Largo Tempo

The perfect example of a “largo” tempo is Chris Stapleton – Tennessee Whiskey. This song has 49 bpm and is a really slow song. However, this just sheds light on the matter that slow-tempo songs don’t necessarily have to be bad, as this song is really popular despite its slow tempo.


“Larghetto” is Italian for “broad” and is also considered a slow tempo, despite being a little faster than “largo”. It ranges from 60 bpm to 66 bpm. Although the range is little to none, It’s still a definite slow-tempo term used in music.

Example of Larghetto Tempo

A great example of this tempo is X Ambassadors – Torches. It has a 63 bpm and although this is considered pretty slow, they manage to cover up that fact by implementing lots of attention-grabbing effects and the lead singer’s exquisite singing ability. It’s considered a slow-tempo song, but it still manages to be very popular.


“Adagio” is Italian for ‘slowly’, from ad agio ‘at ease’. It ranges from 66 bpm to 76 bpm. Baroque composers utilized the term adagio to describe slow movements in their music, which they intended to create something dramatic or sad. They would use the word adagio for these slow parts. 

Example of Adagio Tempo

An example that comes to mind is Bon Jovi – Right Side Of Wrong. This song has 69 beats per minute. However, while it may be considered a slow-tempo song, who can argue with Bon Jovi and his writing and singing abilities? Slow tempo or not, this song is still popular to this day.


3 terms fall into the category of what is known as slow tempo and those are “Largo”, “Larghetto”, and “Adagio”. A tempo of fewer than 80 beats per minute is known as a slow tempo. Musicians and listeners may also refer to it as slow-paced music.

The tempo of “Largo” is generally between 40 and 60 bpm, which is considered a very slow rhythm. When musicians want slow music for lyrical pieces, slow dance music, or any other type of slowly moving composition, they use the “largo” tempo.

“Larghetto” ranges from 60 bpm to 66 beats per minute. It’s a little faster than “Largo” but still belongs in the ‘slow tempo’ category. Although the scope is modest, experts still regard it as a slow-tempo phrase in music.

“Adagio” is generally anything less than 76 beats per minute. “Adagio” is Italian for ‘slowly’, from ad agio ‘at ease’. Early-age composers used the term adagio to describe slow pieces in their music, which they intended to elicit a sense of tragedy or drama.