Definition of alla breve in English:

alla breve

noun

Music
  • A time signature indicating two or four minim beats in a bar.

    • ‘All the alla breve movements of the Mass really are played here alla breve.’
    • ‘During the first half of the eighteenth century, German theorists and composers regarded the stately 4/4 frequently employed in fugues as a notational variant of large alla breve.’
    • ‘The old complete edition, which altered several of Mozart's tempo markings arbitrarily, transformed the alla breve in the first movement of the Concerto in F major K.459 into 4/4 time.’
    • ‘Another scherzo arabesque contrasts with the sombre seventh canon, which in turn joins on to the alla breve variation.’
    • ‘The Fuga alla breve appears at the end of Part I, suggesting that it serves as the capstone of the ‘basic course.’’

Origin

Italian, literally ‘according to the breve’.

Pronunciation

alla breve

/ˌalə ˈbreɪvi//ˈbrɛveɪ/