Tempo is a quarterly music journal published in the UK that specialises in music of the 20th century and contemporary music. It was founded in 1939 as the 'house magazine' of the music publisher Boosey & Hawkes. Tempo was the brain-child of Arnold Schoenberg's pupil Erwin Stein, who worked for Boosey & Hawkes as a music editor.
The journal's first editor was Ernest Chapman and it was intended to be a bi-monthly publication. Nos.1 to 4 appeared from January to July 1939; but owing to the outbreak of the Second World War there was a hiatus in publication until August 1941, when issue No.5 appeared, and another until February 1944, when regular publication resumed with No.6 on a roughly quarterly basis. Meanwhile the New York City office of Boosey & Hawkes set up a separate American edition which produced six issues in 1940–42 (numbered 1–6, independent of the UK numbering) and an unnumbered 'wartime edition' in February 1944.
In 1946, the journal was enlarged and redesigned and began a new numbering: Nos.1 and 2 of the New Series were notionally Nos. 16 and 17 of the Old Series, but thereafter dual numbering was dropped.
From the 1950s, Tempo began to cover a wider range of music than that published by Boosey. Past editors include Anthony Gishford, Donald Mitchell, Colin Mason and David Drew. Beginning in 1974, the journal was edited by Malcolm MacDonald under his journalistic alias of Calum MacDonald. Following his retirement in January 2014, the journal's editor has been Bob Gilmore, assisted by Reviews Editor Juliet Fraser.
Many of the leading composers and writers on music over the past six decades have contributed to the journal, for example Erwin Stein, Hans Keller, Anthony Payne, Roger Smalley, Robert Craft, Arnold Whittall, Alexander Goehr. Many issues have become collectors' items over the years, notably single-composer issues devoted to Richard Strauss, Béla Bartók, Igor Stravinsky, Frederick Delius, Benjamin Britten, Peter Maxwell Davies, Roberto Gerhard, Igor Markevitch. Several issues have included specially composed musical supplements by leading contemporary composers, including extensive collections for the 85th birthday of Stravinsky, in memory of Stravinsky and for the 90th birthday of Elliott Carter. Pierre Boulez's work '... explosante/fixe ...' originated as a contribution to the Stravinsky memorial collection.
The title was transferred to Cambridge University Press in 2002.