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Definition and background:
A tempo marking indicating a quick duple meter with the half note rather than the quarter note getting the beat (2/2 rather than 4/4). Both the name and the sign are a vestige of mensural notation and of the proportions ( Tempus imperfectum diminutum). See also cut time.
In cut-time; two beats per measure or the equivalent thereof. A duple tempo in which the half note gets the beat.
For more information on the music term "Alla breve" check out these other resources: