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Metronomes
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Gordon Shumway
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June 29, 2021 - 11:30 am
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When I was learning piano and oboe in the 70s my teachers were strongly against the use of a metronome while playing. And they were right, I think.

But the violin seems like a different animal - it's so easy to slow down when you meet a technical difficulty (and speed up again when things get easy). Slowing down is not a solution to a technical difficulty!

This week I started studying this étude. It is marked allegretto, and 56 bpm. It all seems pretty comfortable...until you play it with the metronome on, then it's a killer!

So I recommend metronomes for violinists: they are a frightening way to avoid slacking!

Kayser Op.20, no.20

Andrew

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ELCBK
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June 29, 2021 - 7:42 pm
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@Gordon Shumway -

Awe shucks, thought we were going to get to watch & hear you play! 😔

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ABitRusty
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Gordon said..

When I was learning piano and oboe in the 70s my teachers were strongly against the use of a metronome while playing. And they were right, I think.
you know...my teacher has never said dont or do use a metronome that i recall...what she will try and stress is to internalize the beat of a tune..sometimes she'll have us put fiddles down and have us take a hand and tap the beat to our chest while humming or singing the tune.  I did say something about using a drum track to practice to once and the response was something like we all have an internal drummer or something to that effect.  

I still use drum tracks and metronomes though.  also did with guitar especially fingerstyle when i was focused on that.  drum tracks with the tunes chords with them seem to relax me more when practicing.  think im too far down that road to stop.

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Gordon Shumway
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For an absolute beginner, internalising a beat is the first requirement.

Being musical is the second requirement. And for such a beginner metronomes hinder musicality.

But people who have an internal beat and musicality then need technique, and playing to a metronome is a real test of that technique.

Orchestras are organic, but ultimately they are similar to playing to a metronome. No-one will wait for you.

Andrew

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ELCBK
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June 30, 2021 - 11:22 am
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@Gordon Shumway -

Nice way to put that - I can see it, but how can we tell the best time to start using a metronome, then? 

I've always tapped along with beats/off beats - even if just in my head, but it IS natural to have to slow down if you run across a difficulty. 

I do find it very stressful to play with a click track for the Fiddlerman GP's. 

@ABitRusty -

I think all your experience playing with metronome & drum beats gives you a great advantage, when it comes to playing with a large group.  

I'm assuming you must learn to be prepared, to just skip over difficult spots, if you run across them - so not to ruin a whole performance?

giphy.gif

 

Next Fiddlerman GP - BOTH OF YOU? 

- Emily

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Gordon Shumway
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June 30, 2021 - 11:35 am
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ELCBK said
I do find it very stressful to play with a click track for the Fiddlerman GP's.

Yes, click tracks are inorganic and unforgiving and horrible. I have recorded my electric piano, and playing duets with it is unpleasant. Having said that, I supplied a harmonica track to a friend's recording last year and that wasn't a bad experience at all.

Thinking about it though, it's the rests and pauses and legatos that make a recorded piano accompaniment awful. Ideally you want something unfaltering in its rhythm and maybe also a click track in addition if there are rests that have to be counted out.

Andrew

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ABitRusty
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June 30, 2021 - 12:04 pm
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ELCBK said
@Gordon Shumway -

Nice way to put that - I can see it, but how can we tell the best time to start using a metronome, then? 

I've always tapped along with beats/off beats - even if just in my head, but it IS natural to have to slow down if you run across a difficulty. 

I do find it very stressful to play with a click track for the Fiddlerman GP's. 

@ABitRusty -

I think all your experience playing with metronome & drum beats gives you a great advantage, when it comes to playing with a large group.  

I'm assuming you must learn to be prepared, to just skip over difficult spots, if you run across them - so not to ruin a whole performance?

giphy.gif

 

Next Fiddlerman GP - BOTH OF YOU? 

- Emily

  

Emily @elcbk so the drum tracks come in handy, when im playing to say me playing chords on another instrument or putting together a song ttrack.   its also helpful when first learning a tune and getting up to faster speed.   i can increase tempo ..say by 5bpm after so many successful passes and know where I am.  I said something about transfering that to a group in another thread somewhere.. i have to keep in mind the overall feel or groove ill be playing with in a group setting.  say i practice to a salsa beat all the time and then go to a session..could get ugly if i was expecting to play that way.

in a group you have to not only listen to yourself but get a feel for everyone else as well.  what has happened to me is ill play but too low in volume to hear..then ill increase volume but hear im out of tune or whatever and that will freak me out so ill back off yadda yadda...and it sometimes continues like that in a circle through a tune.  its not always bad..but thats the kinda process that happens for me.  Last session i talked about was better because ive gotten better.  And i feel the initial learning and bringing tunes up to speed with a metronome/drum track helps.. at some point i start practing tunes ive learned without those.. you dont have metronomes in a group..but you will have the overall groups groove..rhythm players help..bodrahns help..sometimes.  so adjusting to an external beat is a handy skill i think.  id say playing with others is easier than a metronome in most cases.  especially with other fiddlers at your achievable tempo.

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ELCBK
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June 30, 2021 - 5:54 pm
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Actually, when I'm learning a tune I do play along with whatever video I'm learning from, but then I have to step away - cause I usually end up one side or the other of that .75 speed mark. 😒

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Gordon Shumway
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giphy.gifImage Enlarger

George Harrison was definitely the coldest of the four on that day, followed by Paul then John then Ringo - no surprise that the drummer has the best circulation.

Andrew

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Gordon Shumway
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ELCBK said
how can we tell the best time to start using a metronome, then?  

Asap, probably - I suppose if someone doesn't have an internal beat, one may be useful, although learning to count is the important thing. Learning to count steadily will be affected by how difficult the music is.

On a piano you can slow down any amount you like, but that's harder on a violin, as it affects things like bowing.

Andrew

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ELCBK
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July 2, 2021 - 12:03 pm
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@Gordon Shumway -

Makes sense. 

Kevin Burke has mentioned it's best to try to learn a tune at the speed it's meant to be - because even the positioning/way your hand and fingers move, is very different for the faster ones (besides bowing differences). 

How To Play Irish Fiddle at Speed - Kevin Burke

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