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Metronomes – Important Tool for Learning Tempo & Rhythm
Do you use a Metronome?
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (12 votes) 
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SharonC
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July 23, 2023 - 3:13 pm
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Do you practice with a metronome?  I'm curious what you all think about it.  My thoughts in a video here:

Metronomes – Important for Practicing Tempo

Characterize people by their actions and you will never be fooled by their words.

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ABitRusty
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July 23, 2023 - 9:59 pm
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I use Metronome Beats PRO.  The link will open google play BTW.

I like it because it has a full drum kit so can use a bass drum sound..tom..hand claps.. several other sounds.

Also can set it to do measures.   So for instance I can setup an 8 bar song and on the 4 or 4a or whatever ha e it hit a cymval or tophat.

Can also have it drop out random beats/measures.. which is a good way to test if i can stay in time without a beat sound.

can set it to increase tempo at some predetermined length.   say after 32 bars increase by 5 beats or something.

 

Toontrqck easy drummer is amazing but youd need a computer and spend about 150.00 to get into that.  but its a very realistic drum kit.

anyway.. back to metronomes.  i know the apps can be annoying but metronome beats pro version can sound more like a drum.  also does polyrhythms and swing for those needing that

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Mark
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July 24, 2023 - 12:14 am
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I use the soundbrenner free app, I don't have the wearable watch but the free version is highly adjustable for time measures and a ton of different sounds, you can tap to a song to set your tempo you also can set your beat patterns for different sounds to mark to Strong or the off beat, handy if your trying to chop on the off beats with a mandolin or emphasize the 3 beat of a measure etc.

Master the Frog and you have mastered the bow.

Albert Sammons

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SharonC
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July 25, 2023 - 5:07 pm
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Both the Metronome Beats Pro and the Soundbrenner look like really good tools—they’ve got useful multiple functions. 

I can be a bit of a techy-nerd, but on this metronome thing, I guess I’m just set in my (old) ways.  I’m happy just having a mechanical device mark time. smile

Characterize people by their actions and you will never be fooled by their words.

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ABitRusty
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February 23, 2024 - 12:40 pm
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This is a really good video on using a metronome.   If you think its all about playing right on a click and how that inhibits your freedom or creativity...or how it makes sounds robotic... scroll to 3:18 and forward.  explains how to use it to stay in time with the music and how the space between clicks is open and how to play with it.

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ELCBK
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February 23, 2024 - 8:58 pm
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...metronomes that add a little spice to your life. 🤗 

 

 

Swing Metronome Playlist - 50 up to 138 BPM (one type of swing)

 

2:3 Polyrhythm Metronome Playlist - 40 to 360 BPM 

3:2 Polyrhythm Metronome Playlist - 40 to 360 BPM 

3:4 Polyrhythm Metronome Playlist - 40 to 360 BPM 

4:3 Polyrhythm Metronome Playlist - 40 to 360 BPM 

 

Happy Whistling Emoticons

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ABitRusty
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February 23, 2024 - 10:51 pm
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Neat!

Heres an interesting one.  Lots of open space to experiment with and be expressive.   Just make sure youre landing on the beat when the next measure starts. Another thing to try, is silence a measure or two then have it come back in and see if your still in time.

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ELCBK
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February 23, 2024 - 11:28 pm
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@ABitRusty -

Really good one! 

That ONE beat is important for anyone who wants to improvise! 

...was listening to some funny stuff from Tim Pierce - think it was in this video "Things Pro Musicians Do (that you probably don't)", but might've been one with Rick Beato... anyway, they talked about how many drummers get kicked out of sessions! 😳  SO, my point?  Maybe nice if everyone you play with practices with the same metronome. 

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ABitRusty
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February 24, 2024 - 2:42 am
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Posted this in your blog but thought it was pertaining to this..  cant keep your blogs seperated from open discussions 🙂.  I read them back to back and they were related.

anyway....

 

Using my experiences ... i dont know what bpm number any given tune in any given session has been.  couldve very well been at fractions..  Its always better when we are together for the most part and not drifting from eachother.  or speeding up slowing down.  There is a group groove that natural takes place which is always cool.  It happens anytime people get together and know the same stuff.  

 

as far as metronomes and click tracks and time references for prqcticing or recordings..

I think theres a thing in practicing with a steady beat or click that actually will show you things that if you didnt use it youd never know.  

Then theres playing with other people and finding the groove or beat amongst yourselves, especially if theres no rhythm section or percussion.

Theres also playing On the beat, behind it and leading.   but theres a beat.

theres swing but its related to a beat in time.

music has time... and people will drift thats for sure.   Hopefully not by much though. 

i dont think music loses feeling when played to a beat or click thats on whole numbers.  Id say the majority of recorded music is played to some form of click...or the drummer has a click in his ear.

one example... maybe not ALWAYS but probably more common than not

 

 

In some ways it actually helps feel the space between beats more.  meaning all the swing and syncopation comes more naturally when referenced to something.   It doesnt mean that clock isnt there without it but its helpful when practicing so when you are with others youve practiced playing with something other than your own internal clock...or perception of it.  it helps to exercise listening to something other than what your doing along with what your doing.  it helps to show where maybe rushing notes or letting them sound too long.  and id probably say that people that have been playing with others and same tunes for a long time may have those tunea so well inside them that THEY are the clock.  they become the metronome for others in a way.  but i doubt that was the case when just starting.

 

As you point out in the blog...BPM is not rhythm.. but the rhythm is built around a BPM and that is established by time.  A click track, metrome, drum helps to keep that reference so we can have a rhythm and then develop a groove.  but i think you need that base or else its just all over the place and becomes that irrational rhythm you quoted.

even an orchestra has a time keeper.. the conductor.   or maybe Im misunderstanding the conductors purpose. 

A metronome is just a tool.  Its not easy at first to play to.  It takes some getting used to but it can be useful and also surprising in that it actually can help with more than just timing.

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ELCBK
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February 24, 2024 - 3:45 am
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@ABitRusty -

Sorry, just about everything I post is related to everything else I post... everywhere else. 🥴 

I think I should say right now that if anyone is learning a piece of music from sheet music notation - I believe it is important to use a metronome.   

A metronome is also great if you learn a tune directly from another person, but then practice on your own. 

I don't think it's wrong to play along with a music video and use it for tempo and rhythm reference - if it seems reliable. 

We live in such a great time to learn to play music - so many resources!  Those polyrhythm metronomes I posted were 1st put on YT 8 years ago, but I just started getting interested in them last year!  YES, they help.

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Sasha
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February 24, 2024 - 7:41 am
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I use a metronome a lot during practice, but I rarely use it for tempo. Mainly I use it as a gauge to 'force' me to really slow down for training muscle memory. Like starting at 15bpm or lower. Though that is hard to feel the pulse of so I'll start with the metronome at 60bpm but each quarter note is 4 clicks.

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ABitRusty
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February 24, 2024 - 10:27 am
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I like hearing how everyone uses them. 

If i had one of the wood types from th O.P. I would hqve tried out the swing from post 6.  Theres probably even a way to make a small stand that has some degrees notched out to mount it to.

Ill use mine alot with a bluetooth speaker and change over to the drum patterns.  It depends then on how i feel on how it will be setup.  if in something like 4/4 I may put a kick on 1 and 3 and have a snare on 2 &4.  sometimes ill hqve it set for every beat and click twice per beat and have the bpm low.  thats more when working on more difficult passages trying to get under fingers.  

Even tunes i know ill have it on and set so it increases tempo after a set number measures.  thats usually on a 1 & 3 beat.  kind of a test.  Theres a way to change the volume of the beat 1 instrument vs beat 3 instrument if they are different.   id hqve to use a kick on 1 and snare on 3 for that.  that helps bring out beat 1 over 3... or 1 vs 4 for 6/8's

Another test of sorts is have a click trqck that plays through once twice or three times through in presounus.  I know ive done something wrong if when the click stops im not exactly at the end of whatever Im playing.

not 100% everytime i play ill setup like either.  but Im using more now than earlier.

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ABitRusty
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March 15, 2024 - 12:50 am
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good talk about time keeping devices and some ways to use them.

 

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Gordon Shumway
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March 15, 2024 - 3:36 am
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This is the real mcCoy

https://wittner-gmbh.de/wittne.....ell_e.html

814M is the one I want.

I still have a laminated wood one from the 1970s. I wanted a solid mahogany one 15 years ago when they were £55 but that was too much for me. Then I ordered a solid walnut one a couple of years ago for £120, but it arrived broken (they don't make mahogany ones any more). So I ordered a plastic one, but I regret it. Now the walnut are about £179.

But it's worth having an electronic one too, as  they can run silently.

Andrew

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ABitRusty
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March 15, 2024 - 4:13 pm
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i like the looks of 813m..but 814m is nice too.   i have a plastic one but use electronic.  thinking one of those whitners would be a nice addition.

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ELCBK
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March 16, 2024 - 12:35 am
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@ABitRusty -

THANK YOU for the EXCELLENT podcast!  Seems very relevant to things I've been thinking about for a long time. 

I don't learn music I haven't heard.  Videos give me a reference, act as my metronome. 

If I would've learned to play (like I do now) as a kid, I can picture myself repeatedly resetting the needle on the album, every few seconds - all so I could learn a part better!  Setting the turntable slower would've altered the pitch. 😖  ...yeah, my folks would've killed me!  Good thing songs couldn't be repeated on the radio, too - my folks would've thrown my radio out the window! 😄 ...so grateful today that Kevin can 'tune' me out - I couldn't do it! 

Sometimes when I hear complex rhythms & want to break them down, that's when digital rhythm metronomes at various BPM can help me, but I found something interesting I want to try to learn - supposedly from Dizzy Gillespie!

 

The Human Metronome 

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ABitRusty
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March 16, 2024 - 1:09 pm
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how do you bow doing that?

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ELCBK
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March 16, 2024 - 4:41 pm
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Sorry... timing, rhythm, groove, pulse are all very important - but we have to recognize it first, then become so aware of what we 'hear' (or feel) that we can reproduce it. 

'The Human Metronome' video (IMHO) is about analyzing a beat structure (& tempo) that is listened to & he helps show some more possibilities once these are 'internalized' in the way he demonstrates.   

Once I have a 'rhythm' internalized, it means I can tap AND hum the tune (out loud, or silently, without hearing it played) - then I translate what I feel into my bowing. 

Btw, liked the part of the Lizzes podcast that talks about using a metronome on the offbeats... but I took away a lot more from the discussion about the Lizzes not liking to use a metronome for Irish music.  

I do think a metronome helps people 'internalize' simple beats in tempo & digital metronomes can show more & uneven beat combinations!  BUT, like mentioned in the podcast - a lot of tunes need to breathe, have a bit of 'push & pull' to them.  ...and I'm not going to be playing in any contest. 

If I was learning to play by sight reading notation, especially going for an EXACT speed - I would use a metronome.  I also see a metronome as important to use once in a while to prevent 'unintentionally' drifting up or down in speed, but I also occasionally practice 'intentionally' slowing down gradually & speeding up - to help me be stay aware of what I'm doing & prevent the problem. 

More recently, I've been focusing on seeing Irish & Scottish tunes as smaller subdivisions of beats (16th notes).  Setting a metronome faster can help do this, also trying different types of bowing can help.  I think subdividing gives me a feeling of more freedom to decide where I want accents. 

 

 

Music IS time, movement!  I think it's cool to consider time devices we used to find around the house - as types of metronomes.  Clocks, Watches, Timers, etc...

...I think it's important to use whatever tools YOU find useful to experiment with, but follow rules when playing with others, or group.

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ABitRusty
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March 16, 2024 - 6:46 pm
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for me..

idk..i usually dont have to find the groove by doing an exercise...i kinda feel it in the recording or  from whoever is playing.. im not searching for som micro beats to unlock something... its just there or not.

and a click clock from a metronome for sure isnt going to do anything about a groove or help internalize anything.   how do you internalize from a metronome?   if i have it clicking.. its a click.  is it 2 beats per measure...four..six??  it doesnt teach anything.. its a click in time..

. its not a bohran or guitar player or another melody player.   its just clicks of time.  its not meant for creating a groove or rhythm..thats for us to do.

  now a drum track can create a groove for sure. thats fun to do..

internalizing a tune is a first step.  you HAVE to know it. ...a truth well documented.  one way to test if you have it internalizex or just have a performance of some person or groups version of it  memorized is to test yourself..

thats a good place to use a metronome.   a test.   a way to test yourself.  being human we tend to do things like cut notes short or get timing off on ornaments.  things like that.  see if it its possible by just hearing the clicks if you can float the tune around.. weave from straight to swung.. and back.  play exactly on beat and drift off.  use nothing but alternating bows then switch back to slurring.  if you can then great

fun activity..its not for everyone though.

another good use is when increasing tempo... bump it up every so often by 5.  see where you fall apart or start getting sloppy.

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ELCBK
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March 16, 2024 - 11:37 pm
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@ABitRusty -

Jeez, I hate trying to communicate with written words - I'm terrible at it.  ...editing my previous post (again) - because I do know that a 'beat' is only a part of rhythm & it's all anyone can 'internalize' from a regular metronome (not rhythm - sorry).  I also made a feeble reference, should've been to the links in (post 6) - being there's more than the 'tick tock' of a 'plain' metronome to experiment with (which you already know from the app you are using).

My pickin' stuff apart - by trying to deconstruct everything I'm learning about music (and my playing), it's my way of starting down a creative path where I will assign my own substitutions, treatments and/or changes to different parts that can be played by me, or loaded & manipulated in DAW. 

 

If I see using audio from videos as my 'metronome' (slowing down/speeding up as I get better)... I'm probably using at least one for learning some new tune (or trying to speed one up), every day.  Tunes I know well I don't play with any reference - rarely check them.

The Metronome Beats PRO you are using, DOES sound like a great app!  I haven't had the need to try it yet, with everything else I have my fingers into at the moment... but I will. 

Are you using the app every time you practice?

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