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Metronome usage
#2882215 08/21/19 10:36 PM
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So I am trying to understand how people use the metronome in practical terms when learning repertoire , i I know what it is for, such that the clicks represent the down beat ,
But practically when I am practicing a piece. That is say listed as 100 bpm, I’ll use the metronome at slower pace say 60bpm to figure complicated parts like rhythm and I only use it for feel and dissecting at slower pace maybe might increase little the metronome tempo but never actually go toe toe with the metronome all they way at whatever bpm the piece is written , I usually find that very difficult especially harder pieces .... is my usage incorrect?

Or is the expectation that I be able to bring the metronome all the way up to whatever is written in the music no matter the case of music and play on the metronome tempo down beat for downbeat. Click for click ??

Last edited by Jitin; 08/21/19 10:40 PM.

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Re: Metronome usage
Jitin #2882220 08/21/19 11:05 PM
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The metronome is only a tool and not an edict nor a replacement for our own internal rhythm. Yes, use it for problem rhythms; use it to confirm your own rhythm and tempo. How much you use it depends on the complexity of the rhythm and your own internal pulse.

It is not necessary to use it for every beat in the music if you, personally, do not need it. I can’t imagine much that would be more horrible than hearing the clicks measure after measure. I use it when I need it .... and sometimes delay using it when I know I need it. 😊. The metronome and I have an armed truce but will never be best friends.


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Re: Metronome usage
Jitin #2882221 08/21/19 11:08 PM
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Jitin:

I often use the metronome as you suggest, but at whatever tempo or setting is appropriate for whatever stage I am at in learning a piece, both to:
- keep me from speeding up if I tend to do so and
- to keep me going if I tend to slow down over more difficult spots.
In that sense, it's sort of like a trainer, a coach, or a pacer.

I also use it to figure out complex rhythmic patterns if they initially stump me.

The "clicks" can represent any note value you wish it to represent.

Keep in mind that, unless using an Urtext edition, the metronome markings on a score are often editorial suggestions, not always those of the composer. One often has to determine what tempo is "right" given the nature of the piece and one's own sense of how a piece should sound as far as tempo is concerned. A quick comparison of various performances will show that the tempo, even a piece with a composer's metronome marking, is not always observed, even by internationally respected artists.

All that said, you are sure to read that there are some who "never use a metronome," some who find it "totally useless" and some who feel that it is a helpful tool in learning.

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Re: Metronome usage
Jitin #2882224 08/21/19 11:19 PM
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For example:

In the closing measures of Brahms' Op. 76, No. 3, where the time signature is 3/2, I was initially having some trouble keeping the rhythm steady, particularly with the left hand notes coming on the half beat, coupled with triplets on the beat. So, I counted it in six, (i.e. six quarter-notes) and used the metronome, set very slowly to count six beats per measure, to keep me steady and get the off-beat notes and the triplets in the right place.

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Re: Metronome usage
Jitin #2882240 08/22/19 12:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Jitin
So I am trying to understand how people use the metronome in practical terms when learning repertoire ,


my own experience has been that in my early days I could not use the metronome for anything. Trying to sync the sound to my playing added an extra stress I didn't need. As the years have gone on I use the metronome more and more and is becoming more and more indespensible.

Originally Posted by Jitin

Or is the expectation that I be able to bring the metronome all the way up to whatever is written in the music no matter the case of music and play on the metronome tempo down beat for downbeat. Click for click ??


It is not always possible to bring a piece up to the marked tempo, and you should never feel guilty if you can't. However, it has shocked me more than once how out of time I can be, when I think I have a piece up to my final tempo. For that reason alone, being able to check the timing of the entire piece by playing with a metronome, start to finish, is important to me.


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Re: Metronome usage
Jitin #2882304 08/22/19 07:35 AM
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Here’s how I use my metronome app. I’m a beginner so take it for what it’s worth.

Upon first learning a piece, I will learn the right hand, then left hand, then hands together. I don’t use the metronome at this stage. At this stage, the song is coming together in bits and pieces.

When I’ve got hands together well enough, I will set my metronome to half tempo and try to play the piece. Depending on the song, I might need to speed up (because song was easy) or slow down (song was difficult). I’ve played all the way down to 30% of speed before but anything lower than that I found no metronome was better. It means I wasn’t playing the song well enough yet to use the metronome.

I will move the metronome speed faster and faster until I get to the specified tempo. For some songs I don’t get to the specified tempo before I move on to another song. I don’t feel the need.

I find the metronome is a tool that keeps me honest, in terms of tempo and whether I’m playing the whole song at one consistent speed. It tells me if there are parts that I should focus more on due to not keeping up with tempo in certain spots.

I always set my metronome app with TOCK, tick, tick, tick or TOCK, tick, tick, etc. The first beat is always louder and different sounding. That’s how I like it.


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Re: Metronome usage
Jitin #2882307 08/22/19 07:45 AM
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The metronome is a tool and if it's helping you then your use of it is fine.

There is a requirement in some music circles, e.g. rock, that all recording is done with a click track. Being able to keep time with an outside beat is a required skill. You are more likely to learn that faster and easier than keeping time with other people.

Classical music is more akin to poetry than to dance music and there are expected to be greater changes of tempo as part of the realisation.

If you've learnt to count properly you should not need a metronome to be able to play in time but using it to force a (typically slower) tempo to make sure you do play rhythmically correct is an extra practise technique. While you're learning to count properly playing with a metronome will help for individual phrases but is not ideal for whole sections.

I never recommend chasing a tempo by raising the metronome but raise the metronome rate when I'm playing faster. Faster playing always comes from playing slowly enough, and enough times, that the brain gets the message. Forcing speed always introduces tension that results either in mistakes or a speed wall. Playing (much) slower than necessary gives time to absorb the music at a deeper level, allows time for the hands and fingers to relax into the music and exaggerate the phrasing so that it comes more naturally at speed.


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Re: Metronome usage
Jitin #2882312 08/22/19 07:56 AM
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I love using a metronome...it keeps me honest and shows where my weakness' are.

Re: Metronome usage
Jitin #2882354 08/22/19 10:54 AM
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Great tips here.i will add my pennies worth: I am working on Fur Elise. After working through the fingering, slow practice, broke the piece into parts, and started working on the difficult sections - continuous loops. Before connecting all the parts, I am working with the metronome- setting the tempo to the most challenging section where I can play without mistakes. I play at that tempo for all the other sections until I can use my internal rhythm. With the end result I can play through the whole piece with my current tempo level, whilst respecting all the rhythms.

Then, will I slowly increase the tempo until I reach that technical wall! A piece I will leave an come back to in 8 months and see if I can improve the speed and musicality!

For the records, I find it challenging listening to the metronome. I am looking forward to trying sound Brenner new watch...

Last edited by Pianoperformance; 08/22/19 10:54 AM.

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Re: Metronome usage
Jitin #2882385 08/22/19 12:54 PM
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Outside of classical world, musicians use the metronome all the time. They use iReal or Band in a Box and the metronome is replace by a drum track. They practice chords following the drum track.



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Re: Metronome usage
Serge88 #2882414 08/22/19 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Serge88
Outside of classical world, musicians use the metronome all the time. They use iReal or Band in a Box and the metronome is replace by a drum track. They practice chords following the drum track.

That's because outside of the classical world, musicians don't know the meaning of "rubato" wink .

Imagine this played metronomically:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZtIW2r1EalM


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Re: Metronome usage
Jitin #2882784 08/23/19 02:30 PM
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Used to be, that the metronome was a necessary evil which I had no desire to acquire, the world being all-too-replete with nasty-tasting things of claimed great benefit. Besides, I had a very good ear for tone and timing, without a good enough foundation to try piano works which might have challenged my sense of pulse.

I got a little bit more foundation, and started to see things differently. The metronome started to sound friendlier, especially once I found out that I could use sounds other than that ticking noise.

I started recording compositions that integrated voice, acoustic piano, and MIDI instruments, over several different kinds of devices. The more kinds of devices in the chain, the more critical that a common pulse govern them (or support them).

Scoring with software absolutely requires that a correct time pulse be used.

My brother the high-school band director and now the published composer, hearing me play on his dreadful piano at home, offered me the use of any of five or six metronomes lying around his house. From this, I took away that conductors of ensembles--- and especially teachers--- have a very deep regard for the governance of the beat, be the group ever so vast or ever so small: even a single person on a bad piano running off a few Hanon exercises.

And I discovered that my sense of the beat had softened with old age. Please don't feel you need to share the next thing that will fall off, with me. I will find out for myself, soon enough... or, if not, my head might swell in self-congratulation, for a time. Taking it as it comes will be fine.

I plan to leave my brother and his family my very much nicer piano when I die... but I am damn well going to have to die first.

Meanwhile, I contemplate, somewhat smugly, that it is my metronome which has died. You can only drop them on their head so many times. Unfortunately, I have learned that I need one--- I even want one... without abandoning my own ability to feel the beat without one.


Clef

Re: Metronome usage
Jitin #2882832 08/23/19 06:15 PM
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I rarely use it when actually practicing. Mostly it's there as a reference to check the difference between where I'm at and where I want to be, tempo-wise. Here and there, I might check myself against it, to see if I'm pausing or slowing down anywhere that I shouldn't be. I'll also use it occasionally to bring something up to tempo within a small range - maybe I'm play at 92 and want to be at a 100, so I'll use it to get myself faster, one click at a time. That doesn't seem to work for me if it's much more than a small range, though.


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