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Originally Posted by wr

And, finally, I think it is worth mentioning that Chopin - he whose music is often pulled about like taffy by pianists - would have his students practice just the accompaniment in some of his music, strictly following the metronome. An example I remember where he did this is in his E flat nocturne, op. 9, no. 2. He wanted that left-hand accompaniment part played with a rock-solid beat, and had his students use a metronome to get it that way.


Do you have a source that says he actually told the students to "practice ... strictly following the metronome?". From what I have read there's an anecdote that the metronome "never left his piano" and there are his pupils accounts that he insisted on strict tempo. Those do not say anything on how the metronome was used. I'd be happy to learn more...

At the same time I couldn't agree more about how his music should be played.

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Originally Posted by wr
Originally Posted by johan d
Originally Posted by outo
I prefer to talk about consistent pulse, because steady beat can sometimes be understood as sounding like a midi recording.

Consistent pulse is indeed better.
It hasn't to be a concistent as in a MIDI recording, but there are more levels between the pulse of a MIDI recording and the consistent pulse of a beginning piano player...


I think that MIDI recording effect has much more to do with all the notes being in their exact, mathematically determined place in time, rather than just on the beat being precise.


That's true. I just feel using the words steady or precise can sometimes be misleading. The pulse can be on some level consistent even when the tempo changes, but it isn't precise or steady anymore. Or at least that's how I interpret the concepts. Of course this might be affected by the fact that I have a different language background...

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Originally Posted by outo
Originally Posted by wr

And, finally, I think it is worth mentioning that Chopin - he whose music is often pulled about like taffy by pianists - would have his students practice just the accompaniment in some of his music, strictly following the metronome. An example I remember where he did this is in his E flat nocturne, op. 9, no. 2. He wanted that left-hand accompaniment part played with a rock-solid beat, and had his students use a metronome to get it that way.


Do you have a source that says he actually told the students to "practice ... strictly following the metronome?". From what I have read there's an anecdote that the metronome "never left his piano" and there are his pupils accounts that he insisted on strict tempo. Those do not say anything on how the metronome was used. I'd be happy to learn more...

At the same time I couldn't agree more about how his music should be played.


I'm not sure if I am remembering this correctly, but I think the source was the Eigeldinger book on Chopin as seen by his pupils.


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Originally Posted by wr
Originally Posted by outo
Originally Posted by wr

And, finally, I think it is worth mentioning that Chopin - he whose music is often pulled about like taffy by pianists - would have his students practice just the accompaniment in some of his music, strictly following the metronome. An example I remember where he did this is in his E flat nocturne, op. 9, no. 2. He wanted that left-hand accompaniment part played with a rock-solid beat, and had his students use a metronome to get it that way.


Do you have a source that says he actually told the students to "practice ... strictly following the metronome?". From what I have read there's an anecdote that the metronome "never left his piano" and there are his pupils accounts that he insisted on strict tempo. Those do not say anything on how the metronome was used. I'd be happy to learn more...

At the same time I couldn't agree more about how his music should be played.


I'm not sure if I am remembering this correctly, but I think the source was the Eigeldinger book on Chopin as seen by his pupils.



I have the book, so I guess I should just read it again to find out smile

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I don't think one necessarily has to play metronomically with a metronome. There are all sorts of little liberties one can take within each beat and practicing in this manner can really tighten up "loose" sections of rubato and give the pianist a clear rhythmic picture. Using a machine doesn't have to make you a machine; it all depends how you use it.

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Originally Posted by johan d
Originally Posted by phantomFive
Once you are able to play with a consistent pulse, then you can purposely vary the tempo in subtle beautiful ways.
If you can't play with a consistent pulse, then your playing will be wild and uncontrolled in tempo.
What are the ways (or tools) to help you develop a consistent pulse?


Constantly ask yourself if your rhythm is accurate. You can do it without a metronome, but comparing yourself with the metronome every once in a while (at least) will give you feedback, and you will progress much faster.

Listen to music, even pop music, and feel the rhythm. Maybe rap, where all they have is rhythm to drive the music forward.

Dance. Chopin grew up playing in dance halls, all of his music is dance music. The rhythm keeps you in step and energizes you to move forward.

Through the night in the arms of a lovely/handsome partner.


Poetry is rhythm
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Getting the rhythms, i.e. note relationship values right, is really important, but completely separate I think from tempo concerns.

I've never been one to overly fret over a steady tempo either in practice or performance. I've always been irritated at practicing constantly at a tempo set by a metronome. I feel like I work better and faster moving around a piece playing at the tempo I can handle at each particular area. If you aren't careful with a metronome you can waste time mindlessly drilling one steady tempo.

That said, when it's time to finish a piece and ground it in a steady tempo, you need the metronome.


Danzas Argentinas, Alberto Ginastera
Piano Sonata Hob. XVI: 34 in E Minor, Franz Joseph Haydn
Nocturne, Op. 15 No. 1 in F Major, Frédéric Chopin
Prelude, Op. 11 No. 4 in E Minor, Alexander Scriabin
Prelude and Fugue in G Major, Well-Tempered Clavier Vol. 2, Johann Sebastian Bach
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