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Thread: Metronome

  1. #1

    Default Metronome

    Is a metronome necessary and why?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Metronome

    Yes, a metronome is a valuable piece of equipment to help you develop your timing. I use mine constantly, there are a few threads here on Cafe and here's a cool video ...have fun!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9X1fhVLVF_4
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    Default Re: Metronome

    Nope. I'm guessing musicians without them were pretty excellent before metronomes were invented. And I doubt Bill used one

    Are they useful? Yep - mine has been

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    Be Wild Zach Wilson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Metronome

    It's a very useful tool for learning to play your parts at speed without the rest of the band or ensemble. I practice with one quite a bit.

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    Default Re: Metronome

    If you have a smart phone, you can get a free metronome app for it. Give it a shot -- it will probably help your timing, and it certainly won't hurt it! Most music teachers will recommend the occasional session with a metronome, and others will recommend more. I have never heard a music instructor EVER recommend against using a metronome. Or a tuner, for that matter.

    And yes, Mark Wilson, musicians in the past were able to learn to play music perfectly well without the use of a metronome. And they could also tune their instruments before the advent of tuners. And they didn't have to know how to read musical notation or tablature. So what? These things all make learning and playing music better, not worse. Only the instrument itself would seem to be dispensable if you want to make music. And maybe not even that, if you just want to sing...

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    Default Re: Metronome

    Necessary? Not really.

    You can learn to play the notes without ever learning how to count or keep time correctly, or drift in your speed, faster or slower depending on the complexity of the piece you are playing. You might even call that 'artistic expression', but not everyone will.

    People certainly played, and played well, prior to the invention of the metronome, but it is certainly a great practice aid in learning to play with the correct note values.

    I use mine all the time when I am not playing against backing tracks. Keeping good time is a very valuable skill, and when you play with others you will find that those that don't keep good time are problematic in an ensemble situation, like a jam.

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    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Metronome

    To me, a metronome is necessary. (A) I'm still a beginner at mandolin and don't trust my tempo like I do on guitar; (B) learning Finnish-American folk music is not easy and the metronome helps smooth out my playing. As well as help guide me on long notes, so I don't over or under play the note. (Have a piece right now where it sits on a B note for three measures).
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    Default Re: Metronome

    Metronomes are valuable tools. They have been around for over 200 years so Bill Monroe may very well have had one. As mentioned above, if you have a smart phone there are free apps and they are good. If you haven't used one a trick I picked up from a teacher is to have the metronome going double speed. That wya you always have a back-beat. If you don't it can be unnerving that when you are on you can't hear the metronome.

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    Default Re: Metronome

    I tend to "hear" songs in my head at a somewhat different tempo than the actual music dictates. Sometimes I like my version better but I still try them as written using a metronome. So, it does help but you still have to have to "make the music yours", as they say.

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    I don't use a metronome enough. Why use a metronome? The best issue that convinced me was that dancers really need a steady beat and you also have to play evenly enough so that other musicians don't go nuts while trying to play TOGETHER. Also I did not know that my rhythm really sucked until I played with some top notch musicians. Ouch, was that embarrassing.

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    Default Re: Metronome

    Take something like a fiddle tune you feel good about playing at a good clip. But something just doesn't sound really clean. A note here or there, perhaps a pinkie stretch that doesn't quite make it, but because everything else is zipping along fine you continue playing it fast and it never gets better.

    Now get a metronome going at a much slower tempo, and play the piece at that tempo until you can play everything cleanly. Don't increase the tempo until you've fixed the weakest parts. Then you can increase the tempo two or three beats at a time. Identify your weaknesses and find exercises to strengthen them. Eliminate sloppy pick technique.

    This is a sometimes painful process, perhaps changing a fingering you've been using. I asked my daughter how she would finger a run I was having trouble with. She's a pro viola player with her doctorate in performance. I had to relearn the run with her better fingering by dialing the tempo way back. The metronome will tell you the weak link, and the the piece is only as good as the weakest link.
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  15. #12

    Default Re: Metronome

    Thanks for all your interesting responses; Iím a beginner in this new mando world. It seems there are definitely positives/advantages to using a metronome.

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    Default Re: Metronome

    As I improved I tended to play everything up to my top speed as soon as I learned it. I was improving but noticed sloppy (less precise) play that never got any better.

    Playing slowly in practice is a good way to learn to play error free. Using a metronome forces me to play slow enough to correct myself.

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    Default Re: Metronome

    Yes, a metronome is necessary thing to have. It’s something to throw across the room when you get frustrated when practicing.

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    Registered User Hallmark498's Avatar
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    Default Re: Metronome

    Yes!

    But make sure to get a good 1, the kind I had seemed to always breaktime....

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    Registered User Jon Hall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Metronome

    A metronome might be considered a necessity if one doesn't have a family full of musicians from whom they can learn to play in time. Bill Monroe had plenty of musical mentors on the front porch.

  20. #17
    Registered User Perry's Avatar
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    Default Re: Metronome

    Is continually trying to improve your craft with any and all means available necessary to you? If the answer to that question is yes well then a metronome is necessary. I am constantly on the look out for new ideas to get better. That's the fun...enjoy the journey.

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    Default Re: Metronome

    If you are thinking of recording yourself using multiple tracks, practicing with a metronome is essential. Until you work with a metronome you have no idea how much your tempo varies from phrase to phrase. It becomes maddening how exact the metronome is and how out of time you are !

  22. #19
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Metronome

    I do not know what musicians did before the invention of the metronome in 1814 (or 1816, there are various claims). But it has no bearing. The metronome has become very important. Especially if you play with others, or record, or want to practice getting faster without getting sloppy.
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    Default Re: Metronome

    Paul McCartney said he can't read music and didn't use a metronome so he must remain ignorant with music !
    My two favorite pastimes are drinking wine and playing the mandolin but most of my friends would rather hear me drink wine! Adapted from quote by Mark Twain

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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Metronome

    Quote Originally Posted by yankees1 View Post
    Paul McCartney said he can't read music and didn't use a metronome so he must remain ignorant with music !
    And I am sure it was is not reading music and his not using a metronome that got him where he is.

    I wonder if I can get almost as good as Paul McCartney doing what I do now, and then give up the metronome to make it the rest of the way.
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  25. #22
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    Default Re: Metronome

    Sir Paul might not have used a metronome, but all of those studio musicians backing him up on click tracks sure did!

  26. #23
    This Kid Needs Practice Bill Clements's Avatar
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    Default Re: Metronome

    The metronome is a useful tool when used to rehearse challenging passages at a variety of speeds. You can begin slowly – but consistently – while you are still getting the notes “into your fingers.” You can gradually ramp up the pace, one increment at a time.
    "Music is the only noise for which one is obliged to pay." ~ Alexander Dumas

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    Default Re: Metronome

    My first metronome was broken...wouldn't keep proper time.
    My second metronome was also broken....would only keep time with the first one.

    I just could not find a metronome that I "liked". I picked up a used Alesis Sr16 drum machine. That made for a much more enjoyable metronome.

  28. #25

    Default Re: Metronome

    Quote Originally Posted by yankees1 View Post
    Paul McCartney said he can't read music and didn't use a metronome so he must remain ignorant with music !
    Bach didn't use one either, so if you have that level of talent, go right to creating masterpieces. How hard could it be?
    Play it like you mean it.

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