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Thread: Irish Metronome

  1. #1

    Default Irish Metronome

    Hi guys, it took me quite a while, but finally I learned to love the metronome. Nice solid, fluid 6/8 rhythm with jigs, but theyíre flat.
    So now Iím looking for an adjustable Irish Metronome app thatíll work on an iPad/iPhone, or better still for everyone else too, a YouTube recording of one.

    Hereís someone Iím trying to emulate on jig rhythms, and triplets, Iím not sure if sheís playing 6/8 time here...



    -yes, I could just play the jigs like really fast but I donít want to do that because Iím actually quite lazy.

  2. #2
    Registered User zookster's Avatar
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    Default Re: Irish Metronome

    Reels are 4/4. Jigs are 3/4, double jigs (more common) are 6/8.

    Be aware that in Irish music, it's just not the tempo -- it's the feel of the rhythm, what the Irish call "lift." Once you are comfortable with the melody, you need to loosen up and give it some space to flow freely, and you'll be surprised at how much progress your playing begins to make. Fiddlers can use their bow, so we mandolin folks need to be a bit trickier with the pick, but the concept is the same.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Irish Metronome

    Sorry Zookster I meant double jig, with mostly 6 eighth notes in each measure.
    When you say Ďfeelingí are you talking about the volume of each note, the tone, or the length of each one or other things?

  4. #4
    Registered User zookster's Avatar
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    Default Re: Irish Metronome

    Good question. The ebb and flow of the music means the tempo is not strict. Of course, you've got to keep the time.......no matter what. But, imagine being able to create space between the phrases of the notes, pulling them together tightly or spreading them out as you go. The more familiar you become with the music, the easier this concept is to grasp. It's a conversation as much as it is musical phrasing. Yes, the emphasis (volume) might change on, say, the second A part as opposed to the first, or you might find several key notes - or a single phrase - in the B that are highlighted. You might even figure out different ways to play a tune as experience kicks in. It's just not notes, it's a feeling and a conversation.

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  6. #5

    Default Re: Irish Metronome

    Pre-covid, I was going to take Marla’s in person Irish mandolin seminar (she’s the woman in the video). Before class she sent some exercises for us - the point of them being in Irish, pick direction is different. A “standard” bluegrass player would plan DUD UDU in 6/8 but the proper way to do it for Irish is DUD DUD. This means you have two down strokes in the middle of each measure, which is hard, but it goes a very long way towards that proper feel you’re looking for.

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  8. #6
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    Default Re: Irish Metronome

    MetroTimer will do what you want.
    Play it like you mean it

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    Registered User Mike Buesseler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Irish Metronome

    What is MetroTimer? Not on the AppStore.

  10. #8

    Default Re: Irish Metronome

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill McCall View Post
    MetroTimer will do what you want.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Buesseler View Post
    What is MetroTimer? Not on the AppStore.
    With AppStore link.

    http://onyx3.com/MetroTimer/

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  12. #9
    Peace. Love. Mandolin. Gelsenbury's Avatar
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    Default Re: Irish Metronome

    My workaround was to record a "jiggy click track" of me playing along with a jig on headphones (a jig by Marla Fibish, coincidentally), with muted strings. Then you can play the melody in the same rhythm.

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  14. #10

    Default Re: Irish Metronome

    Hereís the metronome Iím happy with at the moment.
    Itís set for two measures of double 6/8 jig time, which would be a total of 12 notes all together. Notice that the last three eighth notes are the same length, itís more like an English jig (to my old ears).
    Iím looking for a metronome that will play the first note in a six note (Dud, Dud) measure quite a bit longer and the 4th note just a little bit longer, for example.



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    Default Re: Irish Metronome

    6/8, 9/8, and 12/8 are compound meters meaning that each beat divides into three parts. So in 6/8 the first three eighth notes are one beat and the second three eighth notes are the second beat. So for 6/8 I set my metronome to 2/4! Then count those two beats like triplets. 1-ah-la 2-ah-la. Tap your foot on the 1 and 2.
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    Default Re: Irish Metronome

    Simon, you need this one
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  18. #13

    Default Re: Irish Metronome

    What about a metronome with style settings, like:
    1. Co. Clare Session Reel,
    2. Chris Thile Classical March,
    3. Fibish Slip jig,
    4. Molsky Double jig?

  19. #14
    Distressed Model John Ritchhart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Irish Metronome

    The beat comes from the metronome. The style (musicality)comes from you. The best thing is to listen to a LOT of Irish music. Get it in your head so you can sing it. My grandmother used to sing Irish tunes using "Deedle De De, Deedle Die Do" kind of mouth music. She had a different tune for each of her grandchildren that apparently we would dance to as toddlers. Get the music in your head and you'll provide the style.
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    Registered User Polecat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Irish Metronome

    My solution is to use MuseScore to write a single bar of the rhythm I need, using wood-block or snare drum as the instrument. Then set it up to repeat hundreds of times. The tempo can be varied using the playback window. I use it on my laptop, but I believe there is also an app for smartphones. It's also really easy to write a beat for tunes which have a varying metre, such as The Radical Road:
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    Registered User DougC's Avatar
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    Default Re: Irish Metronome

    ...
    Last edited by DougC; May-09-2020 at 9:59am.
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  23. #17

    Default Re: Irish Metronome

    Hereís another example, Iím thinking about a metronome that can blend from one accented rhythm to another as in the vid, and one that will have a tempo that grinds to a stop in a couple of measures, something someone might learn to do at the end of tune. Itís something quite difficult to do well, and reasonably easy to learn using a metronome?


  24. #18
    Registered User Polecat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Irish Metronome

    I have my doubts that there is a metronome app sophisticated enough to do what you want - in your video, the frame drum is playing 4/4 and the jingle (no idea what it's properly called) is playing in 3/4. Having looked to see, my suggestion of MuseScore is not available for iPad or iPhone. You might want to look at a drum app, or even garageband. I've not worked with either, and no doubt you would have to learn how to drive the beast, but I suspect it would be your best option.
    "Give me a mandolin and I'll play you rock 'n' roll" (Keith Moon)

  25. #19

    Default Re: Irish Metronome

    Thanks Polecat, Iíve used them before, maybe the simplest workaround is copy a measure of a live performance into GarageBand and paste percussion in the right places over that.
    I donít think they can do graduated changes in tempo though.

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    Default Re: Irish Metronome

    In the video above, that's Diptanshu a fellow mandolin cafť member. He may be able to help you via PM. He's also an accomplished BG player!

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    Registered User Jill McAuley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Irish Metronome

    You say that you have a "nice solid rhythm" when playing jigs but that they're "flat" - I'm not sure that a metronome, no matter what it's capabilities are, will address that. Feel and lift doesn't come from a metronome, internalizing the music is what does that. Maybe post a video of you playing a jig to give folks a better idea of where you're at now?
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  29. #22
    Registered User James Rankine's Avatar
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    Default Re: Irish Metronome

    Simon - try the Bodhran by Mark Stone, an album of Irish rhythms played, not suprisingly, on the bodhran. If you use slow down software you can set the tempo to whatever you want. It’s still a bit flat and metronomic but it at least has a proper bodhran jig rhythm. You can find it on spotify.

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  31. #23

    Default Re: Irish Metronome

    Ok so this isnít a jig but what I mean is that the tempo here is all over the place, at a couple of places the tune almost stops. I think itís fine if the tempo changes a lot as long as the listener is assured early on that the changes arenít random, for example by playing an early part Ďflatí or Ďregularí, solid like a classic metronome.
    And as I understand it at my stage of learning now, those changes in tempo have to occur in the tune where something melodic or harmonic is happening to in order to fully express the feeling.



    I guess what I want to do is consciously think to speed up a fraction here or there for example. And have a metronome that will do the same, at least for learning slow-downs at the end of a tune.

    This is for a metronome that plays a certain lift:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Notice the metronome works off the beat too.

  32. #24
    Registered User Polecat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Irish Metronome

    Simon, I think you are asking a metronome to do the opposite of what it is designed to do - which is to teach you to play strictly in tempo. Subtle variations in tempo and phrasing are a human thing which is fairly complicated to emulate in a machine, and arguably pointless, as these variations make up your interpretation of a piece of music. Ideally, each time you play a tune it will be an expression of who you are and how you feel at that moment, and mechanically practising accelerandos and rallentandos won't help you to achieve that goal. Also, bear in mind that jigs and reels are dance music, and the convention (all exceptions admitted) is to play them pretty straight to make them danceable. Slow airs, laments and so on are a different kettle of fish and cry out for a freer rhythmic interpretation. I hope I'm not pontificating too much - there's no absolute right and wrong in folk music; the only wrong way to play a tune or sing a song is not to play or sing it, because then it dies.
    Perhaps it would be a good idea to master playing a tune in strict tempo, with a regular beat, then try playing without the metronome, phrasing the music the way you want - if you use your iPhone to record yourself you can listen to what you've done and learn from it.
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  34. #25
    Registered User John Kelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Irish Metronome

    Simon, the advice given here by Polecat is really valuable. Metronomes are for teaching strict tempo playing. Ehat you are looking for is the ability to vary the tempo of a tune as a way of adding expression to the tune, and this is particularly valuable in the playing of slow airs. I have jusy posted another slow air, Cluny Castle, on the SAW group and a metronome would not be any help in playing this. I believe it was our great Shetland fiddler, Aly Bain, who was asked how long to hold a long note when playing a slow air, and his reply was along the lines of "I wait for the first teardrop to appear in the eye of someone at the front of the audience". I like to think of the long notes and held notes as sighs in the music, a chance to let the listener (and the player) have a moment of reflection before moving on in the tune. Many of our Scottish slow airs come from Gaelic airs and ideally you would listen to someone singing the song and get your phrasing from their vocal performances;and remember that where there are lyrics there will always be variations in note lengths from verse to verse.
    I always think that fiddle, with its human voice quality, is the perfect instrument for our slow airs, and particularly a solo fiddle. When you hear a slow air played by a large ensemble of fiddlers (such as Strathspey and Reel Societies) the air can very quickly become a slow waltz in 3/4 time or a slow but very regular 4/4, etc. For me it kills the atmosphere of the melody, but is probably a necessary evil as it is not really practical for 20+ players all trying to play the same tune in their own phrasing. The conductor will lead them and ensure that everyone plays the notes in the same tempo.
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