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#1224427 - 06/29/09 11:55 AM Re: Shopping for my 1st metronome...advice? [Re: apple*]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3158
Originally Posted By: apple*

it is important btw to develop one's inner metronome.


Isn't that the ultimate purpose of a metronome?


Edited by rocket88 (06/29/09 11:58 AM)
_________________________
Music teacher and piano player.

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#1224429 - 06/29/09 11:56 AM Re: Shopping for my 1st metronome...advice? [Re: rocket88]
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
it sure helps~!
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#1224448 - 06/29/09 12:25 PM Re: Shopping for my 1st metronome...advice? [Re: apple*]
Davinci Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/08/08
Posts: 131
Actually my vocal teacher taught me to listen to bass/drum beats to develop my inner metronome which I've been doing for the past years. But recently I can no longer be accurate. The more I try the more I'm off in counting. I just get lost somewhere and getting a metronome is my last resort though.

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#1224451 - 06/29/09 12:34 PM Re: Shopping for my 1st metronome...advice? [Re: rocket88]
EightyEightFingers Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/30/09
Posts: 25
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: rocket88
Put it this way...if digital metronomes were the only ones available, and you had a choice between one that was 100% accurate, and one that was not, would you really choose the inaccurate one?

Ah, but what is 100% accurate? Certainly not a quartz-based metronome.

For ease of comparison, let's say a metronome pendulum oscillates once per second. A quartz metronome has 10-thousand oscillations per second so it's inherently 10-thousand times more accurate.

You say, why would anyone choose the inaccurate one...

Well, a caesium-133 atomic clock has 9 billion oscillations per second. That's 9-hundred-thousand times more accurate than your quartz-based electronic metronome.

Who would want to practice with quartz metronome if it's nearly a MILLION times less accurate than an atomic one?

Don't answer yet... because hypothetically a strontium atomic clock would oscillate 429 trillion times per second. Your quartz-based electronic metronome is 43 BILLION times less accurate than that.

The point of all this is to illustrate that at some point the refinements in accuracy cease to have an impact on the device's practical application: keeping time at a rate ranging between 40 and 208 beats per minute. There's no argument; the increased accuracy is real and measurable (you mention the laboratory test with a radar detector). It just doesn't matter.

I like seeing the pendulum swing as I play. I like the resonant clicking sound it makes. I like the form factor. I like avoiding batteries. If you prefer a device with a flashing light, an earphone jack, a variety of tones and beeps, and the ability to mark complicated rhythms, then by all means choose an electronic one.

All I'm saying is choose between the two because of the practical features you like or dislike. In my experience, the increased precision of the electronic version doesn't make it any more useful - because the difference can't be discerned outside a laboratory setting.
_________________________
My anniversary falls on trash day, too!



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#1224461 - 06/29/09 12:48 PM Re: Shopping for my 1st metronome...advice? [Re: EightyEightFingers]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3158
Originally Posted By: EightyEightFingers
Ah, but what is 100% accurate? Certainly not a quartz-based metronome.

You are right...I should have chosen a different term from "100% accurate".

I should have said something like, "potential varying degrees of inaccuracy (pendulum) to accurate enough (quartz)"

Originally Posted By: EightyEightFingers
In my experience, the increased precision of the electronic version doesn't make it any more useful - because the difference can't be discerned outside a laboratory setting.


Yes it can...I have witnessed old pendulum metronomes that were clearly "wobbly" in the beat.

Also, there is a limitation to having to physically see the pendulum swing, or the light blink, or whatever. Take it away, (by placing the metronome out of sight), and you have lost one of your beat cues.

The stronger your inner beat, the less you need to rely on those, although they are helpful to develop one's beat, kind of like training wheels.

Having said that, I do like pendulum metronomes for their aesthetic value.


Edited by rocket88 (06/29/09 03:59 PM)
_________________________
Music teacher and piano player.

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#1224632 - 06/29/09 05:38 PM Re: Shopping for my 1st metronome...advice? [Re: apple*]
John Pels Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/31/07
Posts: 1253
Loc: Tomball, Texas
If I had a dollar for every student that came to me over the years with a wind-up metronome that beat unevenly, I could likely be able to retire. There was a time that I fixed them for my students just so they would have something quasi accurate to use. At this point, if the wind-up metronome beats evenly I will roll with it, if it beats unevenly, I just tell the parents it has outlived its usefulness and it's time to upgrade. Model T's will likely get you to the grocery store as well as a new Corvette, but you might not like the bouncy ride, the lousy brakes and no A/C. You might not like to start it with a crank. C'mon gang, for 40 bucks you get an accurate workhorse with a volume control. There is nothing here worth fighting about. I keep all of the period pieces on the shelf. They are nice curiosities. A metronome is a tool, nothing more, nothing less. It helps keep accurate time and it helps to gradually increase tempo. All it needs to do is beat evenly. I bought an electronic metronome kit back in grad school. I assembled it into the plastic case that the parts and PC board came in. It cost me 5 bucks way back when. I used it all through grad school and beyond. It still works and beats evenly and still has the 25 year old battery that also still works. Go figure! I bought the MR 600 Matrix because my venerable kit was such an eyesore, functional but ugly, good for a college student, but heck, if I can afford the mortgage, I can afford a new metronome. My prof in grad also had a nice electronic that he used. He made his money selling records and now CD's.Teaching was adjunct to his performing career. If electronic was good enough for him, it is surely good enough for the rest of us. I never heard him invoke any nonsense about needing to see the pendulum move and anticipating the beat or anything else. If I can get the average level 2B kid to use an electronic metronome, I would bet most listers could as well...without all of the excuses.

88 fingers, your analogy about flat surface vs. batteries is terribly flawed. It assumes that the pendulum metronome has never, nor will ever be dropped. When it has been dropped all sorts of neat things can happen...mostly bad. I can't tell you how many wind-ups I have had to place spacers under one side to get it to beat remotely accurately. As to the performance...well if you have a metronome that beats cockeyed, then you likely will never get to the performance stage, because of your general frustration. The real purpose of the metronome is to be able to discern a tempo from a composer's reference and to gradually increase tempo while maintaining evenness. If you have a pendulum metronome in great condition it will of course do that. Age, lack of lubrication and general maintenance coupled with doing it physical harm, will render it junk. I was gifted one at the age of 6 and used it until it was stolen in undergrad from my practice room. I never had a problem with it, but I took good care of it. It took me from John Thompson to the Tchaikowski Concerto. It was great 45 years ago when virtually nothing else was available. Such is not the case today.

Horses and carriages were OK, Model T's were OK, but technology has thankfully marched on...and I'm not a youngster by any means. I'll take the late-model sports car to the horse and buggy any day.

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#1224655 - 06/29/09 06:23 PM Re: Shopping for my 1st metronome...advice? [Re: John Pels]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4393
Loc: San Jose, CA
"I like seeing the pendulum swing as I play. I like the resonant clicking sound it makes. I like the form factor. I like avoiding batteries."

Yeah... I'm with you on all that, 88. I love mechanical clocks, with pendulums and counterweights, chimes, cuckoos, ticks, personality, whirring sounds; things lovingly and cleverly devised by hands. (My piano tuner doesn't love them quite so well, but he doesn't complain.)

But, I have a little quartz metronome that goes in my bookbag and never gives trouble... and I wear a quartz watch. It serves the purpose, and that's all I wish of it. I have a real piano, though--- there, I draw the line.


Edited by Jeff Clef (06/29/09 06:24 PM)
_________________________
Clef


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#1224661 - 06/29/09 06:43 PM Re: Shopping for my 1st metronome...advice? [Re: Little_Blue_Engine]
Horowitzian Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 8453
Originally Posted By: Little_Blue_Engine
I'm looking to get my 1st metronome. I always assumed they just clicked the time, but I see that some of them also chime in addition to the clicking??? I'm wondering how big a difference this makes in using it. Is the chime feature really an advantage or just an extra that's not a big deal? Or am I just not understanding the descriptions I've looked at so far? I'm looking to get the traditional looking wooden case wind-up/pendulum kind. Thanks.

While there is absolutely nothing wrong with a Wittner (I would love to have one, but really don't need it), I would consider an electronic metronome in addition to the mechanical one for portability's sake.

I personally only use a metronome for practicing scales, arpeggios, and Hanon. I dislike even practicing actual pieces of music to a metronome, preferring to instead discipline myself to hold a steady pulse. To that end, my no-frills electronic metronome has served me just fine. YMMV. smile


Edited by Horowitzian (06/29/09 06:45 PM)
_________________________
Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and nuclear weapons.

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#1224744 - 06/29/09 09:14 PM Re: Shopping for my 1st metronome...advice? [Re: Horowitzian]
Palindrome Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/22/01
Posts: 3910
Loc: Chicago, IL USA
I strongly endorse what John Pels said, above. I had a Mini-Taktell and had to spend five minutes at the beginning of each practice session putting cards or pieces of paper under one side or the other to get it to beat evenly.

I have had one slightly irregular electronic metronome, but that was over 40 years ago.

If you're worried about the metronome having a piercing sound, see if you can try one out in a music store first.

A metronome is a tool. I hope you manage to get good use out of whichever one you choose.
_________________________
There is no end of learning. -Robert Schumann Rules for Young Musicians

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#1224783 - 06/29/09 10:46 PM Re: Shopping for my 1st metronome...advice? [Re: Roy123]
SophieM Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/12/08
Posts: 353
Loc: New York City
Thanks! I will check it out. smile

I actually really enjoy using my metronome for everything. I seem more motivated when I use it -- great way to chart one's progress when bringing a piece to speed! grin

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#1224784 - 06/29/09 10:49 PM Re: Shopping for my 1st metronome...advice? [Re: Horowitzian]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3158
Originally Posted By: Horowitzian
I personally only use a metronome for practicing scales, arpeggios, and Hanon. I dislike even practicing actual pieces of music to a metronome, preferring to instead discipline myself to hold a steady pulse. To that end, my no-frills electronic metronome has served me just fine. YMMV. smile


Thats right... useing a metronome for practicing scales, arpeggios, and Hanon will build into your musical brain tempo control, which will, after time, positively affect your playing so you can play without tempo fluctuations.
_________________________
Music teacher and piano player.

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#1224790 - 06/29/09 11:04 PM Re: Shopping for my 1st metronome...advice? [Re: rocket88]
Little_Blue_Engine Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/30/09
Posts: 1233
Loc: Ohio, US
Originally Posted By: rocket88
Originally Posted By: Horowitzian
I personally only use a metronome for practicing scales, arpeggios, and Hanon. I dislike even practicing actual pieces of music to a metronome, preferring to instead discipline myself to hold a steady pulse. To that end, my no-frills electronic metronome has served me just fine. YMMV. smile


Thats right... useing a metronome for practicing scales, arpeggios, and Hanon will build into your musical brain tempo control, which will, after time, positively affect your playing so you can play without tempo fluctuations.


This is pretty much what I expect to use the metronome for. I seem to have a decent internal sense of timing. When I'm working on an actual song I can keep things pretty even so long as I can listen to a recording of it and I've got the fingering down OK. Most of the music I'm messing around with is pop/rock stuff and I find that if I "listen" to the lyrics/vocal part in my head while I'm playing I can keep pretty close to where I belong. It's usually the coordination thing that really fouls me up.
_________________________
I'll figure it out eventually.
Until then you may want to keep a safe distance.


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#1224801 - 06/29/09 11:28 PM Re: Shopping for my 1st metronome...advice? [Re: Little_Blue_Engine]
RealPlayer Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/02/03
Posts: 2281
Loc: NYC
I'm with John Pels on the value of a good electronic.

Life's too short to mess with stuff that's error-prone.
_________________________
Joe

www.josephkubera.com

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#1224838 - 06/30/09 01:11 AM Re: Shopping for my 1st metronome...advice? [Re: RealPlayer]
John Pels Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/31/07
Posts: 1253
Loc: Tomball, Texas
Anyone that honestly believes that metronomes are only good for scales and Hanon needs to re-evaluate. Serious pianists use them daily to gradually increase tempo without adding rhythmic anomalies within virtuosic passagework. THAT is the purpose. Anyone can make themselves believe that almost anything is correct rhythmically with their "internal metronomes". Metronomes keep you honest. Anyone that has taught piano knows that one of the most useful tools for the young pianist is counting out loud. It is only then that that "internal metronome" gets some discipline. For 35 years I have been getting the comment "I am counting in my head, so I don't have to count out loud". Invariably the rhythm is totally wacked. Record the playing.The results will invariably speak for themselves. Students are always amazed at how far off they are.

Metronomes are the serious pianist's best friend. When you get to the point that you can actually listen to yourself from almost a third party perspective, you will apprehend the anomalies that occur within the beat. Rhythmic anomalies are the doom of technique. Many folks bemoan the fact that "I don't play like Horowitz or Kissin" or pick your virtuoso. Admittedly there are basic talent issues involved, but there is also a discipline involved. If you don't work like the masters, you won't play like the masters. It is the discipline that makes absolutely sure that all of the beats are where they belong. And now of course I guess I will be deluged with some detractors that imply that working with a metronome will yield a mechanical performance. That is balderdash as well, and I have NEVER been accused of that on my worst day.

Why am I on a tear today? Because I have been working for hours with a metronome on a section of the Rachmaninoff Suite Op 17 and it is getting better by degrees. It always does when I work this way. There is no magic to getting a good result at the piano. It is one of the most highly disciplined mental activities on the planet. So, I will reitterate, if concert-pianists have no trouble using them daily(and not only in scales and Hanon), why should we?

Obviously if you are playing non-technical passages there is less need for a metronome.

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#1224839 - 06/30/09 01:13 AM Re: Shopping for my 1st metronome...advice? [Re: John Pels]
EightyEightFingers Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/30/09
Posts: 25
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: John Pels
The real purpose of the metronome is to be able to discern a tempo from a composer's reference and to gradually increase tempo while maintaining evenness. If you have a pendulum metronome in great condition it will of course do that.

Exactly my point, John. I think we're mostly in agreement here. My original allegation was simply that the greater inherent accuracy of a quartz movement vs. a pendulum isn't a relevant deciding factor between the two devices. I stand by that.

People keep mentioning all the broken, dropped, and damaged mechanical metronomes they've seen. But if you drop your piano, that probably won't do it much good either. Even an electronic metronome probably would be done-in by the right drop on the wrong surface. I think you have to compare properly working mechanical metronomes with properly working electronic ones.

That said, the caveats you've noted are all valid: you must place it on a level surface, you have to properly maintain it, you have to treat it delicately and avoid dropping it, if it doesn't beat evenly you need to have it repaired. If all that sounds like too much fussiness, then by all means choose an electronic device. As I said, choose between the two because of the practical features you like or dislike. Shock resistance and portability are important practical features and the electronic devices are undoubtedly superior in those regards.
_________________________
My anniversary falls on trash day, too!



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#1224942 - 06/30/09 08:40 AM Re: Shopping for my 1st metronome...advice? [Re: EightyEightFingers]
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
it is also fun to play with the metronome. for instance try playing a piece written in 4/4 time with the beat sounding on the 2nd or 4th beat.. ot perhaps try playing a measure and 1st beat of the next measure counting in 5/4 time, moving on the next measure again and again.. these type of things really solidify your mastery of the notes.
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#1225043 - 06/30/09 12:24 PM Re: Shopping for my 1st metronome...advice? [Re: apple*]
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17698
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
A couple of years ago my hubby asked what I wanted for my birthday, and I told him "a metronome." He was confused by the choices and bought me two, a wind-up Wittner and a digital metronome. I tried both out for a while but have long since defaulted to using only the Wittner. It's got a soul-satisfying deep "thock thock" sound that is much more pleasing to my ear than the electronic beep of the digital metronome. I also find the visual cue of the pendulum quite helpful.

Buy the metronome you like the sounds and looks of the best. You'll use it more if you like it, and that's the whole point. thumb
_________________________
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

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#1225047 - 06/30/09 12:33 PM Re: Shopping for my 1st metronome...advice? [Re: John Pels]
Horowitzian Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 8453
Originally Posted By: John Pels
Anyone that honestly believes that metronomes are only good for scales and Hanon needs to re-evaluate. Serious pianists use them daily to gradually increase tempo without adding rhythmic anomalies within virtuosic passagework. THAT is the purpose. Anyone can make themselves believe that almost anything is correct rhythmically with their "internal metronomes". Metronomes keep you honest. Anyone that has taught piano knows that one of the most useful tools for the young pianist is counting out loud. It is only then that that "internal metronome" gets some discipline. For 35 years I have been getting the comment "I am counting in my head, so I don't have to count out loud". Invariably the rhythm is totally wacked. Record the playing.The results will invariably speak for themselves. Students are always amazed at how far off they are.

Metronomes are the serious pianist's best friend. When you get to the point that you can actually listen to yourself from almost a third party perspective, you will apprehend the anomalies that occur within the beat. Rhythmic anomalies are the doom of technique. Many folks bemoan the fact that "I don't play like Horowitz or Kissin" or pick your virtuoso. Admittedly there are basic talent issues involved, but there is also a discipline involved. If you don't work like the masters, you won't play like the masters. It is the discipline that makes absolutely sure that all of the beats are where they belong. And now of course I guess I will be deluged with some detractors that imply that working with a metronome will yield a mechanical performance. That is balderdash as well, and I have NEVER been accused of that on my worst day.

Why am I on a tear today? Because I have been working for hours with a metronome on a section of the Rachmaninoff Suite Op 17 and it is getting better by degrees. It always does when I work this way. There is no magic to getting a good result at the piano. It is one of the most highly disciplined mental activities on the planet. So, I will reitterate, if concert-pianists have no trouble using them daily(and not only in scales and Hanon), why should we?

Obviously if you are playing non-technical passages there is less need for a metronome.


John, your point is well taken. I have used a metronome with pieces when I really need it. What I'm saying is that for the most part I find that I don't need it. And I don't get complaints about my tempi much from my teacher; who certainly lets me know when I have problems. I have personally derived the most benefit from the metronome with the scales and all that as well as in that Bach Invention #8. But YMMV! smile
_________________________
Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and nuclear weapons.

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#1225148 - 06/30/09 03:30 PM Re: Shopping for my 1st metronome...advice? [Re: Monica K.]
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
Originally Posted By: Monica K.
It's got a soul-satisfying deep "thock thock" sound thumb

well said Monica!

i like the thock.. my digital is way tooo loud and irritating - i have to wrap it in a towel.
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#1225162 - 06/30/09 03:53 PM Re: Shopping for my 1st metronome...advice? [Re: apple*]
John Pels Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/31/07
Posts: 1253
Loc: Tomball, Texas
Yes ladies, the electronics can be annoying, but that's why I recommended the one with a volume control (Matrix MR 600). I guarantee that its "thock" is very much what we had become accustomed to with the mechanicals. I have two students, one with a Seiko and one a smaller Matrix. Both have small speakers mounted on the front and both openings have been closed as well as possible with masking tape. I don't know if manufacturers never focus group these products or what, but I hate them and my students do as well because the tone is so annoying. The masking tape looks ugly, but the metronomes are now more pleasing to(not)listen to. This is why I prefer to buy the metronomes for my students. I get what is best for them, and there is no adversity to the sound and they acclimate quickly. Likewise, there are some models with too many bells and whistles. Then it gets relegated to the toy category and there are too many distractions, and it doesn't get used in its basic mode. The difference in price between the annoyingly loud models and the MR600 is no more than $12 plus or minus. The metronomes that beep are not as functional as they should be mainly because of the basic sound. It is far too easy to tune it out (mentally) and not pay attention to it. In addition, most that beep also have to be adjusted by holding down a switch to get to the proper tempo. That is just plain annoying. The MR 600 has a dial and access is immediate. The MR 600 also will double as a great tool for kids in band and orchestra because it has a chromatic tuner. For myself, I use it when restringing a piano to chip it up to pitch quickly and semi-accurately.

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