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#1351128 - 01/16/10 01:22 PM Re: I don't practice with a metronome neither I count. [Re: Nguyen]
eweiss Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 2393
Loc: Beautiful San Diego, CA
Ok. 1 bar = 1 measure. And I am enjoying the 68 degrees and sunny weather here in San Diego. Maybe I'll go to the ocean today and check out what's a happenin.
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#1351137 - 01/16/10 01:34 PM Re: I don't practice with a metronome neither I count. [Re: eweiss]
Nguyen Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/25/09
Posts: 430
Loc: Massachusetts
Originally Posted By: eweiss
...And I am enjoying the 68 degrees and sunny weather here in San Diego. Maybe I'll go to the ocean today and check out what's a happenin.

mad

smile
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Nguyen - Student Pianist

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#1351178 - 01/16/10 02:29 PM Re: I don't practice with a metronome neither I count. [Re: Nguyen]
ten left thumbs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
Brits say 'bar', Yanks say 'measure'. It means the same thing. smile
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#1351368 - 01/16/10 08:38 PM Re: I don't practice with a metronome neither I count. [Re: ten left thumbs]
Michael Darnton Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/17/09
Posts: 243
Loc: Chicago
Now, I'm not saying everyone wants to play in a band, but. . . I once had to play with a fiddle player who had only played by himself. He didn't count, either, and he didn't realize that he'd learned many things wrong. By that, I mean that he dropped beats all over the place. Things weren't the things he thought they were, we couldn't play with him, and people couldn't dance to him. He had to relearn everything.

My point is that counting is necessary to keep your music within the framework you intend. You can argue that you're making your own framework, but if you don't count, no, actually you aren't--you're just playing a mess that YOU think is good, but not necessarily others, because they realize what's missing.
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#1353010 - 01/18/10 10:04 PM Re: I don't practice with a metronome neither I count. [Re: Michael Darnton]
KrAYZEE Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/14/09
Posts: 83
Loc: Los Angeles
Okay, I know this is verging on, or even crossing into useless pedantry but "Bar" is short for bar line and those, of course, are the vertical lines that divide measures. So in practice, when someone says, "play for 32 measures" or says "play for 32 bars", yes, it all comes out the same.

Kurt

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#1353045 - 01/18/10 11:00 PM Re: I don't practice with a metronome neither I count. [Re: KrAYZEE]
packa Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/05/05
Posts: 1399
Loc: Dallas, TX
Originally Posted By: KrAYZEE
Okay, I know this is verging on, or even crossing into useless pedantry but "Bar" is short for bar line and those, of course, are the vertical lines that divide measures. So in practice, when someone says, "play for 32 measures" or says "play for 32 bars", yes, it all comes out the same.

Well, if we're going to board the train to pedantry, we might as well go to the end of the line. The Harvard Dictionary of Music says "bar" can be used in any of 3 senses: 1) Measure; 2) Bar line; 3) Bar form.
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Estonia L168 #1718

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#1353078 - 01/19/10 12:02 AM Re: I don't practice with a metronome neither I count. [Re: packa]
DancinDigits Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/15/10
Posts: 68
Loc: USA
My teacher taught me only to use a metronome to help determine speed, but to never play along with it - the reason was that he wanted me to develop my own sense of rhythm without any outside aid.

At first I did the tap the foot thing, and also counting (whichever worked best at the time) when learning a new piece. After a certain amount of practice, I would no longer have to tap the foot or even count as the rhythm of the piece I now knew 'instinctively'. It was like my hands no longer needed direction from my brain - they knew what to do all on their own. (Wow - sounds like something that would be in a sci-fi movie. LOL)

Eventually I started to recognize rhythm not so much by counting each individual beat, but by analyzing and recognizing the time value of each note relative to the other notes. Its kind of hard to explain, but if the quarter note was the note that beat the measure, I would use it to establish the time value of the other notes comparatively.

But of course, for complex rhythms, or for ones I am not certain of, I slow the tempo way down and do the ole count the beats thing.

I also was taught to give a piece expression, to add a touch of tempo change - IOW don't play a piece in strict, never changing, tempo. In some places speed up a bit - in others slow down a bit. This helps to give the piece expression and less of a mechanical sound to it.

But when learning it, and especially when playing with other musicians, you should initially pay strict attention to a steady tempo. The piece can be worked with once everyone has the basics down.
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#1353189 - 01/19/10 05:41 AM Re: I don't practice with a metronome neither I count. [Re: DancinDigits]
ten left thumbs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
DancinDigits, there's nothing wrong with using a metronome as you teacher suggests - if it works. Counting is fine. You have a teacher to let you know you are getting it right.

Originally Posted By: DancinDigits


I also was taught to give a piece expression, to add a touch of tempo change - IOW don't play a piece in strict, never changing, tempo. In some places speed up a bit - in others slow down a bit. This helps to give the piece expression and less of a mechanical sound to it.


There are some types of music where it is OK, even preferable, to accelerando and ritardando. There are types of music where this is absolutely *not* OK, and you need to keep a steady, even beat, the whole way through. Rock, dance music and march music are like this. I certainly disagree that music with a steady, unchanging beat lacks expression and sounds mechanical.
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#1353256 - 01/19/10 09:01 AM Re: I don't practice with a metronome neither I count. [Re: ten left thumbs]
John_B Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/17/10
Posts: 621
Loc: Bristol, UK
I use the metronome for a number of things:

- Setting a tempo

- From time to time checking whether I am making unwitting tempo variations. (Sometimes, after having intensively practised a piece tempo variations can creep in.)

- Always, and I do mean *always* running through my parts with a metronome well before playing with other musicians.

As far as varying the tempo with a piece is concerned: the music should live and breath. Metronomic precision kills music. The amount and style of rubato and tempo variation in classical music ('classical' used in its widest sense) depends very much on the period and on the composer. Ideally it should grow out of the music, and isn't something to be imposed onto it - the markings in the score are a guide to this. The sense of what is appropriate grows with getting to know the style of the period and of the composer through listening to lots and lots of music.

As for counting, I confess to not counting, apart from when there are tricky passages, as I can usually 'see' the rhythm. However, I am sure that I would be much better off if I regularly counted. Getting into that habit would have greatly helped on the odd occasions when I've played with other people - as counting is then absolutely essential.


Edited by John_B (01/19/10 09:04 AM)
Edit Reason: Added a sentence

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#1353261 - 01/19/10 09:11 AM Re: I don't practice with a metronome neither I count. [Re: KrAYZEE]
John_B Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/17/10
Posts: 621
Loc: Bristol, UK
Originally Posted By: KrAYZEE
Okay, I know this is verging on, or even crossing into useless pedantry but "Bar" is short for bar line and those, of course, are the vertical lines that divide measures. So in practice, when someone says, "play for 32 measures" or says "play for 32 bars", yes, it all comes out the same.


Crossing far beyond pedantry into the realm of pedantryissimo: in the UK 'Bar' means exactly the same as 'Measure'. Here, it is never used as a shortened version of 'Bar Line'.

(What was it the man said: "Two countries divided by a common language." ) wink

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#1353310 - 01/19/10 10:50 AM Re: I don't practice with a metronome neither I count. [Re: John_B]
Nguyen Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/25/09
Posts: 430
Loc: Massachusetts
Good stuff, very insightful.

You know, when I asked the “Bar” and “Measure” question, I thought to myself, “people will think it’s a dumb question, everyone knows “bar” but me. Going through the book, I could find “measure” but not “bar” hmmm… What the heck with it! Better be dumb and get it straighten out than being in the dark and pretend you know…”

After a bunch of answers, and a Harvard Dictionary of Music interpretation, I guess it’s a pretty good question after all, huh.
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#1353341 - 01/19/10 11:29 AM Re: I don't practice with a metronome neither I count. [Re: Nguyen]
John_B Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/17/10
Posts: 621
Loc: Bristol, UK
Nquyen,

IMO there is no such thing as a dumb question.

thumb

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#1353342 - 01/19/10 11:30 AM Re: I don't practice with a metronome neither I count. [Re: John_B]
joyoussong Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/19/09
Posts: 742
Loc: Canada
They're only dumb if we don't ask them...
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Carol
(Started playing July 2008)


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#1353425 - 01/19/10 01:10 PM Re: I don't practice with a metronome neither I count. [Re: joyoussong]
Michael Darnton Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/17/09
Posts: 243
Loc: Chicago
Being an artiste is fine and dandy, but playing with a metronome separates those artistic pauses from the places where you slow down because you can't quite get your fingers where they are supposed to be. I'm surprised that ANY real teachers are suggesting not using a metronome at at least one point in the preparation cycle--that's a new one for me. Gotta learn the piece right first, before you can art it up.
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#1353448 - 01/19/10 01:51 PM Re: I don't practice with a metronome neither I count. [Re: joyoussong]
Nguyen Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/25/09
Posts: 430
Loc: Massachusetts
Originally Posted By: John_B
Nquyen,

IMO there is no such thing as a dumb question.

thumb

Originally Posted By: joyoussong
They're only dumb if we don't ask them...

Well, sometime I do pretend I know and don’t ask, especially if I sense everyone else does, you know, so no one rolls their eyes looking at me funny. Sad but true. Don’t tell me you never did it in grades school and college. LOL. laugh
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#1353471 - 01/19/10 02:43 PM Re: I don't practice with a metronome neither I count. [Re: Nguyen]
joyoussong Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/19/09
Posts: 742
Loc: Canada
Of course I've done it! Still do, even though I'm old enough to know better. wink
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Carol
(Started playing July 2008)


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#1353780 - 01/19/10 11:38 PM Re: I don't practice with a metronome neither I count. [Re: John_B]
packa Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/05/05
Posts: 1399
Loc: Dallas, TX
Originally Posted By: John_B
Crossing far beyond pedantry into the realm of pedantryissimo: in the UK 'Bar' means exactly the same as 'Measure'. Here, it is never used as a shortened version of 'Bar Line'.

This may very well be true in modern usage. But the Oxford English Dictionary indicates the oldest musical definition of "bar" in British English as meaning "bar line" (dating from at least 1665), while "bar" meaning "measure" is only dated to 1779.

Okay, my last ultra-pedantic word on this subject (I promise).
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Paul Buchanan
Estonia L168 #1718

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#1353784 - 01/19/10 11:47 PM Re: I don't practice with a metronome neither I count. [Re: John_B]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5976
Loc: Down Under
Originally Posted By: John_B
... in the UK 'Bar' means exactly the same as 'Measure'. Here, it is never used as a shortened version of 'Bar Line'.
Nor here in Australia either. smile
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Du holde Kunst...

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#1353824 - 01/20/10 12:50 AM Re: I don't practice with a metronome neither I count. [Re: currawong]
HappyApple Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/08/09
Posts: 254
Loc: Tennessee, USA
My teacher doesn't like me count. He says that I have good timing and don't need to. But I think I do need to. It's just that I have known every song... oops (piece) he has given me to play. So, I know the beat. As far as tempo goes, I think a metronome would be great to know just how a certain piece was intended to be played. As for now, slow is my speed on everything. cool
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1970 Baldwin Hamilton

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#1353834 - 01/20/10 01:05 AM Re: I don't practice with a metronome neither I count. [Re: HappyApple]
crogersrx Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/25/08
Posts: 712
Loc: San Francisco, CA
Rachel J said something on her website that I really liked about counting. You should start practicing with hands separate and learn a measure or two at a time, count it as you're playing it and more or less memorize it. Then do the same with counting it as you start putting the hands together and do play a few bars or phrases at a time. As you establish good fingering, counting, dynamics at the beginning while roughing it out, you can let the counting, fingerings, and dynamics all sort of sink in to the automatic muscle memory as the piece comes to fruition.

When you have the piece totally memorized or at least can play it without depending soley on the music, then you can start adding artistic phrasing, rubato, and dynamics.

So, make counting part of the early stages after getting the basic fingersing down, then it won't be such a bother later.
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1887 Knabe 6'4" (Rebuilt)

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