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#2045245 - 03/08/13 07:41 PM Leaving a metronome running
soundofsilenc3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/24/11
Posts: 103
This is gonna be a bit of an oddball question. Is it advisable - at all - to leave a metronome running at a slow tempo like 60bpm, and just play?

Without concentrating to hard on "2 notes per 1 click" - like you would in a scale.

I find that using a metronome for scales and then for pieces, is almost like two entirely different worlds.

It's like I can almost feel myself out of sync with the metronome when trying to concentrate on how to 'properly' use is while I'm trying to play.

Would it make sense to just run it and let the ear do the work? Without being all too concerned?



Edited by soundofsilenc3 (03/08/13 07:43 PM)

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#2045255 - 03/08/13 08:34 PM Re: Leaving a metronome running [Re: soundofsilenc3]
malkin Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2554
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
Leaving a metronome on gets me rattled. For me it is better to 'let my ear do the work' and listen to the music. I use a metronome to keep track of beats when I am figuring out a tricky rhythm.
_________________________
A good student is one who makes the teacher feel like a good teacher.

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#2045259 - 03/08/13 08:55 PM Re: Leaving a metronome running [Re: malkin]
Scott Hamlin Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/11/12
Posts: 553
I use a metronome to fall asleep at night
after seeing Morgan Freeman do it in "Se7en".
cool
_________________________
http://DulceLabs.com
Sound, Video, Design

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#2045321 - 03/09/13 12:42 AM Re: Leaving a metronome running [Re: soundofsilenc3]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1383
Loc: Cameron Park, California
I think it's far too generalizing to just set a metronome at any given bpm and then practice several different things. Everything you play (pick two any random scales, for instance) is going to be different in terms of comfortable tempi. The metronome is best saved for fine-tuning, self-testing (checking/tightening rhythm), and keeping track of progress with technique.

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#2045362 - 03/09/13 04:10 AM Re: Leaving a metronome running [Re: soundofsilenc3]
wouter79 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/10
Posts: 3538
If you do for example a slowdown that is appropriate to the piece, and then get back to tempo, you will be off the beat.

Usually if I get off the beat, the metronome does not help to get the indicated speed. It's just a background noise. Maybe you're different in this respect, but in such situations it's useless to leave the metronome on.

So I would say, if you have it on, stick with its beat.

Yet, be careful not to overuse it as that may train you to play the piece at a very constant throughout speed. For some pieces that's great (so no risk of overuse I guess) but for pieces that require a smooth change of tempi all the time this is less useful.
_________________________

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#2045719 - 03/09/13 11:27 PM Re: Leaving a metronome running [Re: soundofsilenc3]
Charles Cohen Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/12
Posts: 1317
Loc: Richmond, BC, Canada
It's easy to _think_ you're playing something at an even tempo, and to wander all over the place.

There are two ways to detect that:

1. Listen to a recording of your own playing -- you'll hear the problems, because you won't be concentrating on playing the music.

2. Practice -- occasionally -- with a metronome. That will teach you what "steady beat" feels like.

To leave the metronome on, and ignore it -- I can't see much sense in that.

. Charles

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#2045805 - 03/10/13 05:50 AM Re: Leaving a metronome running [Re: Charles Cohen]
soundofsilenc3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/24/11
Posts: 103
Originally Posted By: Charles Cohen
It's easy to _think_ you're playing something at an even tempo, and to wander all over the place.

There are two ways to detect that:

1. Listen to a recording of your own playing -- you'll hear the problems, because you won't be concentrating on playing the music.

2. Practice -- occasionally -- with a metronome. That will teach you what "steady beat" feels like.

To leave the metronome on, and ignore it -- I can't see much sense in that.

. Charles


This was interesting because when I let the metronome run I feel as if I'm more in tune. I'm not ignoring it. Almost like it's presence is pushing me along maybe? More so than I would be if it were off.

On the flip side I'm wondering if I may lack the skill or knowledge to apply that metronome flawlessly to what I'm doing .. which is playing.

I'll say it like this. If I play with the metronome on. Even at a slow starting tempo like 60 BPM.

If I leave it running at 60 and make a mistake, it's like just having that "beat" or "tick" to start off on for the next note, makes it feel easier to play the second time around.

If I had left the metronome off, it's almost like "feeling" more disassociated with what's going on.

Is that really what's happening? Every youtube video or tutorial I've seen on technique - they all say - "Start your metronome at a slow tempo AKA 60bpm"

Leads me to wonder I guess.


Edited by soundofsilenc3 (03/10/13 05:51 AM)

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#2045956 - 03/10/13 02:08 PM Re: Leaving a metronome running [Re: soundofsilenc3]
Jacob777 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/21/07
Posts: 103
Here is a silly idea aimed at improving the sense of pulse: Have any of you experimented with leaving the metronome on in the background while doing life stuff (albeit not restricted to piano stuff) so as to get a steady beat under one's skin?

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#2046028 - 03/10/13 04:15 PM Re: Leaving a metronome running [Re: soundofsilenc3]
wouter79 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/10
Posts: 3538
I have been using metronome a lot, maybe even overused, and yes it really helps getting a stable beat without the metronome. For example my friend has a wii and I occasionally join in. One of the games involved counting a number of seconds and press the button as close as possible after the given number of seconds. I was amazed myself how dead on I was and I beat my friend big time even though they play wii quite often
_________________________

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#2046050 - 03/10/13 04:46 PM Re: Leaving a metronome running [Re: Jacob777]
Brian Lucas Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/11
Posts: 970
Originally Posted By: Jacob777
Here is a silly idea aimed at improving the sense of pulse: Have any of you experimented with leaving the metronome on in the background while doing life stuff (albeit not restricted to piano stuff) so as to get a steady beat under one's skin?
This is another great use of the metronome. Most people use it to find weak sections in a piece (and that's a good thing), but I think using a metronome to strengthen your sense of time is a fantastic exercise in rhythm.

Most studio recordings are done with a click track. I've even performed live with a click in my ear. It's becoming far more common. The trick is to hear a click but feel a rhythm. Subdividing (hearing the upbeats) is what is important here. It's easier to tap along (or walk, or whatever) to a faster beat. To test your skill level, turn the metronome down to a slow tempo. You'll have to say to yourself CLICK-and-CLICK-and-CLICK to get on the beat. Set it to something ridiculous, like 40 and you'll have to go CLICK-2-3-4-CLICK-2-3-4.

This will help your overall sense of time. And by the way, this doesn't change your ability to push and pull tempo creatively. I listen to recordings I do without a click, and the natural speed ups and slow downs are still there.
_________________________
-Brian
BM in Performance, Berklee College of Music, 23+ year teacher and touring musician
My Downloadable Video Piano Lessons
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#2046081 - 03/10/13 05:47 PM Re: Leaving a metronome running [Re: Brian Lucas]
Charles Cohen Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/12
Posts: 1317
Loc: Richmond, BC, Canada
If there are any local "drum circles", they're a good place to start learning about "pulse".

They're also great fun!

. Charles

PS -- Google for:

. . "drum circle" directory

finds this for the USA:

http://drumcircles.net/circlelist.html

and an international one:

http://drumcircles.net/internationalcirclestext.html

Unfortunately, nobody wears bikinis in the ones I attend.<g>

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#2046387 - 03/11/13 08:48 AM Re: Leaving a metronome running [Re: soundofsilenc3]
Infinity Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/23/10
Posts: 102
Loc: West Orange, NJ
I only very rarely use a metronome for my own playing. It does make a difference with students. It helps them see for themselves they were not keeping even tempo. So, it seems the best judge would be another person listening to you and let him tell you if you were even.
_________________________
Infinity
Pianist and Teacher
West Orange, NJ
www.pianolessonsnj.com

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#2046420 - 03/11/13 10:37 AM Re: Leaving a metronome running [Re: Infinity]
SwissMS Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/11
Posts: 738
Loc: Switzerland
I use the metronome a lot, in every practice session. It really seems to help me focus and concentrate. I use it:
-- to ensure that I am keeping a steady rhythm in tricky spots,
-- force a slow tempo for practice when I 'think" I know something well enough to play faster, but I really don't
--to up the tempo incrementally until I get to performance tempo
--and to put "performance" pressure on when I am polishing a piece at tempo. Personally I think making friends with the metronome has really helped my sense of rhythm and my playing.
_________________________


Working on:
Handel - Allemande in A Minor
Bach - Inv. #14
Beethoven - Sonata #79 2nd mvmt
Kuhlau op. 88 - 3

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#2046676 - 03/11/13 09:18 PM Re: Leaving a metronome running [Re: Brian Lucas]
soundofsilenc3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/24/11
Posts: 103
Originally Posted By: Brian Lucas
Originally Posted By: Jacob777
Here is a silly idea aimed at improving the sense of pulse: Have any of you experimented with leaving the metronome on in the background while doing life stuff (albeit not restricted to piano stuff) so as to get a steady beat under one's skin?
This is another great use of the metronome. Most people use it to find weak sections in a piece (and that's a good thing), but I think using a metronome to strengthen your sense of time is a fantastic exercise in rhythm.

Most studio recordings are done with a click track. I've even performed live with a click in my ear. It's becoming far more common. The trick is to hear a click but feel a rhythm. Subdividing (hearing the upbeats) is what is important here. It's easier to tap along (or walk, or whatever) to a faster beat. To test your skill level, turn the metronome down to a slow tempo. You'll have to say to yourself CLICK-and-CLICK-and-CLICK to get on the beat. Set it to something ridiculous, like 40 and you'll have to go CLICK-2-3-4-CLICK-2-3-4.

This will help your overall sense of time. And by the way, this doesn't change your ability to push and pull tempo creatively. I listen to recordings I do without a click, and the natural speed ups and slow downs are still there.


Your response really intrigues me. I feel like what your saying, is something I can FEEL happening, when I play with the metronome on.

Although I'm unclear if I'm using the metronome absolutely accurately. As it "technically" should be used.

So if I lack the knowledge to understand my metronome "technically" ... Than I will at least try to gather some comfort from the fact that I have it running and can depend on it.

Or else, as a beginner, I'm scared I'll never develop my rhythm properly.



Edited by soundofsilenc3 (03/11/13 09:19 PM)

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#2050916 - 03/19/13 03:13 PM Re: Leaving a metronome running [Re: soundofsilenc3]
Lost Woods Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/11/13
Posts: 104
Loc: The Netherlands
I have a question about metronome use.
One way or the other I'm "afraid" to use the metronome. I've read somewhere a long while ago that using a metronome will disturb your own sense of ryhtm.

What is the best way to improve your rythm without making yourself rely on the metronome? For example: I play some ragtime pieces.. but I always speed up. How can I "train" this using a metrome. I guess not always when practicing using a metronome.. but once in a while or something like that?

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#2050996 - 03/19/13 05:23 PM Re: Leaving a metronome running [Re: Lost Woods]
tangleweeds Offline

Silver Supporter until Jan 11 2012


Registered: 12/21/08
Posts: 1269
Loc: Portlandia
Originally Posted By: Lost Woods
I've read somewhere a long while ago that using a metronome will disturb your own sense of ryhtm.

I suspect this is a common superstition rather than the result of any sort of scientific study. I don't think we're in a position to do peer-reviewed research here on an internet forum, but lets ask the local experts:

So teachers reading this, have you ever seen a metronome ruin a student's sense of rhythm?
_________________________
Oops... extremely distracted by mandolins at the moment... brb

neglected piano blog

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#2050997 - 03/19/13 05:27 PM Re: Leaving a metronome running [Re: soundofsilenc3]
LarryShone Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/10
Posts: 793
Loc: Darlington, UK
I find it hard to play if there's a metronome or a rhythm running, but that's my lack of discipline showing!
But the metronome sound on my keyboard is ruddy awful!
_________________________
If the piano is the King of instruments then I am its loyal servant.

Yamaha PSR225-I NEED A PIANO wink

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#2051053 - 03/19/13 08:30 PM Re: Leaving a metronome running [Re: Lost Woods]
Charles Cohen Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/12
Posts: 1317
Loc: Richmond, BC, Canada
Originally Posted By: Lost Woods
. . .
One way or the other I'm "afraid" to use the metronome. I've read somewhere a long while ago that using a metronome will disturb your own sense of ryhtm.

What is the best way to improve your rhythm without making yourself rely on the metronome? For example: I play some ragtime pieces.. but I always speed up. How can I "train" this using a metrome. I guess not always when practicing using a metronome.. but once in a while or something like that?


Saying "the metronome will disturb your own sense of rhythm" is like saying to a beginning singer:

. . . Don't practice with a piano -- it will disturb your
. . . own sense of pitch.

But that's what you _want_ !!!! The pitches coming out of a piano are _dead on_. The pitches coming out of a beginning singer -- not so much. So the singer "tunes" to the piano's pitches. That doesn't mean the singer can't slide, or use quarter-tones, or whatever, _when they're called for_.

Playing "dead even" isn't something a pianist needs to do in solo performance. But if you don't know what "dead even" sounds like, and you _can't_ do it, you're in trouble.

"Rubato" -- which is crucial in performance -- is measured against "dead even". You need a strong sense of "even time" to know when you're speeding up, and slowing down.

A way to develop that sense of "even time" is to practice with a metronome! It's a _learned skill_ -- it doesn't come naturally to us.

I wouldn't worry that "metronome practice" will harm _anything_ about your playing. And if you tend to speed things up, it'll keep you honest, and give you a sense of what it means to keep an even beat.

You don't want to "rely" on the metronome forever. You want to move that even "tick tock tick tock" into your head, so you can hear it when you want to.

. Charles

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#2051058 - 03/19/13 08:51 PM Re: Leaving a metronome running [Re: soundofsilenc3]
Mr Super-Hunky Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 4237
Loc: Arizona.
Personally, it is the subtle nuances and slight variations in tempo that give a piece its 'human' and not robotic sound.

Leaving a constant beat on only to jump in at the right moment is probably a good skill to acquire but I would never want to play anything based on anyone elses predetermined beat/tempo. I see this as being similar to painting by numbers where everything is predetermined for you.

I can't make a piece my own when there is a preset speed limit. I do however fully recognize the need to be able to play a piece in correct time so I guess it just depends on what you play.

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#2051086 - 03/19/13 10:46 PM Re: Leaving a metronome running [Re: soundofsilenc3]
JohnSprung Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/11
Posts: 1364
Loc: Reseda, California
Instead of listening to a metronome by itself -- or perhaps alternating with it -- how about listening to recorded music? That way you get not just the beat, but also the melody and harmony.

As Mr. S-H observes, pretty much everything in the real human world is somewhat rubato. Another thing to play with is the playback function in a music notation program such as MuseScore. It'll give you what's written with millisecond perfection. And if you don't want to spend the money on a metronome, you could just write up your own click track on the computer. MuseScore is a free download, and if you're reading this, you already have the computer.... You can also use MuseScore to make a "Music Minus One" to play along with.
_________________________
-- J.S.

Knabe Grand # 10927
Yamaha CP33
Kawai FS690

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#2051089 - 03/19/13 10:54 PM Re: Leaving a metronome running [Re: soundofsilenc3]
Happy Birthday Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4415
Loc: San Jose, CA
If leaving the metronome on all the time works for you, I don't see how anyone can argue against it. I use the metronome so I can use it--- it's true that for many recording situations, you really have to play with the click track, so the bars line up right on the recording--- and at times, when practicing, so I get that real steadiness of tempo. But, I'm glad enough to turn it off.

I find that counting helps a lot when a steady beat is desired. It is not always desired; sometimes expression and musical drama are paramount. Still, I don't see how leaving the click on could harm you, as long as you do learn to play without it, with the tempo coming from your pulsating brainwaves. Your idea of taking it up subliminally might have some merit; subliminal perception plays a big part in a piano performance.

It is more fun, anyway, to make up a little MIDI percussion track and then play with that as the beat-keeper. It's easier to get the real feel of it, and you can put it at any tempo you like... even with changes of tempi.
_________________________
Clef


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#2051973 - 03/21/13 01:56 PM Re: Leaving a metronome running [Re: Jeff Clef]
KBS1607 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/20/10
Posts: 60
Loc: Illinois
Originally Posted By: Jeff Clef
If leaving the metronome on all the time works for you, I don't see how anyone can argue against it. I use the metronome so I can use it--- it's true that for many recording situations, you really have to play with the click track, so the bars line up right on the recording--- and at times, when practicing, so I get that real steadiness of tempo. But, I'm glad enough to turn it off.

I find that counting helps a lot when a steady beat is desired. It is not always desired; sometimes expression and musical drama are paramount. Still, I don't see how leaving the click on could harm you, as long as you do learn to play without it, with the tempo coming from your pulsating brainwaves. Your idea of taking it up subliminally might have some merit; subliminal perception plays a big part in a piano performance.

It is more fun, anyway, to make up a little MIDI percussion track and then play with that as the beat-keeper. It's easier to get the real feel of it, and you can put it at any tempo you like... even with changes of tempi.


This may be a dumb question but how do I make my own MIDI file? I have just started making myself use the metronome and MIDI disks because I have trouble with rhythm. It is really helping and I regret I was so resistant to both for the first part of my lessons.

Kim
_________________________
Alfred Adult Level One graduated 2010
I've been taking lessons since 2005

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#2051977 - 03/21/13 02:09 PM Re: Leaving a metronome running [Re: soundofsilenc3]
LarryShone Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/10
Posts: 793
Loc: Darlington, UK
What tempo would you recommend to set the metronome for a beginner?
_________________________
If the piano is the King of instruments then I am its loyal servant.

Yamaha PSR225-I NEED A PIANO wink

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#2052625 - 03/22/13 05:19 PM Re: Leaving a metronome running [Re: LarryShone]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1383
Loc: Cameron Park, California
Originally Posted By: LarryShone
What tempo would you recommend to set the metronome for a beginner?


At one at which you can accomplish whatever single thing it is you're working on at the time (a scale, a short phrase, or whatever) perfectly. This may be very slow and only perhaps medium slow, but it will likely be slow, regardless, which is the speed at which everything is best practiced

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#2052661 - 03/22/13 06:29 PM Re: Leaving a metronome running [Re: Bobpickle]
LarryShone Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/10
Posts: 793
Loc: Darlington, UK
Originally Posted By: Bobpickle
Originally Posted By: LarryShone
What tempo would you recommend to set the metronome for a beginner?


At one at which you can accomplish whatever single thing it is you're working on at the time (a scale, a short phrase, or whatever) perfectly. This may be very slow and only perhaps medium slow, but it will likely be slow, regardless, which is the speed at which everything is best practiced

Ode to Joy, about 60 BPM. Not sure if Im playing it authentically but it sounds about right!
_________________________
If the piano is the King of instruments then I am its loyal servant.

Yamaha PSR225-I NEED A PIANO wink

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#2052811 - 03/23/13 05:02 AM Re: Leaving a metronome running [Re: soundofsilenc3]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014


Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1383
Loc: Cameron Park, California
A good relevant link to pedagogical discussion on uses of the metronome: http://practisingthepiano.com/?p=2394. There's also apparently a link to a fun wikipedia page full of quotes from famous figures on the topic.

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#2059864 - 04/05/13 02:06 PM Re: Leaving a metronome running [Re: soundofsilenc3]
soundofsilenc3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/24/11
Posts: 103
Thanks for all the great responses.

I've tried to use the metronome at 60BPM for every song I play. When I'm not trying to apply the metronome to a piece I'm working on, then I try to do all scales, 2 notes per beat for now, until I can hopefully perfect it.

I do find the metronome helps with stability over all. But my confusion now is how a piece feels after increasing tempo.

I learned to play a song that was marked as 84 BPM. I played it to a steady beat of 60BPM. When I increase to 84 it almost feels like its "much too fast" to play the piece even in its "suggested" tempo marking.

So does this mean that although I produced the "correct" result. I was "technically" going faster than the tick of the metronome at 60BPM? To play the piece to an EXACT 60 would mean hearing a much "slower" rendition of the song .. not quite "suitable" when played at a tempo of 60? (Because parts of the music wouldn't "fit" together the same way at a slower tempo marking?)

So would this in turn be "counterproductive" or does one still benefit from that steady click at no matter what tempo?

I probably should try to make a video of a few pieces and kindly ask for a critique. It's hard to judge myself when I'm not sure what to look for.

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#2059866 - 04/05/13 02:07 PM Re: Leaving a metronome running [Re: Bobpickle]
soundofsilenc3 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/24/11
Posts: 103
Originally Posted By: Bobpickle
A good relevant link to pedagogical discussion on uses of the metronome: http://practisingthepiano.com/?p=2394. There's also apparently a link to a fun wikipedia page full of quotes from famous figures on the topic.


Thanks for the share =) .... Seems like an excellent article. I'm reading it now =)

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