View Full Version : Improving time / How do you use your metronome?

10-25-2008, 06:17 AM
Anybody have any tips for improving accuracy of rhythms and time? I use a metronome pretty consistently to work things up to tempo, but I always hit a technical barrier. How do these people who can play exactly 168 bpm or exactly 58 bpm w/o a metronome know how to do it?

11-21-2008, 10:46 AM
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11-26-2008, 08:40 AM
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12-03-2008, 02:41 AM
Who told you some people can play exactly at 168 bmp (or any other tempo)?

That is impossible! You can play at a tempo close to 168 bmp, but you can never play exactly at 168. And what would be the point of playing at an exact tempo? Have you heard midi files quantized they sound awful. Music is not about exactness is about coherence. The subtle variations in tempo bring the piece alive, as does dynamics and every other music attribute.

I practice with the metronome a lot too! Getting pretty close to a tempo is important though as a mean to gain autocontrol and awareness of your playing. A great exercise would be playing quarter notes with missing beats on the metronome, for example:

Put the metronome at 120 and play one quarter note per click.
Then put it at 60 but still play at 120 (so you'll have 2 notes per click).
Now play 4/4 time but put the metronome in 2 and four but play only on 1 and 3. Then put the metronome at 42 and that's going to be your 2nd beat and you play on 1 and 3 with that metronome on 2.

Try different tempos, if you have an electronic metronome you can set it up pretty slow and the metronome could be playing only on 1 (or 2 or whatever) every 2 measures while you play all the quarters.

Now with that same method play a song you know but put the metronome on 2 every 2 beats. The day you can do this you'll be pretty close to playing at an exact tempo w/o metronome.

mDecks (http://mdecks.com/)

12-03-2008, 07:38 AM
I had a teacher who could tell within about 2-3 bpm! But, she didn't observe every metronome tick, when working something up to tempo, but used a particular standard scale. (http://www.greschak.com/polytempo/ptts.htm) And, reason stands that if you can pick out a tempo close to 120, that that skill could be improved to the point of negligible difference. So, I guess I didn't mean to suggest that I want to be a human auto-quantizer. Just a better idea of where starting tempi are at, and steadier time. Most of Miles Davis's recordings for Prestige I've noticed push about 3-6 bpm from the start of the song to the end. As well they should- I don't think it was just that he was trying to get out of his contract!

Put the metronome at 120 and play one quarter note per click...
Then put it at 60 but still play at 120 (so you'll have 2 notes per click).
mDecks (http://mdecks.com/)
Oh, good idea! Yeah, I usually just have it on 2 & 4 or on the quarter, but putting it on every 4 or 8 counts would be a good way to not develop a dependence on it too. (could eventually phase it out of whatever I'm working on.)