metronome

There are mainly three types of metronome available. They are the mechanical, electronic and smartphone apps.

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I was grown up with mechanical metronome. It has a series of assigned tempo markings for ticking, from the slowest tempo at the top to the fastest at the bottom of the metronome. As it is constructed with pendulum mechanism no power supply is needed. It also gives loud and clear ticks.

I bought one electronic metronome when I studied music at the University. The tempo marking is shown as digits and you can adjust tempo much freely than traditional one. The other advantage is that electronic metronome has more functions such as subdivisions. You can also adjust the volume of  the tick. Moreover it is smaller, lighter and easy to carry.

While after I have bought a smartphone, I also use metronome app. I like the “tap in” function of metronome. But only a few electronic metronomes have this function. They are either too expensive or not satisfactory in general quality. However I find some free apps have built-in this useful function. For example steinway metronome for ios, mobile metronome for andriod, and free metronome for windows phone.

Finally, my criteria of choosing metronome are:

1. The metronome is clearly sounded and loud enough to hear while you play the piano. If the sound is too soft or blur you will soon lose interest in synchronize with metronome.

2. It has subdivision function. Each beat can further subdivide into 2, 3 or 4 ticks. It is important feature for counting and rhythm mastery.

3. It has “tap” function. So you can know what speed you are now playing and how far you are from the optimum tempo.

So far I can’t find one which fully match my criteria. Now I use the combo of electronic metronome and metrnome app.
Cross reference: Slow practice with metronome

 

Copyright © 2014 Alice Ho — All Rights Reserved

Slow practice with metronome

Sochi Winter Olympics has been held for almost a week. I especially like figure skating. Figure skatters need to do series of moves such as spins, jumps and throw jumps with music. They give smooth, well-organized yet stable performances.

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It is similar in piano playing. Led by hands and arms, our fingers have to run and jump on the keyboard on time. However, we tend to slow down in difficult sections and speed up in easier parts. This will break the continuity of music.

Here I suggest the use of slow practice to overcome the problem. Firstly find out the optimum tempo of the piece and mark it on the score. The optimum tempo is the tempo that allows the reflection of character and salient features of the piece. You can also find the hints of optimum tempo from performances by other pianists.

Then play the whole piece comfortably. Tap while playing. Then tap your pulse on metronome with pulse tap function such as mobile metronome app and steinway metronome app. Your current tempo marking is right there.  Compare this marking with the optimum tempo and you will see how far you are left behind. Achieve the optimum tempo progressively and patiently.

Once you have reached the optimum tempo, please don’t forget to replay the piece in slower tempo regularly. This can help you solidify what you have learnt.

 

Copyright © 2014 Alice Ho — All Rights Reserved