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