What is a Metronome?

You must have seen rockstars or musicians playing with a metronome while performing on stage. If you do not have an idea of what a metronome is or how it looks like, did you see a triangular-shaped device that produces an audible click at regular intervals? That’s a metronome! You may think why your music teacher told you to practice using a metronome to improve your playing.

Almost all musicians practice using a metronome to get the correct tempo. You need a metronome to get better at playing the instrument you are playing, or for singing your favorite song.  To know what is a metronome and all about it in detail, check out our article!

Metronome – The device 

Do not confuse metronome with a musical instrument. It is merely a device that produces a click or a motion sound at fixed regular intervals. Musicians usually set the metronome at a desired beat pet minute and play their music in accordance to it.

Metronome also contains a visual motion that is highly synchronized. You can use this regular beating motion to practice your music at any pulse you want. Metronomes are available in many different types starting from analog to electrical, and digital ones.

Why do musicians need a metronome? 

If you are a singer or a musician you would know that all music requires a steady tempo inside your head. You need to follow the scale and pace of the song mentality in order to stay synchronized and not rushed.

People who have troubled following the steady tempo of a song end up producing chaotic or dragged music. This is why metronome is required to help them stay in beat and in their desired (high, low, steady) tempo.

You can adjust the rate of the clicking beat of the metronome and then play your instrument or sing according to that clicking beat.

How to get the correct beat?

Before you begin your music practice with your metronome you need to first adjust it to the right tempo. As all metronomes are set to a certain number of beats per minutes you can set it according to your tempo’s speed.

A 60 BPM is one beat every minute and is quite a slow tempo. However, 4 beats every minute or 240 BPM is very fast. If you are using a metronome for the first time, try starting off with a slow beat.

A slow beat will help you improve both your technique and playing time. You can slowly raise your beat without having to sacrifice any technique or precision.

At first you may miss, or have problems keeping up, but soon you will get used to its pace. Make sure to dedicate 2-3 days every week in playing with your metronome and you will get better at your face both in singing and/or playing music in no time.

Type of metronomes

There many types of metronomes available in the market. Did you know there are two categories of metronome: analog and digital? Mechanical and electromechanical metronomes fall in the analog category, whereas, the app and software metronomes fall in the digital category.

1. Mechanical metronomes

Have you seen the metronomes shaped like an inverted pendulum? Those are the mechanical metronomes. These use an adjustable weight at the end of the pendulum rod to control the tempo. The weight moves up the rod to decrease the tempo’s speed and moves down to increase the speed.

It swings to and fro in temp and produces a clicking sound with every single oscillation. One of the best things about mechanical metronomes is that they do not need a battery, they work using a spring-wound escapement working clockwise.

2. Electromechanical metronomes

Instead of spring-wound clockwork or a quartz crystal, an electric motor is used to power the metronome. Electromechanical metronomes use a cam wheel and a switch to maintain the speed of the beats. One of its interesting features is its neon light that lights up every time it reaches the beat.

Some of the electromechanical metronomes provide a time chime signature to it additionally that plays along with its basic tempo. If you want a fancy metronome better get one of these.

3. Digital metronomes

Many people prefer digital metronomes nowadays. They are available mostly in the form of electro chips or as software. Software metronomes are one of the most widely used digital metronomes.

Software metronomes are run as standalone apps on smartphones or as software in computers. They can also be run as audio multi-track, or music sequencing packages.

These metronomes are used in recording studios for recording songs or pieces played by singers, or to provide a lick track for artists. There are also metronome apps that can be downloaded from Apple and Android play stores. If you want a metronome that you can carry anywhere you can try app metronomes.

4. Dial metronomes

Dial metronomes are digital metronomes but they require batteries to work. Most dial metronomes contain a bright flashing LED light to make it look aesthetic. Their features include extra functionality such as accenting beats and various clicking sounds. Most digital metronome’s also come with a jack for headphones. If you are in a crowded area or have trouble listening to the beat you can attach a headphone and listen.

Types of digital metronomes available

  • Dial
  • Clip On
  • Pedal
  • Credit Card
  • In Ear

Bottom Line

Now that you have read this article, you should know what a metronome is. Metronomes help musicians a lot with their tempo and work on their music’s quality. There are many brands of metronome available in the market. You can decide which metronome whether analog or digital would be suited for you and get it for yourself. You can purchase them from your nearby store or order them online.

Also Read About: How to Play Mandolin?

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