A metronome is a small musical instrument that makes an intermittent, monotonous sound or click at a regular rate, usually in beats per minute. Metronomes can contain visual or mechanical synchronized movement. Most metronome used today are electronic, and come with programmable options for variable speeds and timing. The metronome can also have non-programmable options. Many musicians use the metronome to practice playing at a particular beat to a regular drumbeat.
Many pianists prefer to use metronomes when practicing and playing, as it helps them stay within the metronome range and doesn't require them to speed up or slow down during a section of the piece. Although metronomes are normally used to set a tempo for a piano piece, they can also be used to set a starting point for a piece of music, such as an introduction or prelude. They can be used for a wide variety of purposes, depending on the purpose of the metronome itself. For instance, the metronome for a classical piece of music will usually be much slower than the metronome used for a jazz or pop piece.
There are many different kinds of metronome. The metronome may be a simple one or may have more features. The simplest metronome simply counts the number of beats in a measure, instead of the time. This metronome is also popular for use with electronic musical devices such as synthesizers and sound modules. Electronic musical instruments often call for the use of a specific beat per measure. For example, if a producer wants a slow tempo for a hip hop sample, he'll use a digital bpm meter for that purpose.
The first kind of metronome we're discussing is the pendulum metronome. These metronomes are very popular in traditional classrooms where the instructor plays a small hand-held pendulum back and forth to show the student the type of rhythm they're learning. The metronome strikes the swinging ball and varies the beat depending on how the swing moves the ball. This metronome is great for learning a large number of rhythms, because the metronome can be turned quickly to indicate a small segment of a measure or can be wound back until the next segment appears.
A mechanical metronome is also called a swingmetroscope, which is exactly what it sounds like. It's a metronome with two swingsticks that you place your hands on to vary the rhythm. Unlike a pendulum, these metronomes give the music a sense of being constantly changing, similar to the way a swinging pendulum seems to continue moving up and down in relation to the weight of the music. Mechanical metronomes come in a variety of sizes, so it is important to get one that is the right size for your room so that it doesn't create a distracting sound.
Another kind of metronome is the programmable metronome. These metronomes allow you to set pre-determined tempos on the stick, so you never have to worry about accidentally going to an odd tempo. For most people, sticking to the program is more important than worrying about the tempo, as going to fast or too slow may actually cause the notes to be missed. Programmable metronomes generally take up less space than other types of metronomes, and because you can store the program onto a CD if you need to take it with you, they are often easier to travel with. However, if you decide to take the stick with you, make sure that the Tempo-change knob is located conveniently enough that you won't miss it when you're ready to go.
The other type of metronome is a metronome with an onboard tuner. A good example of this is the ProMetronome, which has a built-in tuner so that you can set the metronome's tempo directly to the song's BPM. This is a good feature for professional musicians because it eliminates the need for having to manually adjust the tempo on the metronome while they're playing, and it lets them know exactly how long each note should be played for. Unfortunately, this type of metronome can also be expensive and can break easily if the stick is poorly made.
Many beginners tend to stick to regular metronome sets until they're sure that they'll be able to handle faster speeds and harder beats. Unfortunately, this isn't always the best approach. Most professionals play in the same metronome range all the time, and some of them have become experts at playing specific kinds of music using certain metronome sets. For example, if you are playing rap music, then you probably want to use a metronome that's set to the BPM of your favorite track. But even if you know that you'll be able to handle a faster tempo on the drums, you still might not be ready for advanced drum programming or drum jumping without a metronome that's directly tempo-matched to it.