Practicing with a metronome is one of the best ways to improve your time feel and rhythmic consistency! A metronome is a tool that keeps time for musicians to practice with. Before computers, the original metronome consisted of a weighted pendulum that could be set to different tempos, generally ranging from about 40 bpm, or largo, to just over 200 bpm, also known as presto or prestissimo.
Now that digital online metronomes are readily accessible, their precision, adaptability, and functionality has increased dramatically. There are many free online metronome applications available on the internet. We at Skoove like to recommend the best online metronome, Drummer’s Pulse.
If you don’t know how to use a metronome, now is an excellent opportunity to learn!
This metronome includes a handful of basic functions. The bottom of the interface features a master volume control, as well as individual volume faders for whole note, quarter note, eighth note, sixteenth note, and eighth note triplet rhythms. This means you can use the faders to create a blend of each of these rhythms, which is awesome for building your rhythmic strength.
- Above the volume controls, we find two buttons labeled “Tap” and “Start.” The “Tap” button allows you to create a custom metronome tempo by tapping the button. This is a useful function if you are listening to a song and want to know the tempo. The “Start” button simply turns the metronome on or off.
- Above the “Tap” and “Start” buttons, there is a grid that represents the number of beats inside each measure with plus (+) and minus (–) signs on the right side to adjust the number. The metronome can perform 2 beats up to 8 beats, which will get you through most of your practice situations.
- Up to the right lies the manual tempo control buttons. You can use these buttons to adjust the tempo up or down 10 beats at a time with the double arrows or 1 beat at a time with the single arrows.
- On the left side lives the menu functions. Here you can change the sound of the metronome between 5 different sounds including Real, Clang, Sticks, Tick, and Voice. Each of these sounds can be controlled with the volume faders. Additionally, there is a “Quiet Count” feature that alternates a measure of silence with a measure of beats to help further develop your time feel.
Why use a metronome?
Learning to use a metronome brings the opportunity to:
- study the words used in music for tempo markings. You will notice different terms like andante, adagio, and allegro. These are all words we use in music to indicate a feeling of a certain tempo beyond simply saying 120 bpm.
- Practice with a perfect and consistent beat to strengthen your rhythm
- Test out different rhythms so you know what they sound like. For example, what do quarter notes sound like against eighth notes?
- Practice pieces at a variety of speeds to help solidify technique and build endurance in your fingers.
You can learn more about these terms and other musical mysteries with a free, 7 day trial of Skoove!