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metronomes and feel

The Sandman 19 Oct 10 - 07:44 AM
Bernard 19 Oct 10 - 09:03 AM
GUEST,Jon 19 Oct 10 - 10:26 AM
Desert Dancer 19 Oct 10 - 10:47 AM
GUEST,Jon 19 Oct 10 - 11:03 AM
Jack Campin 19 Oct 10 - 11:20 AM
GUEST,grumpy 19 Oct 10 - 01:38 PM
The Sandman 19 Oct 10 - 01:58 PM
Crowhugger 19 Oct 10 - 02:25 PM
The Sandman 19 Oct 10 - 02:39 PM
Crowhugger 19 Oct 10 - 03:01 PM
Don Firth 19 Oct 10 - 03:10 PM
GUEST,grumpy 19 Oct 10 - 03:46 PM
Tootler 19 Oct 10 - 07:47 PM
Steve Shaw 19 Oct 10 - 08:27 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 19 Oct 10 - 09:11 PM
Crowhugger 20 Oct 10 - 04:11 AM
The Sandman 20 Oct 10 - 07:31 AM
treewind 20 Oct 10 - 07:57 AM
The Sandman 20 Oct 10 - 08:39 AM
Crowhugger 20 Oct 10 - 10:13 AM
katlaughing 20 Oct 10 - 10:42 AM
GUEST,Jon 20 Oct 10 - 11:12 AM
GUEST,Jon 20 Oct 10 - 11:23 AM
Dave MacKenzie 20 Oct 10 - 11:25 AM
GUEST,Jon 20 Oct 10 - 11:31 AM
Crowhugger 20 Oct 10 - 12:26 PM
The Sandman 20 Oct 10 - 12:51 PM
foggers 20 Oct 10 - 05:25 PM
Tootler 20 Oct 10 - 08:21 PM
Crowhugger 20 Oct 10 - 09:44 PM
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Subject: metronomes and feel
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 07:44 AM

playing with a metronome is the best way to improve command of the language of tempo and feel.
quote john McGann flatpicking guitar essentials.
he says you can play directly on the beat, or behind the beat using a click, he suggests 120 for a crotchet.
he then says play a down stroke on an open string with each click, then try playing slightly behind the beat.
he goes on. I have found practising with the metronome clicking two beats per measure is a great technique.
"Putting on the metronome and working slowly on tunes, going for TONE and forgetting about speed. Click on beats 2 and 4 (like a mandolin). Pick a nice easy tempo (yeah, I know, it's more fun to push the envelope and play fast. Bear with me)- play the tune. Next time, try pulling slightly behind the beat. Next time, try pushing the beat (playing a little ahead of it).
It's the feeling of pushing the beat that you want- NOT RUSHING, but having your notes up there like a hood ornament, while the metronome beat is the driver's seat...in other words, staying locked in with the pulse, but relatively ahead of it (Being a little behind is great for swing and jazz playing; it's also where a lot of less-that stellar bluegrass bass players put the beat!)
This feel can Make the Music Happen. Give it a try once you are comfortable just playing along with the metronome with the beat square in the middle (it's not easy, the first time I tried it I thought the thing was messed up, even though it was a quartz electric!)."
what are the opinions of forum members?


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Subject: RE: metronomes and feel
From: Bernard
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 09:03 AM

I thought a MetroGnome was a little feller on the Parisian underground...!


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Subject: RE: metronomes and feel
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 10:26 AM

Well to try and change direction, I think a way is to play along with recordings and pick up a feeling and develop the idea you are feeling in with what you are hearing. Sadly though while I think I have a good beat that I have heard described as metronome like, I am less able with things including at times (unless in a session where all just go for it) in any performing aspect.


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Subject: RE: metronomes and feel
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 10:47 AM

I think it's a perfectly reasonable practice technique to discuss.

The problem that I find with metronomes is that they are inevitably slow in the A part of the tune and fast in the B part. How do they know that?? :-)

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: metronomes and feel
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 11:03 AM

On the metronome btw, When I think about it now, I am actually more accurate than my mother who learned classical piano On the how do they know above, in spite of this "timing superiority" I could ask how does she (at least until a shoulder injury this year) put the feel into say a Chopin waltz or nocturne that I'd be unlikely to find even if I did play piano. It's "her" music and she knows it well. She knows where to put feeling in.


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Subject: RE: metronomes and feel
From: Jack Campin
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 11:20 AM

It will save you repeating something somebody else has already said if you look on TheSession.org for the thread Dick Miles started under the same title.

And it would save ME a lot of effort if unnamed moderators didn't delete posts arbitrarily without even saying who they are. (In a previous post I gave an explicit URL to discussion on the other forum). Joe at least has the courtesy to send a PM if he has a problem with something. I don't believe anybody who won't even do that has any business being a moderator.

I am PM'ing this comment to Joe, so whoever you are, it won't do you any good to delete it.

Joe has already been PMd about personal attacks being deleted


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Subject: RE: metronomes and feel
From: GUEST,grumpy
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 01:38 PM

Here's one reason for not using a metronome: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7HeCnT-h7Iw.


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Subject: RE: metronomes and feel
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 01:58 PM

guest grumpy, simple enough, put up a video of yourself playing it better.


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Subject: RE: metronomes and feel
From: Crowhugger
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 02:25 PM

I love the metronome as a learning/awareness tool during personal practice or group rehearsal time.

My a cappella quartet has had an experience similar to yours, GSS, feeling startled by the difference between what felt like a steady tempo and what WAS a steady tempo. We were speeding up and slowing down as we rehearsed "Orange Coloured Sky," which we intend to sing with a steady backbeat.

The first couple of times we used the metronome with that song, someone would reach over, pick up the thing and peer at the dial, certain that it had moved.

I've used them with piano practice as a kid, from time to time with my own guitar, banjo & cello efforts over the years, such as they were, trying to make even fingerpicking. Also I've used them in vocal ensembles and handbell choirs. That experience has taught me there are several reasons for inadvertently changing the tempo, the least likely being "musical feel." Most often people speed up where they are more familiar, slow down when they have to think more (often unaware of it), speed up when there are many repeated notes, speeding up when playing/singing loudly, slowing down when singing/playing softly. Those are the biggies that come to mind right now, there are probably more.

If you hate metronomes, you can still improve your playing by being aware of why it happens, so you can make musical choices. I find the more I make informed choices about when to speed up or not, the happier I am with the magic that happens at performance time. I'm saying sometimes it's good to resist the natural tendency to rush a passage, it can create a lot of good musical tension, really draw in your audience (they'll probably feel that urge to rush as well), then we choose when to let them go instead of losing that opportunity entirely by never learning it was there.

I hope that makes sense to someone besides me.


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Subject: RE: metronomes and feel
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 02:39 PM

yes it does.
I find that the metronome has been particularly useful for me when I play the tenor banjo, because I use four fingers in single fret assignment getting my little finger to move at speed required work.
the electronic metronome was really useful, I was able to set it perhaps three notches lets say from 108 to 111, and gradually increase my little finger mobilty and speed, over about a month I was able to increase my competence so that I could increase the speed about ten notches.
I have also found it useful when teaching beginners guitar, suppose I wish to teach a complete beginner, to play in 4/4, using thumb index middle ring on 4321 strings, I can set the metronome very slowly, and get them to play each crotchet as a tick gradually increasing their speed as they become more competent, and somehow it works better than not using anything at all.


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Subject: RE: metronomes and feel
From: Crowhugger
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 03:01 PM

The way you (GSS) use it with your guitar students is how I used it with guitar & banjo. With 'cello it was more my left hand that needed work on accuracy, being a fretless instrument, but the same principle was at work.

Do you either encourage or require your students to buy their own metronome to use at home between lessons?


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Subject: RE: metronomes and feel
From: Don Firth
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 03:10 PM

A metronome is an excellent practice device. A classic guitar teacher once suggested that when I practice exercises, scales, and such, I use a metronome starting with a very slow metronome setting. Then when I could play the exercise without goofing it, increase the speed a click or two. Then again.

Same thing for learning pieces. Start off playing it very slowly, concentrating on tone and smooth finger action. Then, when you've got it smoothly, increase it slightly. Keep moving the speed up, and when you can play it well at that speed, move it up again. Finally, when you can play it at the correct pace, move it up some more, until you can play the piece a good five or ten percent faster than it should be played. Then—back it off to the correct speed and you can feel confident that you've got something in reserve.

Also, an excellent way to work on things like alternating bass patterns. I've noted that most people, when they start to learn this, tend to try to play them up to speed right off. The result is generally tangled fingers resulting in sloppy and inaccurate playing.

Start slow. When you can do it smoothly and accurately at than speed, pick up the pace a notch. And so on.

As the same teacher said, "Don't practice your mistakes. You don't want to get good at being sloppy!"

Don Firth

P. S. By the way, grumpy, the idea is to practice with the metronome, then put it aside when you are performing or recording. That "tick tick tick" in the background is a dead giveaway that the Gershwin song, "I Got Rhythm" doesn't apply to you!


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Subject: RE: metronomes and feel
From: GUEST,grumpy
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 03:46 PM

OK, here I am (on the left).

I don't think I need a metronome!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZbnuIYp6HsI


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Subject: RE: metronomes and feel
From: Tootler
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 07:47 PM

If you can play as accurately as this fiddler, I'll believe you don't need a metronome.

I checked it once and he is playing consistently at 58 - 59 bpm throughout - amazingly accurate, yet without feeling mechanical.


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Subject: RE: metronomes and feel
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 08:27 PM

Well, I had a post deleted in this thread that was scarcely a personal attack to say the least. I wouldn't mind were it not for the fact that I've recently been subjected to personal attacks by a pair of brain-dead eejits in those God threads in the last couple of days in a far worse way than anything in this thread. Now I really don't give a monkey's mickey and I would far rather those posts were left undeleted as a testament to the posters' crass idiocy, but the point is that there is, regrettably, something a little arbitrary going on here.

Nothing arbitrary. We cannot be in every thread. If you know of a personal attack, please PM one of us as soon as possible.


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Subject: RE: metronomes and feel
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 19 Oct 10 - 09:11 PM

Eye, Aye, Captain...you have an excellent Bird's Eye of the situation.

And I am serious

I, personally, find the metronome helpful on RESTS. As one who is apt to "rush EVERY situation"... a FULL count rest is my downfall. The tick of grandfathers' c%$#ck (like rubarb and prunes) keeps me a "regular fellow."

When one plays "lead" it is easy to discount ..... the consternation .... that an extended, extended, whole-plus-half, plus-half at the end of phrase can add to those anticipating a "left-toe release can feel. Good topic (and you have had MANY)

Sincerely,
Gargoyle

CARRY ON - As Before!


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Subject: RE: metronomes and feel
From: Crowhugger
Date: 20 Oct 10 - 04:11 AM

Yes, rests! Those are a common cause of unintended tempo variations I was trying to think of.


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Subject: RE: metronomes and feel
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Oct 10 - 07:31 AM

I used to play in a Concertina Quartet, The music was arranged for 4 parts, often there were metronome indications for different sections.
as we used to practise the parts seperately at home, using a metronome to get an idea of correct speed was very useful, we all then had a good idea of speed of a particular section when we played together.
often the music had several bars rest for a particular player, being able to count the beats accurately was assisted by using a metronome.
if the player didnt count correctly he messed up the whole arrangement.


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Subject: RE: metronomes and feel
From: treewind
Date: 20 Oct 10 - 07:57 AM

I've hardly ever used a metronome, but I have recorded against a click track. It's an educational and humbling experience for anyone who thinks they can keep to a tempo, and I guess if you want to get used to playing dance music at what has been established somehow as the "right" tempo it's useful for keeping on track.

We had the distinguished French musician Jean Blanchard staying in our house for a few days earlier this year, playing for a French trad dance group who were visiting, and I heard him one morning practising on his pipes with a metronome to check he was keeping to the correct speed. Clearly it is a respectable tool for use by serious musicians, but it would be bad to use it all the time. After that I was seriously tempted to get myself one.

Of course one shouldn't play like a metronome, but the lessons available from using one are well worth learning.

Anahata


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Subject: RE: metronomes and feel
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Oct 10 - 08:39 AM

tree wind, I do think it is useful for getting a good idea for particular dance speed.
Tootlers clip, and analysis of dancing speed for the liverpool hornpipe, 58 for 59 bpm is useful info, it doesnt mean that it always has to be played at that speed but it is some guidance.
and means if you have to play for dancers, you have good idea of the approximate speed that is likely to be suitable,although my experience has been that dancers will soon tell you if they want it a bit faster or slower , watching the dancers is important too.


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Subject: RE: metronomes and feel
From: Crowhugger
Date: 20 Oct 10 - 10:13 AM

treewind, cheers for your noting of the important distinction between practice with metronome and playing like one.


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Subject: RE: metronomes and feel
From: katlaughing
Date: 20 Oct 10 - 10:42 AM

Yes, from me, too, treewind.

Throughout elementary, junior, and high school, playing first violin in the orchestra, I had to have a good sense, led, of course, by the conductor, but when I played first chair in quartets, it was up to me to lead. We had a metronome at home, used only for practice. Still, it must've done some good, as I had high marks for keeping to the beat. When I play alone, I get caught up in the passion of the music, esp. on fiddle and dulcimer, so I tend to *bend* the rules a bit...not being metronomical, I guess one could say.:-)


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Subject: RE: metronomes and feel
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 20 Oct 10 - 11:12 AM

Also great device, Anahata, when you can prove yourself to being more reliable than your mother by using one!

I think when we talk about dance music (which you are great at), my worst times come in when people, eg a flute speeding and slowing to get ornaments in come in to play. I get thrown off balance then and my timing may ultimately winds up worse than theirs.

Beyond that, I think when you are playing something like Tenor banjo, there is a natural up/down movent with the (if right handed) right hand that helps and you can sort of beat a drum with that.

The pause though, mentioned by Gargoyle - would I have the first clue how to count a beat and a half?


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Subject: RE: metronomes and feel
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 20 Oct 10 - 11:23 AM

Just to explain one comment above a little further, while maybe sacery to some like me, playing along with an expert player can be easier than with a less able one.


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Subject: RE: metronomes and feel
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 20 Oct 10 - 11:25 AM

The trouble with tenor banjos is that they are loud, and if the player is concentrating on getting all the notes in, they can suddenly find themselves a bar and a half out from the rest of the tune. As a rule of thumb, if the dancers don't fall over, your timings probably not too far out.


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Subject: RE: metronomes and feel
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 20 Oct 10 - 11:31 AM

Lol I long ago gave up with the sort of idea that I can triplet as fast as say Gerry O'Conner.


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Subject: RE: metronomes and feel
From: Crowhugger
Date: 20 Oct 10 - 12:26 PM

I'd say that the player who has to fudge the beat to accommodate ornamentation would do well to schedule a private meeting with a slow metronome, upping the B.P.M. incrementally and perfecting at each speed before moving up. And I'd say this is best done before any more playing with others. Or back off the ornaments and allow the beat to roll out evenly. With few exceptions I feel beat-stretching to favour an ornament is anything from thoughtless on down.

Every teacher, guide and coach I've had in my music journey has taught me to keep the rhythm no matter what else fumbles, and get the "what else" back on track as soon as one is able. If not able to do that, it's too fast--therefore simply drop out, or, if circumstances permit, start again more slowly.

Of course because this is how I was taught it's what I think is the right way to deal with it. It seems to me a more gracious approach than messing up the whole.


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Subject: RE: metronomes and feel
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Oct 10 - 12:51 PM

that is where metronomes can be useful again, if you want to practise two groups of tripets say dud dud or dud udu, with the aid of a metronome, you can find a speed you can play them at comfortably lets say 90, then you try 92, you can gradually build up your speed, within a month you cam probably play the triplets much faster.
here is a quote from an article that appeared originally in The   Northumbrian Pipers magazine.Nick Leeming
on keeping a steady rhythm. if you suspect you are a speeder, play along with a metronome.If you cant play steadily with a metronome after several tries, then you probably cant play steadily solo in a group.People advance all sorts of excuses[including would you believe, that the metronome is not keeping steady time], but the conclusion is the same if you cant keep pace with the machine you are not playing steadily. When questioned, a remarkable number of pipers admitted that they did not practise with a metronome because it was too difficult.That alone is a significant indication that a lot of pipers do not keep a steady rhythm whilst playing solo.
here is Nick playing the lovely air Derwentwaters Farewell
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7Jpse4O2JQ


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Subject: RE: metronomes and feel
From: foggers
Date: 20 Oct 10 - 05:25 PM

I have only recently adopted a metronome into my practice regime and dearie me I wish I'd done it years ago! I am self taught on guitar and have lots of sloppy habits that come from trying to nail things up to speed straight away.

Now that I am learning other stringed instruments (mountain dulcimer and 5 strng banjo)I finally decided to work as suggested by others on this thread. Starting at a slow bpm I can often get up to the desired speed for a particular ornamentation or break within a couple of weeks. And keeping a note of the bpm I have got up to with each practice is great for keeping track of progress and for being more systematic in my practice regime.


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Subject: RE: metronomes and feel
From: Tootler
Date: 20 Oct 10 - 08:21 PM

It is my belief that far too often too much prominence is given to ornamentation. It is exactly what it says and so is not essential to the tune. When I am learning a new tune I focus of rhythm and phrasing and only once I am comfortable with the tune do I attempt to add ornaments. In quicker tunes I rarely ornament as too often it slows you down and the rhythm suffers.

I remember when I was attending the Folkworks Caedmon classes at the Sage a couple of years ago, the regular flute and whistle tutor was away one week and an Irish Flute player covered the class on that day. She taught us a slip jig and someone asked about ornamentation. After commenting she did not use a lot of ornaments herself, she made some suggestions and then asked us to play the tune through to try some out. I played with almost no ornaments and then apologised that I hadn't added many ornaments as I was still not familiar with the tune. Her response was "Ah, but you were shaping the melody".

A comment on the clip of the Liverpool Hornpipe I linked to. The actual tempo that the fiddler was playing at was not particularly important, it was the accuracy with which he maintained the tempo even when playing quite slowly. The tempo is much slower than we normally hear the tune played at, but it does show that a tune normally played quite quickly can be very effective when played slowly. You have to play it well, though and that fiddler certainly did.


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Subject: RE: metronomes and feel
From: Crowhugger
Date: 20 Oct 10 - 09:44 PM

foggers, I'd say that if you're often getting tunes up to desired speed & decoration within just a couple of weeks you are choosing ones that are well within your reach. Are you comfortable with that time frame of 2 weeks from start to playable?


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