Ask a Maestro: Metronomes

A couple things I didn’t get to, since this video was already too long:

  • Bartok is another composer who has weird metronome-based issues. He always gave specific metronome markings at the start of his pieces, and then he wrote a final timing at the end of them. If you multiply out the tempo by the number of beats, it almost never equals the final timing that he gave. If you then listen to his own recordings of his works, you usually wind up with a third timing!
  • There is, of course, Dr. Beat, which is expensive, but which has all kinds of crazy advanced capabilities, and allows you to do metronome exercises that can really improve your musicianship.
  • What did people do before metronomes? I imagine they just had a teacher that would beat them if they played out of time. Also an effective tool.


Charles L.

And let’s not forget about composers who deliberately didn’t use metronome markings!

Johnny Brahms, baby. How about a tempo marking like “Allegretto grazioso (quasi Andantino)”?

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