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RAc

Looking for an "intelligent" metronome

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Hi there,

 

I am trying to find a metronome that "listens" to its environment for a beat and starts to tick autonomously once it "locks on" that beat. Sort of like the tapping function except the tapping input does not come from a button but instead from the analysis of microphone input.

 

Surprisingly, there does not appear to be such a gizmo. At least my online research hasn't yielded results yet.

 

That kind of thing would be very useful in dance contexts where the exact speed is not known until the tune has started and there are no free hands or feet to tap the rhythm. Once locked, the metronome would prevent the player/band from speeding up or slowing down.

 

Is anyone out there aware of such a device (if all fails, a Smartphone app would do, but I very much prefer standalone devices)?

 

Thanks!

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Maybe such a device could listen for a human count-in (1-2-3-4-) and simply set the beat accordingly?   

 

That would be a lot easier than trying to analyze the music on the fly.

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why sure, it could. One could also build a little foot pedal for the tap button, but both would sort of defeat the purpose.

 

I understand that musical analysis is not an easy task, but when I look at, for example, the waveforms visible in Cubase when recording, I see clearly perceptible peaks on the beats (well that may be specific to certain instruments and certain styles of music). Also, many electronic metronomes these days have what is called a "training mode" in which the desired beat is matched against what you really play, so the metronome can tell you're off. If it can do that, it should also be able to scan a recording in real time and assign a beat to it, no?

 

Thanks!

 

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I completely understand where your coming from with that question, I have been ignoring the metronome on my recording software for years . I invariably end up using a drum to put down a metronome after I’ve roughly got a few bars down to set the grove .

this is less than ideal . I would be fascinated by the prospect of a reliable “thinking” metronome.

i have found that timing and grove are even more important when playing concertina, particularly when working alone . 

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Hi,

Yes that makes sense to me too - when learning tunes from a score, I've often thought that the tempo descriptions  don't reflect how the tune is played in practice.

 

This app seems to what you're after.  I haven't tried it myself, but the description seems right. 

https://apps.apple.com/us/app/beat-mirror-detect-bpm/id1086730929?l=en

 

 

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Great, thanks Mike! That does look promising, but the feature missing appears to be the ability to couple with a true ticking metronome. I'll email Alex and ask him about it. Now if I only had an Apple device... ?

 

I'd still prefer a standalone device, though, because timing will never work accurately in a Smartphone environment (all it takes to seriously disrupt the function is a virus scanner or updater kicking in right when you're in the middle of a fast Polka...).

 

Nevertheless, it's a great pointer, thanks again!

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On 1/11/2020 at 7:27 AM, RAc said:

Hi there,

 

I am trying to find a metronome that "listens" to its environment for a beat and starts to tick autonomously once it "locks on" that beat.

 

Thanks!

Here is something I actually know about ...lol Ok from a Teaching perspective, its easily fixed. Simply set your timer click slow, like 60 BPM. Then imagine yourself walking in step. Then drumming instep, then have a go with playing instep.

 

There is one condition to this method, know the melody off well before you start, IOW know how to humm, whistle etc., the music without a score, which almost always means selecting something you already know well instead of the piece which gave rise to the need in the first place.

 

Its a separate skill and needs developing outside of the reading music thing.

 

Hope that helps.

Edited by Notemaker
Too many words

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3 hours ago, Notemaker said:

Hope that helps.

 

I'm not sure. Either you misread my question or I misread your answer.

 

I'm not looking for beginner's instructions on how to play in time. I use a metronome very frequently and have been playing for dances and other contexts that require steady rhythms for several years now. Knowing a tune by heart before attempting to play it against outside distractions is part of my elementary work flow.

 

The first part of the issue is that frequently bands/session groups/ensembles run off time collectively, normally speed up in the run of a piece (I'm sure many bands experience this problem). That problem can be dealt with by making one person (ideally the drummer if there is one) responsible for beat keeping and chaperoning the rest of the band to stick to the beat, if need be with the help of a metronome.

 

Now the second part is tricker, namely, you can not set a static beat on the chaperone's metronome before the beginning of a tune. In a normal dance/session context, the actual speed of a given piece is determined by the person starting the tune (frequently the musical leader, in a dance context in accordance with the caller), not the chaperone. The time to try to adjust the metronome to that speed normally is not there for the chaperone and/or would require extra work: Setting the metronome to tap mode, hitting the tap button in time until the metronome has locked in to the rhythm, then starting the metronome  on that speed (in sync with the music that's already playing!) and finally joining in.

 

To overcome that second part, I thought about a self-adjusting metronome that determines the beat via a built in microphone (a lot like the beat mirror does) and then continues the rhythm on its own (of course with the beat in time with the predetermined samples).

 

Can your answer help solving these problems? If not, apologies for not making them clear enough. If yes, how?

 

And yes, it is true that in real gig settings, the bands should not have to rely on metronome help to collectively keep a steady beat (although I've heard of a number of pro bands where the drummer frequently derives his backbone rhythm from a rhythm computer during concerts), and in some contexts is is desireable to be flexible with the rhythm for various reasons (for example if the caller requests a change of speed during the dance). Nevertheless, such a device could be very useful during band practices at the very least.

 

Thanks!

 

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5 hours ago, RAc said:

 

I'm not sure. Either you misread my question or I misread your answer.

 

 

 

Thanks!

 

I misread your original question. Hope you get it resolved.

 

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Up till now Mikes Beat mirror is looking like a least a part solution, I’m going to try it 

thanks 

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fwiw, I did contact Alex at tencettles. The beat mirror does not feature a metronome, but he is very interested in the idea. He wrote he'll give it a thought and might incorporate the lock in metronome into the beat mirror, so stay tuned! ?

 

For another side note, I wrote to Thomann's studio department. The big T is Europe's largest outlet store for everything around music. They're not aware of any device that has lock in met features, so very likely there is none on the market...

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On 1/12/2020 at 11:27 AM, Mike in Oban said:

Hi,

Yes that makes sense to me too - when learning tunes from a score, I've often thought that the tempo descriptions  don't reflect how the tune is played in practice.

 

This app seems to what you're after.  I haven't tried it myself, but the description seems right. 

https://apps.apple.com/us/app/beat-mirror-detect-bpm/id1086730929?l=en

 

 

Just for completeness' sake - there is a competitor's app that does pretty much the same thing sa beat mirror:

 

LiveBPM

 

No lock- in metronome feature either, more like a "visual metronome" the two can act as.

 

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