Beat the Beat
If we get sick, we take medicine. It might taste bad or be difficult to take; however, it is intended to help us. Likewise, using a metronome during practice might not be very enjoyable for some people, but it could be greatly beneficial.
The invention of the metronome was possible thanks to Galileo Galilei’s pendulum. Similar to how a pendulum clock works, the first, soundless metronome was invented by Etienne Loulié in 1696. The modern, click-producing metronome was developed by Dietrich Nikolaus Winkel in 1814 and patented by Johann Maelzel two years later.
The metronome’s beat speed is measured by Beats per Minute (BPM), thus the speed 60 is exactly the speed of a second on your clock. The bigger the number, the faster the beat. The first renowned composer to include a metronome mark in a composition was Beethoven in 1817.
Did you know that the metronome has been used by some composers as a regular musical instrument? Including György Ligeti’s “Symphonic Poem for 100 Metronomes”!
Truly, the metronome is like a medicine… a very effective one! Even professional musicians continue to use metronome as a practice tool throughout their careers. However, just like a medicine, it might not be for everyone or the prescription might be different for each person. So, consult and follow the indications of your doctor… or in this case, your instructor!
– Daniel Paquot, B.A., Piano Instructor