Do mechanical metronomes have advantages?
I was asking myself while practicing with a mechanical metronome...
Are they better than digital metronomes?
I want to approach this question from this perspective: mechanical metronomes send you 2 types of information, visual and auditive, while digital metronomes send you only auditive information (I know some digital metronomes have a screen or LED's as well, but the mechanical metronome bar/stick is much more obvious).
I can close my eyes and concentrate on the clicks and I can practice in tempo quite easily. However, specially in excerpts that I have not interiorized yet, it happens that if I look at the metronome stick moving, I get distracted and lose the tempo easily, and I don't fail that much if I just concentrate on the clicks and don't look at the metronome.
So my point is, may be with a mechanical metronome you train as well the visual syncing that's so important when playing with other musicians, specially in chamber music like situations, when playing with just 2-3 musicians.
What do you think?
For me I do better with a metronome that has a visual reference in addition to the click. I guess I don't get distracted because I don't actually pay attention to the movement, whether it be mechanical or whatever.
These days I see no reason to use anything but smartphone metronomes and tuners. If you don't have a smartphone there are digital electronic metronome tuners that can be bought for $20 or less.
Smartphone metronomes can be very slightly off. They're handy for casual use, but if I am really practicing with a metronome rather than just doing a quick check of something, I will still use my physical Dr. Beat. (Also, the Dr. Beat is LOUD.)
I have an old wooden Seth Thomas metronome that looks really cool on my book self. It is not very reliable and is a bit of a dust magnet, so I have a digital model that works well and will fit in my violin case.
Be careful you do not hypnotize yourself with your Seth Thomas wooden metronome! One truly great thing about the smartphone metronome is the tap-tempo feature, great for prepping orchestra parts.
1st post (so hello all) and this thread seems relevant as I'm in the market for a new metronome (one of the cats broke my old electronic ones when she knocked over the music stand it was on) and I was wondering if mechanical ones are loud enough? What I do like about my electronic one is you can easily hear it over the violin (it's loud enough to annoy my wife downstairs!!!), I do like a nice, obtrusive click when I'm learning something.
"These days I see no reason to use anything but smartphone metronomes and tuners."
Mike, it depends on the model. Since it's a mechanical metronome, the structure is designed so one piece beats (normally) the back plate of the metronome. As you may guess, there will be quite a lot of differences in terms of sound between models and brands, since they all are differently designed and use different materials, beating pieces, back plates...
Several metronome apps and electronic metronomes I have tried have their visual implementation of the pendulum slightly out of phase with their sound. They are also often not loud enough. My old wooden metronome will beat most of them (pun intended). It is easy to hear while playing (at least when playing alone) and looking at the pendulum I know when the click is going to come. And it never needs new batteries.....
I like my mechanical metronome - it looks nice and adds flare to my studio.
Volume, volume, volume! Especially the "ding" on beat 1 which is clearly audible
Oh, the battery never dies! Although it does periodically require a rewind.
I've always found electronic metronomes to be more accurate. Pendulum metronomes seem to play one side of the swing a bit early.
David, that's simply a broken or unbalanced mechanical metronome. We are talking about functional mechanical metronomes that are in good condition, just as I'm comparing them to electronic metronomes that don't have the speaker a little broken and don't make a loud sound.
A mechanical metronome which isn't sounding right probably just needs a soundpost adjustment. ;-)
It is essential with a pendulum metronome is that it sits on a surface that is perfectly horizontal with respect to the vertical plane of swing of the pendulum if you want absolutely even beats from it. For me, the pendulum metronome ticks(!) all the boxes, including longevity - mine is about 100 years old.
For those of us who sometimes have trouble with tempo, a mechanical metronome is A+, especially for etudes.
I like the visual cue in addition to the sound. I also like the different sound on beat one. That makes it much easier to find my errors. I find it easier to follow the light on an electronic metronome than the stick on a pendulum metronome. So, I prefer the electronic metronomes.
The metronome I recommend to students is the Matrix MR800. I prefer analog controls, a loud and adjustable volume, a visual component (the light) and the 3-octaves of tuning pitches for a drone in keys with lots of flats and sharps.
Scott I think thats the one I have. But Ive been thinking lately that I would like something that offers smaller incréments of speed increase