Is there any Metronome app that keeps poor time?

Morrisman

Platinum Member
A slightly different solution is the Live BPM app, which listens and graphs the tempo as you play. If they practise to that, they can see when they sped up and slowed down.
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
A slightly different solution is the Live BPM app, which listens and graphs the tempo as you play. If they practise to that, they can see when they sped up and slowed down.
LOL I play with my church choir a lot. They do well to sing somewhere near pitch, never mind keeping good time. Our choir director is hard enough on them already.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
it’s got to be better than just learning it totally on the gig.
That's the thing, I'm not sure there's any other way to learn it. Perception of time when playing with people is actually really complex-- while you're trying to match 2+ guys' effed up rhythm, they're all individually trying to match you matching them.

But there’s a different level of mastery beyond just being able to play a specific piece of music to a steady beat. I feel like an app like this could be a bridge. Especially if the volume would also randomly go up and down, just like when you’re playing in a room where you can barely hear the other players, and/or if they play more quietly when they get to a part they can’t play as well.
I'm still skeptical that that would be an effective way to practice just with a metronome pulse, rather than a crappily-executed line of music. But I guess there's some desperation with situations like this-- you try a lot of different things to make them work, and they never do, but you learn something in trying. Usually it's just this is unfixable, I need to play with better people. If you get too into covering for bad players it starts messing with your playing-- and other good players' perception of your playing.

Just some thoughts-- obviously you have to use your best judgment on how to handle it.
 

beatdat

Senior Member
Interesting discussion.

A random idea because your options sound maddening: how about instead of learning to play with or to wavering meter, try playing sloppy enough so that whoever has trouble keeping time has a "wide" enough beat to fall in or as close to as possible. In other words, instead of you trying to keep time with someone who has poor time, try creating the illusion that you're all playing in time. Is it possible that your timing is so much better that, in addition to their own timing problems, yours somewhat intimidates them? Maybe "dumbing" it down a bit for them will help you sound better together, and maybe even help them develop their timing?

Can I ask why you find yourself playing with these types of players? I can understand some disparity in playing levels between band members, but it sounds like you are in an entirely different league than the people you're talking about.
 

SYMBOLIC DEATH

Senior Member
In situations like this it's easier to address consistent inconsistencies than it is to fix inconsistent inconsistencies. Having a metronome that randomly jump around will probably be of little benefit, because it's random and we can't adapt to that very well, but it might keep you on your toes and listening to the rest of the band. There are metronome that can be programmed to increase or decrease the tempo by X bpms very X measures. Now you would just have to figure out how many measures it takes for you to perceive the increase as random.
My personal example of this comes from when I jointed my current band and their previous drummer had a tendency to rush as the song progressed and would rush more if the snare was on the up beat. When I joined the band they knew I played to a click, and I told them if they drag or rush I wouldn't be going with them because I have the click in my ears. In our early rehearsals they would rush in the parts of the songs where the old drummer would rush, while I stayed on the click. They got out of their learned habit quickly because they didn't want to rush, and liked that I was their foundation. I'm not saying that this could happen in the OP's situation, and could be unique to my band. I think there are just verticals that have no idea how bad their time is, and aren't willing it address their issues.
 

Flow

Active member
In situations like this it's easier to address consistent inconsistencies than it is to fix inconsistent inconsistencies.
I think this really gets to the heart of it. Earlier in this thread, someone else also made the point that the inconsistencies are probably not totally random (unless the other musicians can't really keep a steady pulse at all.) For example, if they're getting excited and speeding up in the chorus, I would call attention to that and suggest we work on fixing it as a band, maybe by playing with a click track, as suggested above.

If you're adjusting to them, how do you decide which person to follow? If it's consistently one musician you're having to adjust to, you're basically delegating the role of timekeeper to the person in the band with the worst sense of time. OTOH, if multiple people have shaky time and you try to adjust every time anyone speeds up or slows down, the band will sound like it collectively cannot keep the beat.

p.s. I've been in bands that have had members with shaky time before, so I sympathize.
 

beyondbetrayal

Platinum Member
As a drummer you are the leader. If your time is good, and the bass player is on, the band should be on. If you have that good of time ignore everyone else and LEAD the band. That way you don't need to learn bad time. If someone says follow them, I'd just tell them my time is perfect and that would be a bad idea. However, no one has perfect time.

I think this would be a mistake to create an app that maybe 2 people in the world will use, hard to generate money off it. Most people want better time. What you could do is create clicks in your daw, and ever 2 or 3 bars just change the BPM. have it gradually increase in spots, speed up chorus parts. but I don't know about a varying tempo to follow.

Have someone record you some riffs with no click attached, or have someone record themselves hitting 2 sticks together for 5 minutes.
 

8Mile

Platinum Member
Having other musicians push and pull the time is a complex thing to deal with for a drummer. Knowing when to adjust to others and when to state the time with authority is a learned skill. There are a lot of variables to consider, not least of which is the personalities and tendencies of the other musicians. It's like having a conversation and adjusting to the person you're speaking with; some people don't listen or will cut you off, others listen carefully and are sensitive to adjusting to you.

The only limitation with an app that varied tempos randomly is this conversational piece, the push-and-pull, would be missing. Because on the bandstand, it's not really random, even though it seems that way sometimes. It's more about tendencies. Rushing during the chorus, stuff like that.

It's funny, though, because of all the instructional materials out there, you won't find much that deals with this type of thing. But it's a critical skill to develop for use in real-life situations and probably more important than 90% of the stuff covered in educational materials.
 

AxisDrummer

Senior Member
I've probably made my band mates better musicians as my timekeeping is very poor and they have to adjust constantly, especially playing live. Most people say they don't notice....because my guitarist/bass player can adjust so well to me. 🤷‍♂️
 

danondrums

Well-known member
In another thread about songs with bad time I realized that instead of a bad metronome app, perhaps a list of songs with bad tempo and just play along to those?
It was when I was thinking about my home rehearsals to the song Pride and Joy and how I struggle with staying on it that I realized what you're asking for already exists!
 
This is exactly what bad players do, rush and drag randomly.
Some might do that, but there are also players that nearly always push in one direction. So if you always adjust to their slowing down you'll end up at 1 bpm eventually. I don't think it's a necessary skill to train.
If it's in rehearsal, you can bring up the issue mid song or afterwards.
If it's in performance and can't talk, you either play extra clearly and hope they realize they are off and return to the original tempo or if that doesn't work, you adjust yourself if the groove starts feeling terrible.
 

Seafroggys

Silver Member
This reminds me of when I drummed for Hair last summer. During the song Donna (for those of you familiar with the musical), there's a line a character says that's a bit syncopated ("Oh Donna Oh Oh Donna Oh Oh Donna" where the "Oh"s are quarter notes, "Donna" are eighth notes), and the singer *could not sing it in time* to save her life. She'd slow waaaay down on it, wasn't even close to keeping tempo. Pretty much at the preview night before opening night, musical director came up to me and said "Look, we tried to fix this, but we can't. Just listen to her and adjust the best you can, then get back on tempo the next phrase."

God, it hurt me to play deliberately off, because I slowed down a good 20 or so bpm in literally 1-2 measures, but that's life sometimes.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
Some songs are polytempo so different instruments play at different tempos. Every member has to keep time is bottom line. A study published of string quartets found all players constantly reviewed time in context of a leader or continuously gauging other members. I would think all instruments do same but sadly I know that’s naive.
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
In another thread about songs with bad time I realized that instead of a bad metronome app, perhaps a list of songs with bad tempo and just play along to those?
It was when I was thinking about my home rehearsals to the song Pride and Joy and how I struggle with staying on it that I realized what you're asking for already exists!
i like this. We could start a list.
 

Rock Salad

Junior Member
Got to take into consideration that some people play Way out front or behind. They just feel it that way, and it is not necessarily a bad thing, and they aren't necessarily trying to adjust the tempo either until they drag/push the group too far.
 
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