Metronome and live playing

TK-421

Senior Member
Would be nice if the app logs a history of the tempo fluctuations. Then you could determine which sections of a song or piece the tempo changes.
It does, sort of. As it detects the tempo, it leaves a graph of tempo fluctuations. But since there's no time plot on the X axis (only the BPMs on the Y axis), that makes going back and figuring out where the tempo fluctuated in a song a bit more difficult.

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rhumbagirl

Senior Member
It does, sort of. As it detects the tempo, it leaves a graph of tempo fluctuations. But since there's no time plot on the X axis (only the BPMs on the Y axis), that makes going back and figuring out where the tempo fluctuated in a song a bit more difficult.

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So the app is obviously measuring the microseconds between each *implied beat*, or creating an average per *implied measure*, whatever that entails, and then charting these measurements over the duration of the song (duration being beats, not microseconds).

On the other hand - and I haven't seen or used the app - if a count-in to the song is needed to give the app its base beat period (or maybe even user-entered tempo), then it becomes a rather simple programming exercise to implement. Maybe tell the app how many bars and of what time-signature are in the tune as well. God help us for time-signature changes!
 
Sounds like the best thing for your situation is an app called Live BPM. It detects and displays whatever tempo you’re playing at, so you can monitor your tempo and make subtle adjustments if you speed up or slow down, without worrying about locking into a click. For most songs, especially anything in 4/4, it works surprisingly well.
hmm... just got it.. yeah its pretty awesome. Haven't used it with my band yet, but it was able to pick-up my relatively quite moongel practice pad outside about a hundred meters away from the 405-freeway. Not too shabby
 

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
hmm... just got it.. yeah its pretty awesome. Haven't used it with my band yet, but it was able to pick-up my relatively quite moongel practice pad outside about a hundred meters away from the 405-freeway. Not too shabby
I use the Live BPM app on my cell phone all the time. I use it for practice, rehearsals, and live shows. I love it.
I can let the tempo of the song breath. Or I can keep the tempo right on time. It keeps me aware of how many beats per minute we have lost or gained. And I can decide to adjust the tempo or not. I am the drummer/I am the click track.

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TK-421

Senior Member
hmm... just got it.. yeah its pretty awesome. Haven't used it with my band yet, but it was able to pick-up my relatively quite moongel practice pad outside about a hundred meters away from the 405-freeway. Not too shabby
Glad you're digging it. I use it for certain gigs, but not all. Definitely comes in handy. Though I wish it had a way to add count-off flashes at whatever tempo you want the song to be (so you can start at the correct tempo), then once it detects your actual tempo the flashes turn off. Perhaps it could even offer a programmable setlist, where you add the song title and starting tempo, so at the beginning of every song you simply skip to the next song instead of resetting the count-off BPM. Even better would be to display the song title and target BPM as you're playing.

If they'd add all of these updates then it would be SUPER helpful.
 
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beyondbetrayal

Platinum Member
I never have but want to start. Scares me with the crazy speed of our songs and tempo changes, If I went off even 1 16th note and the time signature changed i'd have to rip out my IEM's in a hurry.
 

jazzerooty

Junior Member
I just read the your initial posting. So, I'm sure what I write here has already been stated. Following a metronome on an actual gig is just wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. We play music to enhance our humanity, not to conform to some damned machine. It's friggin' immoral! Sure, practice with a met. It can help. But your band, I'm sorry to say, will never spark with you following the "bap, bap, bap," of a metronome. We have a big band here in St. Paul, with a lame drummer who plays to a metronome. That band couldn't swing a bag of dog crap if they'd launched it from King David's sling. C'mon, man, are you and your bandmembers really that crippled in your grooves?
 

cbphoto

Diamond Member
I just read the your initial posting. So, I'm sure what I write here has already been stated. Following a metronome on an actual gig is just wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. We play music to enhance our humanity, not to conform to some damned machine. It's friggin' immoral! Sure, practice with a met. It can help. But your band, I'm sorry to say, will never spark with you following the "bap, bap, bap," of a metronome. We have a big band here in St. Paul, with a lame drummer who plays to a metronome. That band couldn't swing a bag of dog crap if they'd launched it from King David's sling. C'mon, man, are you and your bandmembers really that crippled in your grooves?
I agree with you on some level, but what if I want to play along to backing tracks or trigger samples that are in tempo/key of the tune?
 

SVBJECT

Active Member
I just read the your initial posting. So, I'm sure what I write here has already been stated. Following a metronome on an actual gig is just wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. We play music to enhance our humanity, not to conform to some damned machine. It's friggin' immoral! Sure, practice with a met. It can help. But your band, I'm sorry to say, will never spark with you following the "bap, bap, bap," of a metronome. We have a big band here in St. Paul, with a lame drummer who plays to a metronome. That band couldn't swing a bag of dog crap if they'd launched it from King David's sling. C'mon, man, are you and your bandmembers really that crippled in your grooves?
I told my guitarist he had to tune by ear because I didn't want a damned machine controlling our melodies....

#TotalSarcasm
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I’m like Bermuda - but my Devo tribute band uses a click for the WHOLE show. So in my personal IEM monitor mix, the click is slightly louder than everything else I may need. And our whole band is on IEMs and each member of the band can control his own monitor mix via an app on his phone that Yamaha created to use with their mixing boards, very cool because the front of house audio guy doesn’t have to mix monitors for us, he can concentrate on just what the audience is hearing. I think only our guitar player has some click going on because some songs he starts before we come in. It works out really good for us.
 

rhumbagirl

Senior Member
I agree with you on some level, but what if I want to play along to backing tracks or trigger samples that are in tempo/key of the tune?
Do you have an example of this application within a live big band jazz setting?

The short answer is .. it depends on the context, style of music, and what the particular direction of the band/band leader is.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I just read the your initial posting. So, I'm sure what I write here has already been stated. Following a metronome on an actual gig is just wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. We play music to enhance our humanity, not to conform to some damned machine. It's friggin' immoral! Sure, practice with a met. It can help. But your band, I'm sorry to say, will never spark with you following the "bap, bap, bap," of a metronome. We have a big band here in St. Paul, with a lame drummer who plays to a metronome. That band couldn't swing a bag of dog crap if they'd launched it from King David's sling. C'mon, man, are you and your bandmembers really that crippled in your grooves?
Ok. You’re organic, I get that. I’m assuming you only play jazz-related things and never have been in a modern rock/pop cover band. And that’s cool, you’ve got your own reality going on. You should come down to California and look for work as a drummer - there are quite a few scenarios where the drummer needs to be well-versed in how to groove with a click because there’s a computer involved. I think it’s an art form, in a way. But I’m convinced I wouldn’t be doing half of what I do if I insisted the click was the DEVIL 😉🤟🏽
 
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so it boils down to what is being played... I would say that trigger or spark that moves people when they hear sound is just as poignant when that note is hit robotically smack-on or when that note is swung so personally by the player.
Each style exists in its own realm as it should be.... yin and yang and all that good stuff
 
hmm... also... in regards to "come down to California and look for work"
I'd say there are plenty of drummers who are good and have style/ can swing/ stay in the pocket, however.... the ones who get the work are the ones who are educated/ can spot-read/ dance with the metronome like, someone who is really good at dancing.
Its kind of like when you see some abstract oil painting in a museum and think "man what the heck this isn't art, its just a splat of paint" however whoever painted that can probably easily knock-out a photo-realistic painting if they wanted to.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
hmm... also... in regards to "come down to California and look for work"
I'd say there are plenty of drummers who are good and have style/ can swing/ stay in the pocket, however.... the ones who get the work are the ones who are educated/ can spot-read/ dance with the metronome like, someone who is really good at dancing.
Its kind of like when you see some abstract oil painting in a museum and think "man what the heck this isn't art, its just a splat of paint" however whoever painted that can probably easily knock-out a photo-realistic painting if they wanted to.
I’d say you’re right - if I can understand what you’re getting at. My point was just to simply go where there’s more of an industry of players that people can choose from and see what those industrious players have to deal with. As Robert Fripp told a wanna-be rockstar kid living in Northern England about making it, “you have to come to London. London will not come to you”. And this is regardless of their education or their talent level. You have to be where the action is to see if you can swim with the sharks.
 

Sausagetoad

Member
It's definitely easier to follow a higher click resolution for medium and low tempo songs. It's also easier to follow a drum pattern, since it feels like playing with another drummer.

But the most important part of playing with a click is to be able to hear it! A musical mix is nice, but when it comes to playing with a click, it should be perhaps the loudest thing in the drummer's mix. That doesn't mean the mix becomes louder, it means lowering/eliminating any sounds that might clutter the mix and your ability to clearly hear the click.

When a click is introduced into a performance (or recording), the drummer's role changes. It's no longer so much about playing with the band, as it is about playing with the click. It's a bit of a perspective shift, and it's important that drummers grasp that in order to remain viable for most popular music.

In concert, about 2/3 of our show is on a click and linked to video and pre-recorded audio parts, and any 'movement' on my part would be obvious and disruptive. Because I have a very specific click-heavy mix - probably unlistenable to anyone else - I can stick with it like glue. I've never, ever lost the click, and occasional inevitable straying/flamming is within 1/16 note and audible only to me. I'm not some amazing timekeeper, I'm just saying that I treat the click as the most important element of the songs in question, and that allows me to stay on it without fail.
I always struggle with a click. Others don't hear it, but I'm constantly getting ahead or behind it and adjusting. Maybe I'm aware of the adjusting to the point where it's hard to "swing" with it. In my mind anyway. Others think I play just fine. I'm sure my cats can hear the 'wee-waws' in the tempo though, they're higher beings...😆
 

Sausagetoad

Member
What I do is download tracks from Karaoke Version minus drums with a click and play to them. Most times I want to get ahead, except for fast songs like Rebel Yell then it's hard just to keep up!
 

jazzerooty

Junior Member
I have no problem if you want to practice to a metronome or click. But to follow one while gigging...who does the band listen to? Maybe I AM too old. But I just don't see how a band can learn to play together if they're not picking up on each other's time feel. It's an interactive thing, where each musician adjusts to the feel of his bandmates. Okay, I'm stuck in the 60s. I'm a former rock musician, though have played jazz since the 70s. So there is much I'm not aware of. I do, however, love the human sound, despite its small imperfections.
 
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