Author Topic: Doesn't "speed upper" defeat the purpose of a metronome?  (Read 1033 times)

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Offline BobZ

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Doesn't "speed upper" defeat the purpose of a metronome?
« on: March 12, 2019, 03:00:41 am »
Just wondering if the "speed upper" function does more harm than good? After all, a major function of any metronome is to help the player develop a solid, steady sense of timing. If the metronome gradually speeds up with that tool, doesn't that counter to what we're trying to develop? Won't that feed into someone's tendency to speed up while playing (a very, very common problem)?

Offline stitch101

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Re: Doesn't "speed upper" defeat the purpose of a metronome?
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2019, 03:20:18 am »
You don't use the speed up function to practice songs you use the function to
speed up chord changes or riff. When you're trying to bring playing up to speed.


Offline BobZ

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Re: Doesn't "speed upper" defeat the purpose of a metronome?
« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2019, 12:19:07 am »
You don't use the speed up function to practice songs you use the function to
speed up chord changes or riff. When you're trying to bring playing up to speed.

Didn't mention songs. And really it doesn't matter - we should develop a solid sense of time in everything we play. In the demo video Justin specifically mentions using it with scales, but when I use it the metronome speeds up at various spots within the scale, which is very odd. In other words, it doesn't always speed up on 'the one'. It speeds up at random times, sometimes on beat 2, sometimes on beat 3, etc. I just don't think it's very helpful to have a time keeper speed up mid-measure. Playing a measure (or two) at, say, 120, then the next measure (or two) bump up to 125, etc, would be a better way to program that function, IMO.

Offline OpsRes

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Re: Doesn't "speed upper" defeat the purpose of a metronome?
« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2019, 03:21:19 pm »
Bob
I use the two trainers in the app, Speed Upper and Step Upper, in two very different ways.
I use the Speed Upper when I'm working on building speed in chords changes, such as One Minute Change. I do this fairly sparingly and most of the time I either don't use a metronome or I use one at a fixed BPM.
I use the Step Upper when I want to build the tempo of a song or riff. For example I will start off at 80 BPM play for 2-3 minutes and then have it shift up to 85 BPM. This is a discrete change so there is no in between rates.
Personally I found both trainers useful for specific purposes. That said most of my use is at a fixed BPM
Glen

Offline Majik

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Re: Doesn't "speed upper" defeat the purpose of a metronome?
« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2019, 07:24:57 pm »
Personally, I don't see a conflict between using a metronome as a "rhythm sense" building tool, and a "speed upper" function.

In practice, even without an automatic speed upper function, most musicians will use a metronome in a mode where they manually adjust the metronome speed in small increments. This just automates the process.

And the "rhythm sense" that's being developed is, largely, independent of the tempo at which a passage is played. A huge part of it is about learning to play along with a rhythm, and to be driven by a rhythm. IMO it's primarily aimed at building speed on scales and arpeggios.

Developing the "internal clock" is a different skill, and it's one you wouldn't use a "speed upper" for. That's where the "bar breaks" comes into play.

Of course, configuring it so that the speed changes very quickly is probably not sensible. Personally I would prefer it if you could configure the phrase length.

I have to admit, I really don't use this function, as I have other tools I prefer to use.

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Keith
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Offline BobZ

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Re: Doesn't "speed upper" defeat the purpose of a metronome?
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2019, 04:56:04 am »
Personally, I don't see a conflict between using a metronome as a "rhythm sense" building tool, and a "speed upper" function.

In practice, even without an automatic speed upper function, most musicians will use a metronome in a mode where they manually adjust the metronome speed in small increments. This just automates the process...….



Not true, and that's the very issue I have with this app. When you manually adjust the speed, you do so at the end of a certain number of completed reps (a 'rep being once through a scale, say). For example, you might play a scale 10 times at 130bpm, stop, bump the metronome up to 135bpm, play the scale another 10 times, etc. Each individual run through the scale is played at a steady tempo. You are completing the scale in it's entirety before moving up the tempo. You aren't speeding up half way through anything, you aren't playing the first 3 notes at 130 and remaining notes at 135 - which is what happens when you use the "speed upper".

One of the worst habits I see in other players in speeding up (or slowing down) mid-way through a song without being aware that they're doing it. As someone who plays in many different ensembles and at jam sessions, it's absolutely maddening to play with someone who's constantly pushing or dragging the tempo. It a sure fire way of getting people to not want to play with you. This feature seems to actually encourage that bad habit.

The entire point of any metronome is to keep the musician at a steady tempo. Practice with a metronome in this manner will eventually instill in a musician their own sense of tempo - the ability to stay at a speed without speeding up or slowing down. This in an essential skill, no matter what type of music or instrument you play. The way this feature of the app is designed defeats the very nature of the metronome.


For that reason, I won't be using this feature at all and I would advise any beginner to steer clear of it as well. Just stick with the regular metronome function and manually bump up the tempo when desired (and, really, doing that takes less than two seconds, so what are you really losing?). I do however, wish the 'speed upper' was designed in a way that made it more useful, such as allowing us to choose the number of bars before the tempo kicks up each time. I'm no programmer, but it seems an easy thing to do. Shame it wasn't.

 

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