A device that is used for keeping regular time, a metronome is usually configurable to deliver a constant pulse or click. Part of the accessories section of many musical retailers' offerings, they are commonly sold along with other miscellaneous products, such as spare strings, reeds and drumsticks. One of the key features of modern metronomes is that they create a clear, crisp sound which cuts through other noises, making it easy for musicians to pick up on. This means that they are often preferred by drummers and other rhythmic musicians aiming to develop their sense of timing than other gadgets which might do the job, like drum machines, for instance.
Dating back over a thousand years, the metronome has taken much the same form for many centuries. It was first in the twentieth century that digital versions were first developed. Instead of having a mechanical inverted pendulum which swings left and right to keep the tempo, a digital version uses the same technology as a digital watch – quartz crystal - to keep incredibly accurate time. Electronic metronomes also have the advantage that they can offer beeps as well as clicks. Indeed, some models will also keep time with a display, perhaps lighting a series of LEDs, a further visual aid. For manufacturers of digital or analogue metronomes, productpilot.com provides a business resource for locating the metronome needed.
Many metronomes on the market today do just the same job as they have for centuries. Others will integrate with other digital products and connect to virtual instruments so that time is all kept together across platforms. This is usually achieved by a MIDI connection. In some cases, a metronome can be set to offer an accented beat, too. This is ideal for musicians who are working in a time signature that is unusual to them, helping them to track bars as well as individual beats.
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