Digital Flamenco Metronome for the Modern Musician

Published: 16th September 2011
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Digital metronomes are electronic devices built to help musicians set a tempo for their music. The flamenco metronome is a new kind of digital multimedia compás metronome made by Andy Fitzgerald. The concept revolves in providing musicians an easy and portable digital metronome, in form of a software program for mobile devices like iPhones, smartphones or other.

A digital metronome is a tool that features a variety of tempos, speeds and tunes, which a musician can use as pitch finder. Note that finding the pitch is an integral part of musical compositions, be it guitar music, drums, beat box and so on. A digital metronome is typically lightweight and small, and easy to fit in your bag or pocket. There are various metronome models that have earphones. Coming to realize the importance of portability of metronome devices, what Fitzgerald did was make it into a tiny piece of software that can be downloaded to your phone. The result? Great portability!

A traditional metronome uses a sort of wind-up mechanism feature. Some metronome tools have pyramid shape, while others have a central pendulum which moves side-to-side like an old grandfather clock. The chosen tempo is visible through the movements of the pendulum or the wind-up feature. A flamenco metronome, on the other hand, uses a multimedia compass. For the lack of better description, it looks like a compass. A flamenco metronome looks flat and circular, with a central dial that moves around according to the beat. A twelve hour notation, much like a clock, is used to represent the beats. A number in the notation flashes white as the dial points to it, marking one beat. The continuous rotation of the hand shows a continuous beat that is either varied or constant.

Different from old mechanical models of metronomes, a digital metronome allows the musician to alter the tempos using buttons and LED screen. A flamenco multimedia metronome does even more: It lets the musician do it with a touch screen smartphone.

Many traditional digital metronomes have speeds that range between 40 BMP (beats per minute) and 200 BPM. Electronic metronomes oftentimes use a very loud tone or a flash notation to mark a beat. A flamenco multimedia compás metronome uses both, giving the musician an easier time figure out the beat, and formulating his own from it.

The usual models of metronome have an earphone jack, a feature that makes it easy to concentrate on the beat without distraction. The musician can then plug his headphones into the metronome device directly. Likewise, the flamenco metronome has this feature. Being a multimedia application, the musician can simply use his device's wireless earphones. During performances, the earphones are worn discretely by the musician to help maintaining the beat, and muting out the noise of other instruments.

Other models of digital metronomes have external tap features. This feature allows changing up the tempo by tapping on the housing of the flamenco metronome. The beat immediately alters to suit the new rhythm the musician has just created. Since that's not possible with a handheld device, the flamenco metronome uses the touch screen as the tap feature.

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