Interactive Metronome

Interactive Metronome is an application to help (mainly) musicians or rather  anyone interested to develop the ability to “read” tempo. Reading tempo in this context, means that given a “bpm” an individual can deliver accurate timing whether it’s playing their instrument or any other time based activity, as if one had a built in clock. 


Having an early interest in music and playing instruments, I was amazed when I first encountered the ability of accurately reading tempo a few years ago when I watched the 2014 film, “Whiplash”. I have since, came across several other encounters where I saw how this ability unravelled and functioned in action. Live performances for an instance (The closing of The Bad Plus’s live performance of their song Physical Cities is a fine example), or musicians giving lessons about how one can develop such ability (Bassist, Victor Wooten’s video on Bass Timing) or even challenging other musicians to see if they too have developed this sense of internal time keeping (Guitarist, Paul David’s video “Got Timing? Do you?! Let’s Find Out!”). The challenge in the latest example is to start playing with a drum track for several bars where the drum track fades away while the player is instructed to continue playing, for some bars before the drum track comes back in, If your timing matches at that point with the drum track, the message is clear, you are an accurate time keeper if not however, you’ll need more practice. And that’s where I got the idea of developing the app. 

The app is made of two systems; one, is a classic metronome device that produces beats on a given tempo, and the other is a tracking system, designed to keep track of the users timing performance and provide the interaction. 

3 Bars (Measures) of the metronome is played upon initiating the metronome (and while the feedback system is activated). The metronome track is then disabled while the feedback bar in the UI delivers performance traces of the user, the bar is marked by the “ms” amount of time the player is off-tempo, the marked areas indicate [+/- 20, 65, 120] respectively where the center indicates perfect timing (0 ms) values to the left (-) indicating dragging and values to the right (+), rushing. The metronome system is activated again for three bars, if the user plays one whole measure off-tempo so that they can get back on the correct tempo  this process is repeated. The goal of the user is to not trigger the Metronome to activate of-course, hence being forced to keep their time and ultimately learning that particular tempo by heart.