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While I practice some pieces with metronome, I try to make notes coincide with the metronome clicks as precisely as possible. However, some (most?) classical pieces have tempo changes like fermata or ritenuto, which break the synchronization of my performance with the metronome.

So, when using the metronome, I ignore all tempo changes. This is not too bad, but still I wonder whether there is any way to employ them.

Is it possible? If yes, how?

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The point of practising with a metronome is to verify that you are able to keep to a constant meter while playing arbitrary rhythms, or to help you gain that ability if you don't have it.

Executing tempo changes such as ritardandos and rubatos requires that you already have that ability, because they should be deliberate choices to deviate from the beat you have mastered, not accidental imperfections.

Because these two modes of practicing don't overlap, there is little point in making an adjustable metronome. So no, once you have mastered meter, you shouldn't use one except maybe to measure your preferred tempi (e.g. to tell the conductor of your next solo performance).

  • +1 ! A lot of music doesn't need to be played as mechanically regulated as a metronome would have one do. Glad that was pointed out, in a way. It's an aid, not a taskmaster! And, let's face it, the metro-mark is there as a guide, not a target.That's why the old 'allegro' etc. are purposely vague... – Tim Jan 25 '15 at 13:23
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If you are not opposed to using a PC as metronome, you could just use any DAW/Sequencer (Audio recording software like logic, ableton live, cubase etc.) or the excellent guitar pro. I'm sure there are also some free alternatives.

This kind of software usually has a way to map out a full music piece including tempo changes. It also has an included metronome to practice along.

Just count the meters in your piece, set the tempo for each section and hit play.

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