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The Accessory That Every Musician Needs

There is a plethora of instrument accessories that musicians recommend when you tell them you are beginning to learn a musical instrument. But how can you tell which accessories are actually critical and which are more a matter of preference? Plenty of instrument accessories aren’t strictly necessary, but they can enhance your playing style or practice routine. However, there’s one accessory that practically every musician keeps close at hand: the metronome.

Metronomes are relatively mundane as far as musical accessories go, and most people know that they are used to help a musician keep a desired tempo and rhythm or improve speed when playing. But how many people actually know the background of the metronome? Here’s our breakdown of how the metronome came to be one of music’s most ubiquitous accessories.

The Metronome

Soundbrenner Core Steel Watch

The history of the metronome begins with Galileo’s discovery of pendulums and their ability to keep time. This discovery was then adopted by Étienne Loulié, a French musician who first designed a metronome with an adjustable pendulum in 1696. However, this early model was silent and had to be in view of the musician. Louilie and his contemporaries also struggled to control the speed of the pendulum in a way that was suitable to the tempo of popular music at the time.

Advancements to the metronome design didn’t come until 1814 when German inventor Dietrich Winkel developed a metronome that could keep both fast and slow rhythms. This invention was then patented by Johann Maelzel, and became the precursor for the types of metronomes we see today. Musicians like Beethoven began to include metronome markings in their compositions, and before long the triangular wooden device had become a staple for musicians of all kinds. Today’s metronomes are largely electric, and some incorporate modern technology to include digital interfaces or tuners. There are even wearable metronomes which can allow you to feel the beat rather than just hearing it.

The Musicians Metronome Watch

Every musician should invest in a metronome, whether it’s a classic wooden pyramid or a sleek smart watch. Wearables for musicians have become more popular in recent years, and the Soundbrenner Core Steel watch is one of the best. The watch is equipped with a clock, vibrating metronome, tuner, and dB meter, making it a one stop shop for all your musical essentials. If keeping track of multiple accessories sounds like a hassle to you, give the Soundbrenner a try. Before you know it, you’ll be playing concert ready pieces.

Additional Resources

Carriage House Violins

Located in Newton, Massachusetts, Carriage House Violins is the instrument sales division of Johnson String Instrument.

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Johnson String Project

A charitable foundation whose goal is to provide high-quality instruments to children who live in under-served communities and who are participating in El-Sistema-inspired programs in Massachusetts.

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