Keeping the Beat

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How to make sense of pulse, rhythm, and the (sometimes dreaded) metronome

—by Kela Walton

Do you have a complicated relationship with your metronome? The metronome can be a frenemy of musicians—begrudgingly tolerated in lessons, but given the cold shoulder at home. It can be frustrating to work with, and it loves to point out our flaws. The metronome’s unrelenting honesty magnifies and shines a harsh light on what we know and don’t know in the music.

Yet, the metronome doesn’t have to be a torture device. Much like good friends help us grow to become better people, the metronome can be a true friend that helps us improve our inner pulse and play with rhythmic accuracy to become better musicians. We asked three expert harpists—Jennifer Ellis, June Han, and Delaine Fedson Leonard—for their advice on how to improve our skills as well as our relationship with the metronome.

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