Sunday, July 26, 2009

Metronome Software for PCs and Mobile Phones: Guitar Guide II

 Is there a metronome software for the mobile phone? You bet there is! I found one for Windows-based computers and smartphones based on the Symbian Series 60 3rd Edition. I have also listed a whole bunch of equivalents for the Mac OS, Linux and Windows Mobile phones too. I hope this is useful to you and makes learning the guitar more convenient to you. All the software, save one, are free.


In the first part of my post on learning the guitar, I listed a few websites that I found simple and proved helpful too. In that post I had mentioned that chord switching is important. I remember how to play a bunch of chords but I cannot switch from one chord to another too cleanly or on time. I even tried chanting the "1-'n'-2-'n'-3-'n'-4" beat while switching. But I was not perfect in doing that either. I would rush the beat and mess up with the chord switch. The Charles Sedlak video on 5min.com video suggested the use of a metronome. He suggested setting the metronome to a low beat count initially, so that chord switching can become smooth and the finger positions become ingrained into memory. After achieving smooth switches, one can increase the beat count.

I did not want to spend any money on a metronome. So I figured I would try to find a software that would do the same job because I use the PC a lot to watch the video tutorials. But what about the times when I do not need to use the computer? Is there a metronome software for the mobile phone? You bet there is! I found one for Windows-based computers and smartphones based on the Symbian Series 60 3rd Edition. That is because I use Windows XP and own a Nokia E51 mobile phone. I have also listed a whole bunch of equivalents for the Mac OS, Linux and Windows Mobile phones too. I hope this is useful to you and makes learning the guitar more convenient to you. All the software, save one, are free. The one that isn't free is meant for Windows Mobile phone and features a large set of features.

Weird Metronome for a Windows PC
This one gets a thumbs up from me. You can set it to play a measure of any length, emphasise on any beat(s) you want, and choose from a library of nearly fifty percussion instruments.










For Mac OS:
Created by Ron Fleckner
Metronome 1.8.1b can also be downloaded from Mac Softpedia as well, where there are some nice screenshots of this tool.

For Linux:
Simple Metronome
Simple Metronome or Simetro is a console program, which I would not recommend to you unless you like running a command to start the metronome with the beat count and measure. All the instructions are provided on the page where you can download it from.

Kmetronome
KMetronome is a MIDI-based metronome that uses the ALSA sequencer. It is available in tar.gz format, which means you will have to compile and install the program. It is hosted on Sourceforge.







GNU GTick
If I were you, I would put my money on GNU GTick. It seems to have a nice user interface, supports different meters, beat rates, and is ALSA compatible. The website provides instructions on how you can install the tar.gz file.









For Mobile Phones:
Symbian Series 60, 1st and 2nd Edition
Metronome S60 is a simple app for phones based on the 1st and 2nd edition of the popular Series 60 platform. The download link leads to a Geocities page and the installer file is available in a ZIP file, so do not freak out. A list of all supported phones are mentioned on the website.

Symbian Series 60, 3rd Edition
The Musician's Swiss Knife is what I use on my Nokia E51. This tool is compatible with Series 60 2nd editions phones too. If you search for this tool on the website, you will find versions for later editions of the Series 60 platform.
This app is a note generator for tuning cum metronome. (On the BitsforFree.com page, scroll down to view the list of supported phones.)
Also read the instructions on how to enable Java-based audio on your phone. You will not hear the beats if you have disabled warning tones on your phone.

Windows Mobile phones
Mobile Metronome
This one looks simple enough, is tiny and is optimized for 240x240 screens. It is supposed to be compatible with PocketPC phones as well. It also offers a mute option, so that you can follow the beats with a visual indicator — a very practical feature.





Another simple app for Windows Mobile smartphones and Pocket PC phones.


Little Snazzy Drummer (LSD) 2008 Lite
This whacky metronome also includes a recorder. The screenshot shows it can do more than just help you with the beat. It even has an option to upload more sound files. In terms of features, LSD Lite beats the rest of the free Windows Mobile phone apps in this list.





K-metronome 1.9
This is the only one that is not free (in this list) but I have still listed it because when I came across it I was really impressed with the features that have been packed into a metronome tool. Just take a look at the screenshot on the website. It is so professionally made.

And that's that. I hope you found this list helpful and came across one that fit the bill. If you have across a better one, preferably free, leave a comment and let others know.
As FretJam says, "Practise and learn at your pace," to which I would add, "...but stick to the metronome's pace." Enjoy!


Additional Tip:
If you are always on the move and do not get time to read much or have difficulty in remembering guitar chords, then use your phone. Save images of the tabs that are on FretJam (or Guitar.About.com) neatly categorised as Major/Minor/Advanced...
If you can, save the instructions as text or full Web pages. I use Opera Mini. Just keep looking through one set at a time. Memorise, visualise and probably 'air-guitar' it.
This way, when you do get time to spend with the guitar, instead of reading, you will get straight to the practise.

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