Guitarists' brains swing together (w/Video)

When musicians play along together it isn't just their instruments that are in time - their brain waves are too. Research published in the online open access journal BMC Neuroscience shows how EEG readouts from pairs of guitarists ...

Medical research

Brain encodes complex plumes of odors with a simple code

In the real world, odors don't happen one puff at a time. Animals move through, and subsequently distort, plumes of odor molecules that constantly drift, changing direction as the wind disperses them. Now, by exploring how ...


Running and rehabilitation improved with the right beat

Runners can best improve their performance with motivating music that has a clear and constant beat. With a stable sound rhythm the pace of runners becomes more regular and they therefore run more efficiently. NWO researcher ...

Psychology & Psychiatry

To remember the good times, reach for the sky

A study published in the April issue of Cognition shows that motor actions can partly determine people's emotional memories. Moving marbles upward caused participants to remember more positive life experiences, and moving ...


A metronome is any device that produces regular, metrical ticks (beats, clicks) — settable in beats per minute. These ticks represent a fixed, regular aural pulse; some metronomes also include synchronized visual motion (e.g. pendulum-swing). The metronome dates from the early 19th century, where it was patented by Johann Maelzel in 1815 as a tool for musicians, under the title "Instrument/Machine for the Improvement of all Musical Performance, called Metronome".

In the 20th century and especially today the metronome is generally positively regarded in Europe and Western culture. The metronome is used by some musicians for practice in maintaining a consistent tempo with steady regular beats and it can be used by composers, as an approximate way of specifying the tempo.

Yet in stark contrasting with this postivistic view, research on the history of the metronome and its influence on performance practice, reveals criticisms of metronome use, and highlights differences of "performance practice" and cultural perception/values between the current modern European/Western society (which values the metronome), and the same society during previous times (beginning of the 19th century and earlier: classical/romantic/baroque eras etc.).

Accordingly, some musicians consider the metronome to be a highly controversial tool in regard to music, with some rejecting the metronome altogether. Some composers considering metronome-tempo-marks to have only little value, or to hinder creative musical interpretation: Johannes Brahms said: "I am of the opinion that metronome marks go for nothing. As far as I know, all composers have, as I, retracted their metronome marks in later years."

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