A metronome is a tool that should be in every music serious person’s toolkit.
In the past, you would have to spend a pretty penny on a mechanical or digital metronome, but in the age of the internet and smartphones, you can simply buy some metronome software instead. .
Here, we’ve rounded up some of the best online timer and metronome apps to help you stay up to date.
What is the metronome used for
In case you’re asked by your music teacher to use a metronome, but don’t really know why, let’s take a look at how to use it.
Broadly speaking, music has two main components: melody and rhythm. A metronome is a device that helps you beat the beat later. It’s basically a timekeeping device that generates steady beats. Music that has both tempo and rhythm is known as “time stamp”. Temperature is simply the playback speed of the music. This is the main job of the metronome. For example, if you set it to 120 beats per minute (BPM), the metronome will tick 120 times per minute.
While mechanical chronometers only provide steady beats, digital chronographs can also offer more sophisticated options, such as providing beats that match the different time signatures.
Metronomes help musicians develop innate timing. It helps to limit the “wobble to the beat” when the player speeds up and slows down instead of playing consistently.
In addition to helping you learn how to play at the right tempo, if you want to record your music professionally, it’s important that you have experience playing with a metronome. Recording engineers use so-called “click tracks” that play while you’re recording.
This helps ensure that all musicians contributing to a multi-track recording play in sync with each other, even as they’re recording each of their pieces. There are even live performers that use an in-ear click-through monitor that the audience can’t hear!
Metronome+ has been around for ages and is incredibly popular for a reason. The online Metronome app is no longer just a metronome. Additional useful tools such as a voice recorder and color corrector are available. However, only the metronome itself is free and there is a small ad at the bottom to help support the developers.
That’s fine by us. If you just want a metronome it’s OK to have to see a small commercial. What we didn’t like was the video that pops up full screen when you first open the app, but whether you can stand that is up to you.
As for using the app itself, it’s both intuitive and easy. You can set BPM live and useful is the app that gives you separate names for different tempos (adagio, andante, etc) so you can impress your teachers.
You can use the “tap” button to quickly find out the tempo of the music you’re listening to or trying to play along.
However, Metronome + plus has a hidden depth. Just tap the settings button and you can make any changes you could possibly want to the beat, including the time signature. Overall, this is a great choice for the vast majority of people.
Soundbrenner claims that they developed “Metronome” as a response to all the mediocre metronome online apps out there. Based on (over) 50,000 reviews and a five-star average, they clearly got it right.
The app is also completely free, so what does that bring? Turns out Soundbrenner also makes chronographs on wristwatches that can work with the app. So when you activate the app, you get a bit of marketing hype.
If you just choose to use the app, you’ll be met with one of the best looking metronome apps you can get for any price. It has all the functions a musician needs, such as beat percussion, time notation, and note division. It also allows you to load presets for different songs.
This is truly one of the best online metronome apps we’ve ever seen, and the fact that you don’t need third-party ads is amazing. Highly recommended!
Guru time is not free. It will cost you a few dollars for the privilege of owning this app, but if you like solutions that are a bit left out, Time Guru could be well worth the small asking price.
The difference between this and something like a Soundbrenner metronome is in intent. The Soundbrenner metronome aims to be the most elegant, core metronome it can be. Time Guru can also function as a normal metronome, but it has some neat features that do a better job of helping you develop an accurate sense of time.
For example, you might choose to turn off random beats as a way to challenge yourself and make sure you keep time even if the metronome doesn’t help. While the interface is a bit clunky and unattractive, these clever features might just be what students struggling to perfect their sense of time need.
Sometimes simpler is better. Google has many great little tools that pop up when you type in certain search terms. For example, when you type “calculator” into Google search, there is a fully functional calculator at the top of the search results. If you are looking for a fast metronome, you can find one by using a nearby device with a browser and an internet connection.
It also works on mobile browsers. We tested it using the Chrome mobile app, which means you always have a free online metronome in your pocket.
The metronome itself is extremely basic. You choose a BPM number and click play. As far as we can tell, it’s pretty consistent, but tap or tap beat functionality would be welcome for those cases where you don’t know the exact beat of the track you’re trying to play. Still, it’s a good tool to keep in your pocket in case of a musical emergency.
Just in time
Can a software metronome replace a dedicated mechanical or electronic model? There will be many disagreements among musicians, but each solution has its place. The main weakness of software timing systems is that they can be affected by the system they run on. So if you have a phone that doesn’t have a lot of free resources, for example, it might have trouble giving you a consistent beat.
On the other hand, all the metronome online apps we tested above each perform the basic function of timekeeping as well as a human might speak. Regarding their main job – helping you develop a good sense of rhythm, surely a good software metronome will be fine.