What Verdi, Brahams and Wagner Think of the Metronome
Criticism of metronome use: (Source Wikipedia)
A metronome only provides a fixed, rigid, relentless pulse; therefore any metronome markings on sheet music cannot accurately communicate the pulse, swing, or groove of music: The pulse is often not regular; e.g. in accelerando, rallentando; or in musical expression as in phrasing (rubato, etc.).
Some argue that a metronomic performance stands in conflict with an expressive culturally-aware performance of music, so that a metronome is in this respect a very limited tool. Even such highly rhythmical musical forms as Samba, if performed in correct cultural style, cannot be captured with the beats of a metronome.
A style of performance that is unfailingly regular rhythmically may be criticized as being "metronomic."
Many notable composers, including Felix Mendelssohn, Richard Wagner, Giuseppe Verdi and Johannes Brahms, have criticised the use of the metronome.
Quotations[edit source | editbeta]
… this series of even, perfectly quantized, 16th notes, is no more evocative of samba, than a metronome would be. In fact, this representation neglects what makes up the samba essence in the first place — the swing!
—Understanding the Samba Groove by Pedro Batista
The metronome has no real musical value. I repeat, the metronome has no value whatsoever as an aid to any action or performance that is musical in intention. […] refer by analogy to the sister art of drawing. Graphic artists understand well enough the essential and generic difference that exists between mechanically-aided drawing on the one hand and freehand on the other. Similarly, musicians ought to distinguish between (1) the sort of timing that results from dull, slavish obedience to the ticking of a soulless machine, and (2) that noble swing and perfect control of pulsation which comes into our playing after years of practice in treating and training the sense of time as a free, creative human faculty.
—The Amateur String Quartet by James Brown III
"The metronome may lead to stilted (overly formal - rigid - like walking on stilts) playing and shouldn’t be used in Irish Traditional Music." A noted Cork Master Fiddler and Teacher
"Ditch the Metronome" A little known and untalented player who doesn’t even live in Ireland named Tom Connelly. Also, in this day of great apps, one can simply delete it from the iPhone. There goes $1.98 (US)