Traditional musicians play lively jigs with a very hard swing, first note long, second short, third between the two in duration – pretty much like this clip. They also have subtle variations in the tempo from each measure to the next, all of which makes the music more lively and “danceable”. This clip does that also as you can see by the movement of the pointer on the dial.
All this is notated as straight eighth notes (quavers), – because no strict notation can capture the subtleties of the rhythm so to attempt to notate it using sixteenth notes would be rather confusing and require same tune to be notated differently depending who plays it, and how much swing is used.
If you play a jig tune in a rhythm like this, a traditional musician will probably say that it is just straight eighth notes (quavers). You get sixteenth notes too, but they are played over something like this as the basic underlying eighth notes rhythm.
It is similarly to the way Jazz rhythms are notated – using eighth notes with the understanding that you play them with swing, and may vary the amount of swing depending on context, speed of the music (fast notes usually with less swing), etc..
Also middle beat of the 6/8 is played just a smidgen after the middle of the measure.
Also the measures vary too, shorter and longer, just subtly. Watch how the tempo dial pointer moves slightly up and down – can you hear how the measures are slightly faster and slower? And rather than sounding like sudden strange changes of tempo, the whole thing sounds natural and organic.
Well, it does when traditional musicians play like this anyway. It may be a little more obvious in the metronome. But after hearing it here, try listening to traditional music, and you’ll hear that they do the same.
When you walk or dance you don’t make every step exactly the same – that’s the behaviour of a robot. So in the same way having swing, and other subtler irregularities in the rhythm of the music makes it more lively.
All this makes it pretty hard for a traditional musician in the Scottish or Irish or other Celtic traditions to practise with a metronome.
With Bounce Metronome you can try varying the amount of swing and the lilt measures to get a more human feeling rhythm.
Bounce Metronome Pro may help a bit there.
It doesn’t exactly capture the way the rhythms are played – just a first approximation to them. Best way to learn is surely by playing along with other musicians or recordings.
But if you do want to practise with a metronome, for traditional music, then Bounce Metronome may perhaps be useful with its swing and lilt measures features.
So if you are a traditional musician and you need a metronome with swing to help you practise a steady tempo, and to learn to vary your tempo and amount of swing, then this may help.
May also help you to learn to vary the amount of the swing rather than always play the tunes the same way to give more flexibility in your musical vocabulary.
Even if you don’t normally play tunes with swing, it may help to try one of your normal tunes played this way to loosen up your rhythms and give you more flexibility for interpretation.
Post time: 09-19-2017