Metronome - (Musical Instrument)

Metronome - (Musical Instrument) A device used to mark time by means of regularly recurring ticks or flashes used indicates the exact tempo of a piece of music at adjustable intervals. An instrument for denoting the speed at which a musical composition is to be performed. Its invention is generally, but falsely, ascribed to Johann Nepomuk Maelzel, a native of Ratisbon, Bavaria, Germany (1772-1838). It consists of a pendulum swung on a pivot; below the pivot is a fixed weight, and above it is a sliding weight that regulates the velocity of the oscillations by the greater or less distance from the pivot to which it is adjusted. The silent metronome is impelled by the touch, and ceases to beat when this impulse dies; it has a scale of numbers marked on the pendulum, and the upper part of the sliding weight is placed under that number which is to indicate the quickness of a stated note, as M.M. (Maelzel's Metronome) j=>=6o, or i=72, or =108, or the like. The number 60 implies a second of time for each single oscillation of the pendulum numbers lower than this denoting slower, and higher numbers quicker beats. The scale at first extended from 50 to 160, but now ranges from 40 to 208. A more complicated metronome is impelled by clock-work, makes a ticking sound at each beat, and continues its action till the works run down; a still more intricate machine has also a bell which is struck at the first of any number of beats willed by the person who regulates it, and so signifies the accent as well as the time.

Metronome: Webster's Timeline History, 1814 - 2007Metronome: Webster's Timeline History, 1814 - 2007 


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