Barbara the Metronome is a new app whose essential feature is that it can play 'mixed meters'. The term 'mixed meter' is used to describe music in which the time signature of the following bar is not always the same as in the currently played bar.
You can make Barbara play sequences of bars, and the bars can have different time signatures. A sequence of bars can be repeated automatically, and the tempo can be increased or decreased for each repetition. You can use rests and alternative metronome sounds to mark sections in music.
Barbara works on iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.
You can use the App Store App in your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to get Barbara. If necessary, please, seach with words "Barbara the Metronome". Barbara will work also in older devices that can use version 12 of the iOS operating system. iPhone 6 is one such device. An Android version of Barbara is under development.
Barbara provides many buttons with which to choose bars for playing. The activity of choosing bars for playing is called programming. The word 'programming' may frighten some people, but programming Barbara means just pressings on buttons that are marked with familiar musical symbols.
In addition to the buttons for bars, Barbara has buttons with rest and repeat symbols. It is thus possible to create sequences of bars that contain silence as well as sequences that are played a certain number of times.
In the picture above, some bars of The Rite of Spring are programmed to be played by Barbara. That composition of Igor Stravinsky is used in Wikipedia as an example of a piece that contains mixed meters.
Although Barbara is designed to help with 'mixed meters', it is easy to use it as a traditional metronome. For example, when a single 4/4 bar is defined and the Repeat button is pressed, Barbara will play the 4/4 rhythm.
Here Barbara is playing twelve 4/4 bars so that those bars are played 6 times, and after each playing the tempo is increased by 20. The numbers above the bar symbols indicate what has been programmed. The numbers below the bar symbols are updated while Barbara is operating.
The above sequence of bars is explained in more detail in the following picture.
Here you see how Barbara can be made to repeat a certain sequence of bars, and how tempo can be increased for each repetition. It is supposed here that a musician would like to practice twelve 4/4 bars of music in increasing tempo. In place of those twelve bars you could put a list of other bars.
By using full rests and alternative metronome sound, it is possible for the musician to prepare himself/herself before the twelve bars need to be played. Barbara can use two kinds of metronome sounds. The buttons with dark numbers produce the alternative sounds.
Janne Varis, a cello player in Oulu Symphony Orchestra, says: "I have been a test user for Barbara for two years. This metronome is an important tool which saves my time when I need to practice pieces that contain varying time signatures."
Eeva Havulehto is a professional pianist and piano teacher who has studied in the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. She says: "I just love Barbara. Finally I can easily clarify for myself the changing time signatures that are common in the pieces that modern composers make."
Barbara has been described as an easy-to-use app. Once you understand the logic how it works, you may not need any instructions. Some instructions are built into the app itself, and you can find them by pressing the Info button.
If you are going to program complicated sequences of bars, it may be useful to read the detailed using instructions, which can be found through this link.
The company that has developed Barbara the Metronome is called Asteroid Zone Software Ltd. We are a small company located in a city named Oulu in Northern Finland.
Our main activity is the development of the Barbara app that is introduced above. This whole website is thus dedicated to Barbara. The icon of Barbara is shown below.
Although the company name might refer to space exploration
or gaming, we are not involved in those fields.
Copyright © 2021 Asteroid Zone Software Ltd.
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