About BARBARA

Basics

Rests

Alternative Sounds

Set Tempo

Tempo in Fingers

Simple Repeats

Nested Repeats

Minutes

Sound Settings

Measure Tempo

Middle Play

Rare Signatures

Stored Sequences

Learn More

Info & Settings

News

BARBARA is now available on both iOS and Android as the Android version was published in April, 2024.

The metronome features that are described on this page are available on both platforms.

Basics

When BARBARA the Metronome starts, it shows a 4/4 bar on its display. The 4/4 bar is a 'sequence of bars'. When there is only a single bar in the sequence of bars, BARBARA works like a traditional metronome.

If you pressed the Loop button when a single 4/4 bar is shown, BARBARA would play: tick, tock, tock, tock, tick, tock, tock, tock, tick, tock, etc.

The text "TICK tock tock tock" in the above picture is the name of the sequence that is currently shown and playable. This is a pre-programmed sequence. You can name and store the sequences of bars that you make with BARBARA.

There are many YouTube videos that demonstrate important features of BARBARA.

The basic operation is that when BARBARA is showing a sequence of bars, the shown bars can either be played once or repeated.

Play 1 button plays the shown sequence of bars once. Use this button when you want the metronome to stop automatically. The Loop button will repeat the shown sequence until the metronome is stopped or paused.

The third button above is the Quick Start button which opens a menu for basic rhythms. The Play 1 and Loop buttons will change to Pause and Stop buttons when BARBARA is operating.

Press the New button to create a new sequence of bars. The Edit button lets you modify the currently shown sequence. You can view lists of sequences of bars if you press the Lists button. The Info button gives information and lets you do some settings. BARBARA automatically stores all the sequences you create, and you can play them later.

Page 1: Basic Bars

After pressing the New or Edit buttons in the main view, you will see pages with buttons that you can press to create sequences of bars.

You can change to other pages of bar buttons by moving your finger in left-right direction on the screen.

Although all these buttons are called bar buttons, the buttons in which the upper numeral is 1 correspond to single notes in music. See section Rare Time Signatures to find information about the grey buttons.

Page 2: Rests, etc.

The second page has buttons to program bars with time signatures in which the lower numeral is either 2, 16, or 32.

There are also buttons to program rests to the sequence of bars.

Page 3: Additions

The buttons on the third page make it easier to play the time signatures 5/4, 7/4, 5/8 and 7/8 as additive rhythms.

For example, if you liked to play six 5/8 bars so that the first and fourth beats were emphasized, you could simply program the following.

The same could be achieved without the additive bars in the following way.

Page 4: Alternative Sounds

The fourth page has buttons with which it is possible to make alternative metronome sounds.

The essential difference between the buttons on the fourth page and the buttons on the first page is that the time signatures are marked with dark color. The dark color means that the bars programmed with these buttons produce slightly different sounds.

BARBARA can use four different sounds. We can think that a 4/4 bar programmed with a light-colored time signature makes the sound: tick, tock, tock, tock. Then, also a 4/4 bar programmed with a dark-colored time signature makes the sound: tick, tock, tock, tock, but in this case the tick and tock sounds are different.

The alternative metronome sounds make it possible to describe different sections of music with different sounds. For example, you could use light-numbered buttons for the verse and and dark-numbered buttons for the chorus.

Page 5: Repeats and Tempo

Also the fifth page contains buttons in which the time signature is marked with dark color, which means that these buttons make alternative metronome sounds.

With the buttons with signs like ||: and :|| you can create bar sequences that are played several times. By pressing the button with the right repeat sign over and over, you'll see a number that indicates how many times the bars between the repeat signs will be played.

You can use either the light-colored or dark-colored repeat signs when you create simple repeated sequences. But if you want to create so-called nested repeats, which are repeated sequences inside repeated sequences, you must use the light-colored repeat signs inside the dark-colored repeat signs. You may not put the dark-colored repeat signs between light-colored repeat signs.

The buttons on the last row make it possible to set and adjust the tempo in a single sequence of bars.

Rests

BARBARA has buttons with which to create silent bars or notes. The rest buttons are marked with traditional musical symbols.

The length of a whole rest is always the same as the length of a single 4/4 bar. The length of a half rest is half of the length of the whole rest, and so on.

Tempo

The tempo shown in BARBARA is always a number of quarter notes in a minute. The main view has buttons to decrease or increase the tempo.

If you hold the tempo adjustment buttons down for a longer time, the tempo will change in bigger steps. A short tap on the tempo numbers will open a numerical keyboard so that you can set the tempo in numbers.

Another way to control the tempo is to program some tempo for a sequence of bars. It is even possible to a make sequence of bars in which the tempo increases or decreases. The following is an example of such a sequence.

In the above 'metronomic piece' the initial tempo is 80 quarter notes in a minute. Then four 4/4 bars and two whole rests are played in that tempo. Then tempo is increased by 20, which means that, during the second repetition of bars, the four 4/4 bars and two whole rests are played in tempo 100.

As the bars above are played 6 times, tempo is increased 6 times, which means that the final tempo is 200. However, no bars are played in that tempo.

Tempo Tapping

Considering tempo tapping, you should first use the Info button, and ensure that the following selection is made.

After this, you can set the tempo of BARBARA by tapping the following empty area of the screen.

After the first tapping the text KEEP TAPPING emerges, and after the fourth tapping the metronome starts looping using the tapped tempo.

Tempo tapping can be useful when there is no tempo programmed in the sequence of bars that is currently on display. If there is a tempo programmed in a sequence, that tempo will replace the tempo shown on display.

Simple Repeats

There are actually four ways how you can make BARBARA repeat bars. The simple way is to use the Loop button instead of the Play button when you want to play a sequence of bars.

Then you can program repeats. A single bar will be played several times if you simply press the button for the bar several times. Then there are two types of buttons with which you can surround sequences of bars that will be played many times.

Here is an example in which two bars are played twice, and then the sequence of these two bars is repeated three times.

The following is the same 'metronomic piece' written without the repeat buttons.

Nested Repeats

Nested repeats are repeated bar sequences inside repeated bar sequences. A bar sequence surrounded by the light-colored repeat signs can be included in a sequence surrounded by the dark-colored repeat signs.

The following is an example about a repeated sequence inside a repeated sequence.

The following is the same 'metronomic piece' written without the dark-colored repeat signs.

It is important to note that the dark-colored repeat signs cannot be put inside the light-colored repeat signs. BARBARA will warn you if you try to do 'dark repeats' inside 'light repeats'.

Minutes

If there is a bar whose play count is sufficiently large, BARBARA will show how many minutes the playing of that bar will last. A tempo must be defined earlier in the sequence of bars to make the calculation of play time possible.

In the following picture the 4/4 bar is played 192 times, which lasts 6 minutes when the tempo is 128.

The play times in minutes (and seconds) will be shown only if the play time is one minute or more.

The play count of a bar can be set by tapping the button for the bar as many times as it needs to be played. Alternatively, it is possible to set the play count by doing a long press on the bar button.

After a long press, the following view appears, and the play count can be set with numbers, or, if a tempo is defined earlier in the sequence, play count can be set by setting play minutes.

Play Minutes

As explained above, you can specify minutes when you are programming a sequence of bars.

You can also make BARBARA play and loop a sequence a certain number of minutes, regardless what is programmed in the sequence.

A long press on the Loop button will open a so-called dialog with which you can specify how many minutes the metronome is going to play the sequence currently on display.

Sound Settings

You can choose different metronome sounds in Info & Settings.

If you want to control the metronome sound without the sound volume buttons of your device, you must activate internal volume control by selecting Silent Play & Volume Control in Info & Settings.

A speaker symbol appears in the upper left corner of the main screen when internal volume control is activated. You can set the sound level of the metronome, or silence the metronome, by tapping the speaker symbol.

Internal volume control is probably useful for people who want to use the metronome with low volume. You can lessen the metronome sound without affecting the sound level of other apps. You cannot exceed the sound level set with the buttons of the device.

Tempo Tool

In addition to the traditional tempo tapping feature, which is explained in the previous section, BARBARA has a Tempo Tool, with which you can play with tempo.

You can activate the Tempo Tool by making a long press on the so-called label that shows the current tempo in BARBARA.

Tempo Tool is actually a quite simple tool: all you can do is just to tap the screen. Tempo Tool records your tappings and displays the tempo and changes in tempo.

You can use Tempo Tool, for example, to measure the tempo of a piece of music if you tap the screen while the music is playing.

Below you can see the Tempo Tool display after the original recording of "Honky Tonk Women" of The Rolling Stones was played, and the screen was tapped during the first 30 bars (120 beats) of the song. You can notice an acceleration in tempo.

Middle Play

If you have programmed a long sequence of bars, you might sometimes want to play only part of the sequence, and start playing somewhere in the middle of the sequence.

You can mark the bar from which the playing should start by just tapping the bar. BARBARA will show the starting point with a red rectangle.

In the following picture the dark 4/4 bar is tapped, and that is now the point from which playing will start when the Play button is pressed.

You must be careful when you start playing in the middle of a sequence of bars. For example, in the above case the tempo setting would not be performed, and the tempo would be what happens to be currently in tempo display.

Rare Time Signatures

BARBARA has bar buttons for many time signatures, but those buttons do not cover all possible time signatures. To solve this problem, there exist the buttons in which the upper numeral is 1, and the other button is grey in color. These buttons correspond to notes in sheet music.

By using these buttons in a certain way, it is possible to play time signatures for which single buttons do not exist.

We can think that the following button creates the following sound: tick, tock, tock, tock

Then, there is the following button that creates just the tick sound.

And the following button that creates just the tock sound.

By using the last two mentioned buttons it is possible to make rare time signatures. For example, you can think that the following sequence contains two bars with time signatures 9/4 and 11/4.


By using the grey buttons, it is possible to make almost any kind of time signature. If you use the repeat signs, you can repeat the artificial bars that are made with two buttons. For example, the following sequence plays four 7/16 bars which are followed by a single 9/16 bar.

Lists

BARBARA maintains lists of sequences of bars. By pressing the Lists button, you can find the following lists.

Named

This list contains the sequences of bars that you have composed yourself. The list is in alphabetical order. You must give a name to the sequence of bars that you have composed in order to make it enter this list. It is possible to delete those sequences that you do not need any more. If you want to modify a named sequence, you have to first select it.

Played

If you need to find a sequence of bars that you have used recently, you can check the Played list. BARBARA automatically lists here the sequences that have been played. The last played sequence is the first in the list.

Demo

This list should help you to learn how BARBARA can be used. The demos show various features of the metronome.

Bin

If you create a new sequence of bars but you do not give it a name, the sequence will be given an artificial name and it will be stored in the Bin list. If you modify a named metronomic sequence, the old version will be stored in Bin. When you delete a piece from the Named list, it will be moved to Bin. The latest additions to Bin are put to the beginning of the list. Old sequences from the end of the Bin list are deleted automatically.

Demos

One selectable list is called Demo. The demos show many possibilities how BARBARA can be programmed and used.

Below you can see a partial list of demos that can be selected to be played by the metronome.

Info & Settings

By using the Info button you will find a long scrollable page that provides information and some buttons and switches with which you can do some settings. The settings are explained on that page.

Please, read also the warnings that you can find in Info & Settings.

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