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 New button opens another view with buttons so that you can create a new sequence of bars.
The Edit button lets you modify the sequence of bars that is currently shown.
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 is made especially for musicians who need to practice pieces with 'mixed meters'. The terms 'mixed meters' and 'changing meters' refer to changing time signatures in a piece of music. Here we will speak mostly about time signatures.
Details about how to program bars with changing time signatures will be given below.
This video will show many important features of Barbara.
The basic operation is that when Barbara is showing a sequence of bars, like the 4/4 bar above, the shown bars can either be played once or repeated with the two buttons at the bottom of the screen.
The Play button in the lower left corner will play the shown sequence of bars once, while the adjacent Loop button will repeat the sequence as long as the metronome is stopped or paused.
The Play and Loop buttons will change to Stop and Pause buttons when Barbara is playing. The Pause button will change to Resume button if it is pressed.
The Loop button may be called Repeat button in some older documents, but it is best to call it Loop button as you will learn that Barbara has 'real' repeat buttons that are marked with musical repeat symbols.
What makes Barbara an untraditional metronome is the possibility to program complicated sequences of bars.
After pressing the New or Edit buttons in the main view, you will see button pages with which you can program bars to your piece of metronomic music.
With the buttons in the first page you can program bars with time signatures in which the lower numeral is either 4 or 8.
You can change to other pages of bar buttons by moving your finger in left-right direction on the screen.
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.
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.
The third page has buttons with which it is possible to make alternative metronome sounds.
The essential difference between the buttons on the third 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.
This metronome 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.
Also the fourth page contains buttons in which the time signature is marked with dark color, which means that these buttons make different sounds than the buttons on the second page.
The fourth page has buttons with dark-colored repeat signs. With these buttons you can make so-called long repeats or dark repeats. You can have between the dark-colored repeat signs some bars that are surrounded by light-colored repeat signs. You can thus create so-called nested repeats, which are repeated sequences inside repeated sequences. You may not put the dark-colored repeat signs between light-colored repeat signs.
The last buttons make it possible to adjust the tempo in a single piece of metronomic music. Below you'll find an example about the use of these buttons.
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.
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 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'.
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. By pressing these buttons a longer time, it is possible to make a faster decrease or increase.
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 full rests are played in that tempo. Then tempo is increased by 20, which means that the four 4/4 bars and two full 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 means that you can set the tempo of the metronome by tapping some part of the screen.
Tempo tapping will be available in the next version of Barbara.
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 grey buttons. By using the grey 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 'metronomic music': 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 piece 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.
Barbara maintains lists of sequences of bars. By pressing the Lists button, you can find the following lists.
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.
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.
This list should help you to learn how Barbara can be used. The demos show various features of the metronome.
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.
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.
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.
Barbara works in 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.
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