Feature Friday: Tempo Adjustment

FeatureFriday_BlogHeader_Tempo Adjustment

SmartMusic uses a world-class time stretching algorithm that allows you to change the tempo of an mp3 recording without changing the pitch. Given that the large ensemble audio tracks in SmartMusic are mp3’s, this algorithm must also maintain the transience and timbre of the recorded instruments to be an effective practice tool. For example, let’s take a look at the clarinet solo in Festive Overture.

Listen to the quality of sound at half tempo with a subdivided click track (which can be toggled on or off at any tempo):

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/139587353″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&show_artwork=true&show_playcount=true&show_comments=true” width=”100%” height=”81″ iframe=”false” /]

 

Notice that the articulations, timbre, and resonance of the original recording are still there. Even at half tempo, SmartMusic provides a model sound that your students can strive for.  Here is the same excerpt at three quarters tempo with a subdivided click track:

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/139594968″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&show_artwork=true&show_playcount=true&show_comments=true” width=”100%” height=”81″ iframe=”false” /]

 

After a few weeks in the woodshed, it’s time to rehearse at performance tempo and without a click:

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/139594965″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&show_artwork=true&show_playcount=true&show_comments=true” width=”100%” height=”81″ iframe=”false” /]

 

…and just to be on the safe side, you should practice this excerpt 20 clicks above tempo. The conductor tends to get a little excited during performances:

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/139596576″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&show_artwork=true&show_playcount=true&show_comments=true” width=”100%” height=”81″ iframe=”false” /] 

This feature is incredibly important because we all know that the fastest way to improve technique and stamina is by slowing the tempo and building it back up over time. Students practicing at tempos that are too fast are more likely to develop inconsistent technique, and simply not getting enough quality reps during a practice session.

I saved the best part for last:

If you use Gradebook, set a specific tempo when creating an assignment. This (for lack of a better word) forces your students to practice and submit a recording at any tempo that you specify. This maximizes a teacher’s effectiveness by ensuring proper practice methods are happening at home. The workflow for setting a tempo when creating an assignment is shown in this video.

 

Take a minute to review all of the tempo, click, and countoff options in the user manual.

Do you have a unique way of using SmartMusic’s tempo adjustment? If so, we want to hear from you. Please leave a comment below.

 

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