Yesterday we took a not-so-little tour of all the obvious and non-obvious ways we use our metronome, then worked on our Bury The Click exercise for the third consecutive day.
Today we’re still going to rock out BTC, but we’re adding a new twist: eighth notes.
Benedict Cumberbatch Is Not A Badass (At Piano)
In the movie August Osage County, there’s a scene where Benedict Cumberbatch is playing the piano and singing to Julianne Nicholson. It’s a simple little tune that’s mostly quarter notes on 1, 2, & 3, with a pair of eighth notes on 4.
If you listen closely, he rushes in two very common places:
- each widely-spaced quarter note is just a little early, and
- the tempo ratchets up each time he plays the eighth notes on beat 4.
The first part––not rushing slow quarter notes––is exactly what we’ve been working on these last 3 days. The Bury The Click exercise can’t be bullshitted (bullshat?)––when you’re ahead, you hear the click.
The second part––not letting divisions ratchet up the tempo––is what we’ll begin working on today.
Let’s back up a second and have a super-brief discussion about quarter notes and eighth notes.
What we’ve been playing the last few days––one note per beat––is called a quarter note. It’s just our usual 1, 2, 3, 4.
If we divide our nice neat 1s, 2s, 3s, & 4s in half, we get eighth notes. Instead of counting “one two three four,” we count “one and two and three and four and.” The “one,” “two,” “three,” and “four” are all still in the exact same place, but the halfway point is marked with an “and.”
Without going too far down this particular rabbit hole, I want to show you what quarters & eighths look like in notation, since that’s how the icons in Tempo are marked.
Bury The Click, Eighth Notes, & The Tempo App
So now we’re going to do our familiar Bury The Click exercise, but with eighth notes. The Tempo app makes this easy for us.
First, make sure you’re in Basic mode (because the button you need is hidden in some modes).
Click on the pair of eighth notes in the Beat section:
Go ahead and hit play––your metronome should now be clicking out eighth notes in between each quarter note.
When you want the beats (quarters) to sound different than the divisions (eighths), you would toggle the beat to have the accent (>) on:
But for this exercise you want them both to sound the same, so toggle that little “>” off:
Make sure the tempo is set to something reasonable:
Set the timer for something ambitious like 5 minutes:
…tap the reset clock button and turn the timer function on:
Troubleshooting & Upping The Difficulty
- Again, make sure the volume is roughly the same as your muted strum.
- You want the sound source of the metronome coming from the same general direction as your guitar.
- Start by strumming DownUpDownUpDownUp.
- Once that gets easy, switch to all down strums.
- Once that gets easy, try switching back and forth every few bars.
- If that’s still too easy, make the tempo slower.
- Bring your wandering attention back to the task, over and over and over––it’s good for you.
Next we’ll talk about Yoda and explore something I call Bullet Time.