Musicians can never afford to skip a beat. That’s why they are introduced to the metronome on virtually their first day of lessons.
The metronome helps students to develop an internal sense of the beat. Without this, it’s impossible to play anything at the appropriate tempo, let alone play in concert with other musicians.
While a traditional metronome used to be the only option, today there are dozens of digital apps from which to choose. These range from the simple to the complex, offering musicians the opportunity to find an app that’s perfect for their skill level and goals.
At Prodigies Music, we’re making the job of finding the right metronome app easier by presenting our selections for the 10 best digital metronome apps for musicians.
1. Dr. Betotte
While this option is more expensive than the others on this list, it definitely deserves a mention because of its robust package of features. It costs just under $10 and is compatible with both Apple and Android devices.
This product takes its inspiration from the well-known Dr. Beat Metronome line. Musicians who are familiar with Dr. Beat devices will feel right at home in this app. The customization options in this app are unreal. You can subdivide the beat in any way you can imagine. Use straight or swing styles, and with independent volume controls for each beat subdivision, you can really fine-tune your playing.
Also notable are the coach functions with their gradual tempo changes. This is an ideal tool when you’re trying to perfect a particularly tricky section and don’t want to mess around with metronome settings.
2. Time Guru
Notable guitarist Avi Bortnick developed this app with some really helpful and innovative functions. You can use it just like you would a traditional metronome, but it also has a setting that makes it possible to either randomly or selectively mute the metronome’s sound. Such an exercise is incredibly revealing, as it may show that you have a tendency to either speed up or slow down when the reassuring tick of the metronome disappears.
Time Guru is capable of playing as many as 300 beats per minute or just five beats per minute. A flashing time indicator continues to operate whether you silence some of the beats or not.
Another feature that makes Time Guru worth its $1.99 price on Android or its $2.99 price for iOS is the ability to program groups of complex beats so that you can work on those complicated odd meters.
3. Pro Metronome
This free app is available for both iOS and Android devices. You can even use it with Apple TV or the Apple Watch App. Tons of features make it a great option for musicians of all skill levels.
More than a dozen time-keeping choices, dynamic visuals for accented beats, a visual pendulum and the ability to tap the screen to set the tempo probably go well beyond what the casual user will ever need, but you never know.
Pro Metronome also has numerous paid upgrades that give you options like flash mode, subdivisions, programmable playlists and polyrhythms.
Loaded with amazing options, it’s hard to believe that this app is free. It’s unfortunate that it’s only available for iOS. In addition to being a digital metronome with a ton of options, it’s a tuner, can be programmed for looping and keeps archival set lists.
The inclusion of a tuner means that you don’t need a separate app. There’s even a pitch player to keep you on course. With the metronome, you can customize accents, sounds, subdivisions and meters. It even includes a tap tempo option and a flash option.
With the ability to change the color of the interface, record your practice sessions and more, this is an incredibly handy app.
5. Tempo and Tempo Advance
The pared-down Tempo app is available for iOS at $1.99 and for Android at $0.99. If you’re looking for a similar app with more robust features, you can upgrade to Tempo Advance for $2.99 on iOS only.
The app is equipped with 35 time signatures that include complex and compound meters. Also helpful are accented beats and a variety of rhythm patterns. It’s even possible to turn off certain beats. Create and share setlists, track practices and customize the theme to make the app your own.
If you’re an iOS user and are looking for a free, basic metronome app, then this selection is ideal. A simple and elegant user interface makes this a winner. It features excellent volume control and reliable accuracy. You even have the ability to customize meters and to set the app to automatically increase the tempo.
Multiple in-app purchases are available, such as allowing you to multitask so that you can read digital sheet music while having the metronome running in the background.
7. Metro Timer
If you are a novice musician, then you may appreciate this simple and straightforward option. It has enough features to be really useful, yet not so many that it leaves you feeling overwhelmed. Best of all, it’s a free app that you can start using now.
The user interface is intuitive, providing you with up to three ways to set a tempo. Drag the blue indicator to speed up or slow down the tempo. Plus and minus keys also are available. Use the “tap” button to command the app to count the number of beats per minute as you play.
The app also features a practice timer and a light that pulses with the beat. Choose from eight different sounds for the metronome function, including a human voice.
8. Real Metronome
Here’s another selection that’s great for beginning music students. It’s free and totally easy to use. All you have to do is choose how you want the app interface to look. The two selections are an animation of a traditional pendulum metronome and a digital interface.
Nine different metronome sounds are included as are standard time signature settings. This is a really basic app, so you may need to get something more full-featured as your skill improves.
9. The Metronome by Soundbrenner
Although the app itself is free, it is designed to coordinate with a vibrating watch. The watch, which is manufactured by the same company, is called the Pulse.
Without the watch, the Soundbrenner app is pretty standard fare. However, if you are playing with an ensemble, then it can be incredibly valuable for each member to wear a Pulse so that they can all feel the vibrating beat at the same time. It’s an indispensable tool for bands and other ensembles.
10. Steinway Metronome
Piano students will love this app from the renowned manufacturers of the Steinway piano. It’s a beautifully designed free app that keeps musicians unfailingly on the beat.
You can customize the appearance of the app to reflect various wood finishes. Use the click wheel on the screen to make easy tempo adjustments. The tap-in tempo is another useful feature. Just keep in mind that this is a really basic app without many advanced features. Once again, you may need to download a more robust app in the future.