Weird Metronome Frequently Asked Questions


Table of Contents

  1. What is Weird Metronome?
  2. How do I emphasize specific beats other than the first?
  3. What are the sliders to the right of the Tick Sound selection boxes for?
  4. What the heck is Jone/Stone Productions?
  5. What language did you use to create Weird Metronome?
  6. Can I get a copy of the source code?
  7. Some of the sounds seem weird / have bad timing / sound bad / play forever.  Why did you make it like that?
  8. What about getting some other instrument sounds in there?
  9. How do I save a rhythm and recall it later?
  10. Why do I have to set the tempo so high to make it be fast enough?
  11. It's hard to keep track of where I am when I'm editing a long phrase in the custom measure box.  Do you have any suggestions?
  12. The tempo slider doesn't have very good precision.  How can I set the tempo more exactly?
  13. The beats don't play back evenly for me.  What's up?
  14. I started the program and I see the button in the taskbar, but the window's missing!
  15. It's so big!
  16. Contact Information.
 

What is Weird Metronome?

 


Weird Metronome is a program that runs in Windows and acts as a metronome.  It can use about 50 different voices for the beat sounds and is totally customizable for measures up to 1000 beats.

 
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How do I emphasize specific beats other than the first?

 


What you want is the Custom setting.  Just choose "Custom" and type in a measure definition into the box to the right.  For every numeral you put into the box, the metronome will play one beat.  The sound it uses will be the number of the tick sound that you typed in.  For instance, if you put a "2", it'll play Tick Sound 2.  You can choose which sound you want to play for each one by choosing an instrument from the corresponding dropdown list. Entering a "0" will make the metronome not play anything for that beat (i.e. a rest).

As an example, say you wanted to make a measure that has five beats, with emphasis on the first and third beats.  For this you would set Tick sound 1 to be a basic beat sound (I like "Side Stick") and Tick Sound 2 to a more emphasized sound (I use "Bass Drum 1"), and set your custom measure to read "21211".

As a more complicated example, one of the meters I play in sometimes is 11/16.  It has beat groups of 2, 2, 3, 2, 2.  I usually set it up with the first note of every group emphasized and the first note of the measure extra-emphasized: "31212112121".  Another way to set up that meter would be something more like a Tupan player would play it: "30112012010" (Tupan players, please correct me if I'm wrong).

 
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What are the sliders to the right of the Tick Sound selection boxes for?

 


Those are volume sliders to set the volume of each individual tick sound.  You can use those to, for instance, have all the beats of the measure use the same sound but at different volumes.

 
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What the heck is Jone/Stone Productions?

 


Oh, it's just the company name I use on the creative stuff I do.  All my web pages, art projects, computer programs, etc. are Jone/Stone productions.  It's not an incorporated company or anything....

 
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What language did you use to create Weird Metronome?

 


Weird Metronome was entirely written in C++ using Microsoft Visual Studio version 5.0 and the Microsoft Foundation Classes.

 
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Can I get a copy of the source code?

 


Yes!  The only thing I ask is that you not distribute changes that you make.  I'd rather not have to deal with people emailing me about features/bugs that I didn't write.  Just email me and I'll be happy to send you a copy of the source code.

 

 
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Some of the sounds seem weird / have bad timing / sound bad / play forever. Why did you make it like that?

 


Weird Metronome uses MIDI to create sound.  MIDI made it easier for me to write the program and deliver it in such a small package and still have it sound pretty good.  Unfortunately, there were also some trade-offs.  The way MIDI works is that your computer knows how to make sounds that sound like certain instrument.  There's a standard called General MIDI that says which instruments it should know how to play.  I took advantage of the fact that most sound cards use that standard to set up a list of the fifty percussion instruments that are available in General MIDI.  That way all my program has to do is tell the sound card to "play Mute Cuico at volume 77" and the sound card does so to the best of its abilities.  I don't have direct control over what actual sound is produced.

The point I'm trying to make is that some sound cards may have weird MIDI setups.  Some instruments may never stop playing or may have a little delay before the sound starts that makes the beat not fit in right or any number of other problems.  Alas, I can't help it.  To use a different technique than MIDI would have sacrificed a lot in other parts of the program.  Stuff like this always calls for compromises and Weird Metronome is the result of my decisions on which compromises to make.

 

 
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What about getting some other instrument sounds in there?

 


I included all the percussion instruments available in the General MIDI standard.  I'm sorry to say that it's beyond the scope of this program to include any other sounds.  To be able to play any WAV file that the user provides would have made this project be a lot more work for me.  Sorry about that....

For more information, see the previous question.

 

 
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How do I save a rhythm and recall it later?

 


Once you have your settings to a way you like for a particular song or meter or whatever, you may want to save that setup so you can recall it later without having to set everything by hand again.  To do this, just type a name into the box at the bottom of the window and press the "Save" button.  All the current settings will be saved to a "preset".  To call it up again, use the dropdown box into which you originally entered the name.  Click the little down-arrow at the right of the box, find your preset, and select it.  All the settings from when you saved the preset will be loaded.

If you decide that you don't like one of your presets, just call it up and press the "Delete" button.

 

 
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Why do I have to set the tempo so high to make it play fast enough?

 


Weird Metronome deals with Beats per Measure.  It doesn't differentiate between quarter notes, eighth notes, etc.  If you've got a song that's in, say, 13/16 then it's probably supposed to be played pretty fast.  You may be used to seeing things on sheet music such as "quarter note = 75", but keep in mind that a quarter note at 75 beats per minute is the same as four sixteenth notes at 300 beats per minute.

 

 
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It's hard to keep track of where I am when I'm editing a long phrase in the custom measure box.  Do you have any suggestions?

 


When programming in a whole phrase of music into the Custom edit box it's easy to get a little lost.  I suggest using copy and paste to repeat measures, and then modify them individually.

 

 
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The tempo slider doesn't have very good precision. How can I set the tempo more exactly?

 


You can also set the tempo by typing your desired value into the box to the right of the slider.

 

 
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The beats don't play back evenly for me. What's up?

 


This is an unfortunate problem with Windows.  Timing just doesn't work as perfectly as I'd like it to.  I've got the program set up to use the most precise timer available in the system, but Windows still messes things up occasionally.

You could try turning off all the programs that run in the background, such as virus scanners, instant messenger clients, task schedulers, and so on.  Apart from that I don't really have any better advice than to get faster hardware.  This could include more memory, faster hard disk, faster processor, faster motherboard, better sound card, and so on.

Another thing that might impact performance is if you're running a software MIDI emulator.  You'll probably get the best results from using the MIDI hardware on your sound card.  Unfortunately this may sound like the pings and pops of an old fashioned arcade game.  A more recent and/or expensive sound card would probably sound better....

 

 
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I started the program and I see the button in the taskbar, but the window's missing!

 


Unfortunately that's a known bug.  I'm currently working on a fix for it.  In the mean time, here's what you can do.  The problem is that the window has relocated itself somewhere off-screen.  In order to get it back again, right click the taskbar button for Weird Metronome.  A menu should pop up.  Choose "Move".  Now press any arrow key.  Finally, move your mouse.  The window should now be attached to the mouse pointer.  Just click wherever you want to set it down.

 

 
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It's so big!

 


Why... thank you for noticing.

If you'd like to make the window smaller you can drag its edges.  This'll make some of the tick boxes disappear to make room.  The corresponding number will still work, though, in the custom measure box.  Thus, one strategy is to choose the instruments you like and then resize the window down to its smallest size so your eyes won't be pestered by all that clutter.

 

 
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Contact Information.

 


I love to receive email!  If you like Weird Metronome, please tell me.  If you've found a bug, I'd like to hear about that too.  While I don't have any current plans to add a bunch more features, I do want to get rid of any bugs that are still present. Please send email to david@pinkandaint.com.  My main web page is http://www.pinkandaint.com.  Weird Metronome's home page is http://www.pinkandaint.com/weirdmet.shtml.  Go there to find updates and other news and information regarding the program.

 

 
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Last modified Monday, 11-Feb-2008 14:09:08 PST
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