The Metronome

The metronome is an instrument for denoting the speed at which a musical composition is to be performed.

The metronome is a pendulum swings on a fixed pivot. It consists two weights, the one heavy than the other, which are connected by a metal rob. The heavier weight is at the bottom of the rod, and it is hidden from the user in most of the cases. The lighter weight is above the pivot and can be moved. Its distance from the pivot adjusts the rate at which the pendulum swings. The higher the weight is (i.e. the more distance it is from the pivot) the longer the pendulum's period. Different periods are marked on the rod so that, the user can fix a rate according to the piece one plays.

The metronome is a composed pendulum (called a physical pendulum), like Galileo' s simple pendulum (called a mathematical pendulum), its period does not depend on the initial angle in which it was set in motion. In different from the simple pendulum, the metronome has two weights and therefore its period depends on the rate (the distance) between them.

Though, already Newton's theory from the seventieth century explained the beheviour of the pendulum, the instrument itself was invented only a century later by the Dutch musician Dietrich Nikolaus Winkel.

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