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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Can someone suggest an app metronome that counts and shows you how many measures have gone by?

I'm going to focus less time on reading and more on improv this summer. I can hear the changes pretty well if I practice a tune but I'm really bad at counting while trying to think of things to play while improvising.
 

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I have the free version of Metronome Beats (for Android), but its ads say that Metronome Beats Pro comes with beat and bar counters.
 

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My go to metronome apps are:

"Metronome+"
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/metronome-plus/id434136233?mt=8

"Tempo"
http://www.frozenape.com/tempo-metronome.html

Both of these have the feature you describe, and handy things like a feature in which you can preset a tempo increase after a certain number of bars, or after a duration of time.

Also worthy of note is:
"Metronome"

http://www.musicopoulos.com/metronome-iphone-ipad-app.html

It has a tap feature (for determining tempo) which can't be beat (well, I suppose it can if a tap is a beat). Most metronome apps have this feature, but this app's take on it is one you have to try to appreciate.
 

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I'd suggest that you don't go there - it's one more distraction from what you need to learn.

If you're growing a dependence on an app, how can you concentrate on listening and learning the form of the tune?
 

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I'd suggest that you don't go there - it's one more distraction from what you need to learn.

If you're growing a dependence on an app, how can you concentrate on listening and learning the form of the tune?
+1. Although practicing with a standard metronome is essential.

A better exercise for DryMartini would be to pick a medium tempo tune, put a metronome on 2 and 4, improvise straight quarter note bass lines (it could be just the root repeated on every beat at first if it's too hard), and once that's solid, interject short improvised phrases, gradually making them longer.
 

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I'd consider iReal Pro. Instead of a metronome clicking you get (more or less) a rhythm section. The app highlights the measure and associated chords. Granted, it's not showing you the melody line just the changes but it's about as close to "following the bouncing ball" as you are going to get. For under $15 I think every aspiring jazz player with a tablet should have this app.

http://irealpro.com/
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Much appreciated all.....Dr. G I see your point. I was thinking the measure counter might accelerate my "hearing" and learning....no?........

Playing a bass line is something I have been very interested in learning how to do. Any further tips you have on that jazzvp would be great and much appreciated!

Keith I'm going to get the ireal pro as I've heard so much about it and the abersolds have been taken off youtube.... I have the big iphone...Do you think it works well with that?
 

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Playing a bass line is something I have been very interested in learning how to do. Any further tips you have on that jazzvp would be great and much appreciated!
The idea is to strengthen your time by playing the fundamental rhythm of the quarter note. Not only should it benefit your improvisations rhythmically, but will also drill the harmony of tunes in your head as well as the form. After all, if you can't play even quarter notes of only basic chord tones, how can you expect to play more complicated stuff with any kind of control? Playing quarter notes evenly on the saxophone, with a drive like a great bassist would have, is deceptively challenging.

For the bass line itself, I don't know your level, but if you find it difficult, you could start with playing half notes, instead of quarter notes. Start easy, with the root (1) of the chord repeated twice, then play root (1) / fifth (5). When you have this down, you can start making it more complicated with the remaining chord tones, and by playing quarter notes. Of course, playing interesting and melodic bass lines is another story; entire books have been written on various concepts (voice leading, passing tones, etc.)

Regarding the specifics of keeping one's place in a tune, the exercise would go something like this:

1. first you need to make sure you can play a basic quarter note bass line easily and evenly.
2. then, decide beforehand that you're going to play, say 2 bars of bass line and 2 bars of improvised lines.
3. expand the number of improvised lines as it gets easier

It would probably be a good idea to start with something simple like a blues.
 

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I'm going to get the ireal pro as I've heard so much about it .... I have the big iphone...Do you think it works well with that?
I use iReal on a small iPhone (5S). I have no trouble with it on that. The settings are far enough apart that your fingers don't get tripped up. I also use it on my iPad, and the advantage there is simply a larger visual display to watch the chords (but of course, you shouldn't be watching those, right?).

If you do end up getting iReal, one thing that's helpful for memorizing changes - particularly the form of a tune - is to turn down the volume on the guitar/piano and bass, and just have the drums play the tune. The drums on iReal always mark the end of a section of a tune by a cymbal crash or a short snare flourish. This would be helpful perhaps in conjunction with your playing the bass line yourself.

As per the bass line work you look like you'll be doing. In my experience, doing this really brought home the importance of guide tones - of approaching target notes by means of semitones. Bass line practice has many benefits, but that one really stood out for me.
 

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Keith I'm going to get the ireal pro as I've heard so much about it and the abersolds have been taken off youtube.... I have the big iphone...Do you think it works well with that?
I think the app will work fine but you will probably find you need a way to amplify the output. I use a relatively powerful set of computer speakers like these;
http://www.klipsch.com/products/klipsch-promedia-2-1-computer-speakers

for both the output from my boom box and tablet. At one point I had everything setup to run through my stereo system but I've found this setup to be more convenient and efficient for me- as always YMMV.
 

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I also use the ireal pro program as a metronome. As mentioned, it can also include a bass line and a keyboard sound with a nice variety of drum patterns. It will highlight the bar as the program plays through the form. I would also agree with the approach Dr. G has suggested. The ireal program will provide a background track at whatever tempo you can handle and will also articulate the ends of phrases and the places where the form changes sections within the form (the place where the form advances from the A section to the B section, for example). However, the danger is to become too reliant on the visual display. I believe your goal should be to be able to work with the program with the visual display turned off. Being able to hear the changes is a skill more important to someone learning improvisation than to always rely on the screen. Consider the program to be much like a Realbook with extra features. Your practice should be training you to learn to perform without it.
 

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You can try out SongPartTrackingMetronome: SongPartTrackingMetronome
I'm not sure that it does exactly what you want but it is a metronome that can track a song by "song part names" that you can freely assign.

"SongPartTrackingMetronome is a simple programmable visual and acoustic metronome with bar-based song part tracking capabilities that guide the user through a song."
 
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