19 April 2008
I like it because it allows you to work with BPM slower than the usual 30-40 BPM offered by most metronome designers. Programmable beat patterns are also cool.
Postscript: Having received some rather astonished reactions to this post, here a few of my thoughts on the subject of metronomes. I am quite sure that musicianship meant something else than we are generally accustomed to today in the classical world, before the metronome (commercially available in a portable form from ca. 1810) was fully integrated into music instruction (probably rather late in the 19th century, although I don't know of any research on this topic).
My interest in metronomes is two-fold: Certain metronomes (in particular Dr. Beat, and now this online web metronome) can be programmed to click at very slow rates. For example MM=15 represents one beat per bar at quarter-note=MM60 in 4/4 time. I use a very slow beat to train myself to play freely within the bar, while maintaining an awareness that I will have to (in principle) land together with the metronome beat on the next downbar. This kind of musical tension is altogether different than playing with a quicker beat, but also different from trying to play freely, without regard for an underlying pulse. In a way, you could say that the one-beat-per-bar practice method instills skills necessary for the development of tempo rubato in its stricter sense of making up what you have stolen. See also Roger North on the "grand beat" (although we can't say for sure that a slow pulse is what he had in mind).
As far as the programmable beat patterns are concerned, I am simply fascinated by tools that allow me to control what they do easily. I could see this metronome as quite useful for learning bits of the Carter Sonata, for example, or other 20th-C. pieces that have frequent meter changes. But even in the 18th century there is the tradition of Imbroglio which allowed for patches in one meter to be inserted in a movement in another meter. J. S. Bach, for one, is often to be found experimenting with displaced accents that amount to a temporary meter change.