Music Professor Receives Patent On Vibrating Metronome

New 'KeepingTime' Device For Musicians To Be On The Market By January

Columbus, GA - Timing is everything.

Columbus State University music professor Manuel Diaz knows this to be particularly true for musicians. 'Tempo is critical for musicians,' he said.

The traditional solution for helping musicians practice, stay in time and keep up with the composer requirements is the metronome.There are various types of metronomes that click, beep or flash the required beat needed. As Diaz worked with his students he began to receive complaints that these traditional metronomes weren't helping the way they should.

'Their biggest complaint was as they began to play, they simply could not hear the beat. They were able to see the bar of the metronome move, or the electronic flash it created, but could not hear the click or the beep,' he said. 'They kept asking me how they were to keep proper time if they could not hear the beat unless looking at the metronome.'

As an accomplished violist, Daz began to think of ways that would help students feel the beat of the metronome more clearly. Drawing from his mechanical engineering degree from the Technical University in Chile, Daz began creating plans for a metronome that would provide a pulsating beat the musician could actually feel as they played.

Daz was granted a patent on his invention and trademarked it under the name of KeepingTime. The metronome should be on the market by the first of the year.

'My idea was to create a metronome, one that produced an on-time,consistent beat, one the musician could feel. I believed, if they could feel the beat they would not have to rely on sound or the visuals of traditional metronomes. Feeling the beat would make it much easier to stay in time.'

Keeping time was not an issue. Designing the device was the challenge. 'I knew my device had to deliver a gentle electronic vibration that would be very simple to feel,' Daz said. 'It was relatively easy to design a device that would generate a regular, pulsating beat, but getting all the pieces into such a small package presented some difficulty. I had to change the original shape in order to get everything to fit.'

The shape Daz used took on looks of a contemporary wristwatch with both functions: time of day and metronome.

'There were several ideas but the wristwatch style seemed to be the best way to go,' Daz said. 'Those who were helping with the design suggested a traditional strap but I felt that would limit the use of the metronome. I suggested using a velcro strap, with the metronome located in the center. With velcro you have more flexibility and do not necessarily have to attach it to your wrist If you wanted, you could place it around your leg or arm.'

Daz also believes the metronome will help many others, not just musicians. 'It should be a great help for runners, or other athletes who need to work within a well defined pace, patients who need to regulate pulse and breathing, or anyone who just wants to 'feel the beat.'

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Contact: Manuel Diaz, 649-7277; E-mail: diaz_manuel@ColumbusState.edu