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Rhythm As Heartbeat!

Los Angeles based lyric coloratura mezzo-soprano Meagan Martin shares insights on the importance of rhythm and practicing with the metronome.

Inspiration by Metronome Online with

ARTIST FEATURE: From music of Baroque to contemporary arias, meet Meagan Martin, a lyric coloratura mezzo-soprano, hailed by the Los Angeles Times as a “great glory”. We are thrilled that she decided to join us for this week’s artist feature!

1) Why is rhythm important?

Rhythm helps individuals to sync up with a piece of music, as well as with each other in the case of a shared musical experience. This is true from the logistical standpoint of performers needing to be in time with one another but also for listeners who latch onto rhythm as an entry point to a piece. Rhythm’s connection to the heartbeat means we find comfort in that which is regular, but, by the same token, it makes a sudden syncopation, an interpolated 5/4 bar, or the like all the more exhilarating precisely because it shakes up that which is otherwise consistent. It’s this interplay of regularity and departure from regularity that can make rhythm such a powerful expressive tool in a piece.

2) How do you practice your rhythm and sense of time?

A metronome is definitely part of my process for regulating the consistency of tempi. Lots of my practice sessions are a cappella, so I like to record myself while I’m practicing and then listen back and trace how consistent I kept my tempo. Using a metronome is also very helpful for gauging the placement of consonants in order to keep my vocal line in time.

" Listeners latch onto rhythm as an entry point to a piece! "

3) What are your favorite rhythmic exercises?

I do lots of coloratura singing, for which rhythmic precision is extremely important. I like to practice dense ornamented passages at slow tempi while alternating which notes I accent within the groupings so that I can build them into my voice with flexibility and solid legato underlying the passagework as I move up to the final tempo.

4) Can you name one thing that you like about the metronome on Metronome Online?

I love how customizable the metronome is. It’s incredibly useful to be able to choose not only the time signature and specific beat emphases for that time signature but also the type of subdivisions to fit within each beat.

Rhythm As Heartbeat!

Meagan Martin

Hailed by the Los Angeles Times as a “great glory” in her recent turn as the title character in the world premiere of Juana, Meagan Martin is gaining notice as an enthralling, versatile performing artist. The first place winner of the 2018 Hershey Felder Award for Classical Musicians, she is equally comfortable in repertoire spanning the Baroque to the present and thrives in presentations that range from strictly traditional to wildly unconventional and cross-disciplinary in nature.

Praised for her "fine coloratura technique" (Opera Magazine), Ms. Martin's 18/19 season included debuts with Orange County Opera as Rosina in their touring outreach production of The Barber of Seville and with LA Opera Education and Community Engagement as Hansel, a Rhinemaiden, and Blonde in German Opera Tales. She portrayed Hester Prynne in scenes from composer Mark Carlson and librettist Bruce Olstad's The Scarlet Letter in Sacramento, and she appeared in the inaugural performance by New Opera West as the Bartender in a selection from Gilberto, an opera in development by composer Nick Benavides and librettist Marella Martin Koch, and as Angie in an excerpt from Pepito, a 20-minute opera by the same creative team. In the summer she was a Vocal Fellow at Music Academy of the West, where she was a winner in the inaugural Fast Pitch Competition, was featured in a master class with Isabel Leonard, and was praised for her "poignantly sung" Sara in the West Coast premiere of Jennifer Higdon and Gene Scheer's Cold Mountain (Daniela Candillari, conductor and James Darrah, director).

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