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.