Conducting Patterns

Youtube Video

Counting 4/4 with eighth notes (quavers)

What are they?

Baton movement patterns used by conductors to beat time. These are good for a metronome as they have been developed to show the rhythm as clearly as possible.

What can you do?

You can show any of the rhythms as a conducting pattern - you can also show several conducting patterns simultaneously for the polyrhythms. When you play along with it, it's like following a conductor's baton.

Uses some features of human conducting to help show the rhythm clearly - as a practise tool - doesn't attempt to imitate human conducting exactly (see How it worksfor details).

The baton is raised higher on the "up beat" to show the start of the measure clearly. Then the pattern has larger movements before other significant beats in the rhythm (e.g. middle beat of slow 6/8). Baton bounces up with a distinct "ictus" flick after each beat. All this helps you see where you are in the rhythm and see the moment of the beat precisely.

You can also show different styles of conducting patterns or set your own custom patterns.


Here it is in action showing some of the various styles you can use

Do you want to see more of these? See >Video gallery with more videos.

Where do I find it in Bounce Metronome:

Choose Conducting Patterns from the drop list at top right of any of the bouncing balls windows.

To configure, use the window Conducting Patterns (Ctrl + 247)

Back to tabs menu


  • Baton is raised highest just before first beat of the rhythm (on the "up beat").
  • Bounces up with a crisp "ictus" to help show the beat cleanly and clearly.
  • Follows traditional conducting patterns - larger movements before the most significant beats.
  • Bounces for subdivisions are closer together to help you pick out the main beats.
  • You can also enter your own custom conducting patterns if you need a different sequence of bounces.

Uses the patterns from Brock McElheran, "Conducting Technique for beginners and professionals", revised edition (1989).

You are expected to play the note at the moment the baton bounces off the "invisible plane".

"The motion is like bouncing a golf ball on pavement. Your performers must be trained to play exactly at the bottom of the beat."
P 19, Brock McElheran, "Conducting Technique for beginners and professionals", revised edition (1989).

Back to tabs menu

How it works

Conductor's techniques have been developed over centuries to show rhythms as crisply and clearly as possible.

Bounce Metronome uses many of these conductor's techniques to make the rhythms easy to follow.

The standard conducting patterns have also been developed to be easy to follow out of the corner of your eye (the geometrical shape of the baton motions).

So Bounce Metronome uses those as well to help you keep your place in the rhythm.

However it doesn't atttempt to imitate the natural movements of a human conductor or the expressiveness of conducting.  The objective is just to show the rhythms as clearly as possible to help with practise.

It's not a "how to conduct" visual display at present. However, for those interested in a "how to conduct" type feature, I''m considering a new feature later which will allow you to record and play back your conducting movements in Bounce Metronome. There are various ways this might be achieved. See For the future

Back to tabs menu

Several at once

You can show conducting patterns for several rhythms at once - most useful for polyrhythms

Back to tabs menu

For the future

So far, Bounce Metronome doesn't try to follow a conductor baton exactly. Some things are easier to do in software and some things easier for a conductor to do with hand movements. The focus so far has been on clarity of the rhythm shown visually - rather than duplicating what a human does.

However, it could record baton movements and play them back instead

It would be possible to record the actual movement of a conductor's baton and play it back in Bounce Metronome synchronised with the metronome ticks. I can do this if there is enough interest.

How it might work

Basically there are 3 different solutions.

  • You could draw the pattern first and get the program to follow the line on the drawing.
  • You could record a video and the program follows the tip of the baton in the video.
  • Or you could conduct directly using mouse, or stylus or other input device and the program records your movements and plays them back again.

Then the program needs to play your recorded patterns back at any tempo (this is where most of the programming work is likely to be involved).

Contact me if you want this feature developed

If you want any of these features do contact me, or discuss it on the forums. It would be useful to know which of the 3 possible solutions would work best for you, though technical constraints may guide the final choice.

Remember, all future upgrades of the software are free.

Back to tabs menu