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A metronome, from ancient Greek μέτρον (métron, "measure") and νέμω (némo, "I manage", "I lead"), is a device that produces an audible click or other sound at a regular interval that can be set by the user, typically in beats per minute (BPM). Musicians use the device to practice playing to a regular pulse. Metronomes typically include synchronized visual motion (e.g., swinging pendulum or blinking lights).
A kind of metronome was among the inventions of Andalusian polymath Abbas ibn Firnas (810–887). In 1815 Johann Maelzel patented it as a tool for musicians, under the title "Instrument/Machine for the Improvement of all Musical Performance, called Metronome".
Musicians practice with metronomes to improve their timing, especially the ability to stick to a tempo. Metronome practice helps internalize a clear sense of timing and tempo. Composers often use a metronome as a standard tempo reference—and may play or sing their work to the metronome to derive beats per minute if they want to indicate that in a composition.