Without it no music: beat induction as a fundamental musical trait
Article first published online: 23 APR 2012
© 2012 New York Academy of Sciences.
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Volume 1252, The Neurosciences and Music IV Learning and Memory pages 85–91, April 2012
How to Cite
Honing, H. (2012), Without it no music: beat induction as a fundamental musical trait. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1252: 85–91. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2011.06402.x
- Issue published online: 23 APR 2012
- Article first published online: 23 APR 2012
- event-related brain potentials;
- cognitive biology
Beat induction (BI) is the cognitive skill that allows us to hear a regular pulse in music to which we can then synchronize. Perceiving this regularity in music allows us to dance and make music together. As such, it can be considered a fundamental musical trait that, arguably, played a decisive role in the origins of music. Furthermore, BI might be considered a spontaneously developing, domain-specific, and species-specific skill. Although both learning and perception/action coupling were shown to be relevant in its development, at least one study showed that the auditory system of a newborn is able to detect the periodicities induced by a varying rhythm. A related study with adults suggested that hierarchical representations for rhythms (meter induction) are formed automatically in the human auditory system. We will reconsider these empirical findings in the light of the question whether beat and meter induction are fundamental cognitive mechanisms.