Evidence for multiple rhythmic skills

Adam Tierney, Nina Kraus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

Rhythms, or patterns in time, play a vital role in both speech and music. Proficiency in a number of rhythm skills has been linked to language ability, suggesting that certain rhythmic processes in music and language rely on overlapping resources. However, a lack of understanding about how rhythm skills relate to each other has impeded progress in understanding how language relies on rhythm processing. In particular, it is unknown whether all rhythm skills are linked together, forming a single broad rhythmic competence, or whether there are multiple dissociable rhythm skills. We hypothesized that beat tapping and rhythm memory/sequencing form two separate clusters of rhythm skills. This hypothesis was tested with a battery of two beat tapping and two rhythm memory tests. Here we show that tapping to a metronome and the ability to adjust to a changing tempo while tapping to a metronome are related skills. The ability to remember rhythms and to drum along to repeating rhythmic sequences are also related. However, we found no relationship between beat tapping skills and rhythm memory skills. Thus, beat tapping and rhythm memory are dissociable rhythmic aptitudes. This discovery may inform future research disambiguating how distinct rhythm competencies track with specific language functions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number0136645
JournalPloS one
Volume10
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 16 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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