How accurate is the human sense of rhythm?


How accurate is the human sense of rhythm?

In: Biology

It depends on the person.

Mine is incredibly accurate, in fact I would say it is innate. I’ve never had to consciously count or learn to count like many other musicians have to, it just happens naturally. Though, I do have to give some thought to some non-standard time signatures, we tend to write music in a small set of time signatures: 2/4, 3/4, 4/4, 6/8, 9/8, 12/8, 5/4, 7/4. Each of which is easily distinguishable for me, and does not require consciously counting to stay in time.

As such, I can play in time to almost anything, which is very useful for recording as it means I can usually do things in 1 or 2 takes.

You’d be surprised how many musicians “lose it” in the studio and have to do take after take because they keep playing irregularly ahead or behind the beat.

Then, on the other side of the coin you have people who can’t even tap along to a 4/4 beat. I cannot conceptualise how people can’t do this, but do it they can’t.

You’d likely find that most people have some conception of keeping time and rhythm, who can learn to be quite accurate, with some people at the extremes, being “superbeats” and others being “nobeats”.

That’s no different than with singing really, most people can sing. Most people could learn to sing better. Some people are just naturally better at it and need less training (or even none, though everyone benefits from learning correct breathing) to sound great. Other people are tone deaf and could never be taught how to sing.