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Entrainment in the biomusicological sense refers to the synchronization of organisms to an external rhythm, usually produced by other organisms with whom they interact socially. Examples include firefly flashing, mosquito wing clapping as well as human music and dance such as foot tapping.
Beat induction is the process in which a regular isochronous pulse is activated while one listens to music (i.e. the beat to which one would tap one's foot). It was thought that the cognitive mechanism that allows us to infer a beat from a sound pattern, and to synchronize or dance to it, was uniquely human. No primate tested so far — with exception of the human species — can dance or collaboratively clap to the beat of the music. Humans know when to start, when to stop, when to speed up or to slow down, in synchronizing with their fellow dancers or musicians. Although primates do not appear to display beat induction, some parrots do. The most famous example, Snowball was shown to display genuine dance, including changing his movements to a change in tempo (Patel et al., 2009)
Beat induction can be seen as a fundamental cognitive skill that allows for music (e.g., Patel, 2008; Honing, 2007; 2012). We can hear a pulse in a rhythmic pattern while it might not even be explicitly in there: The pulse is being induced (hence the name) while listening—like a perspective can be induced by looking at an arrangement of objects in a picture.
Neuroscientist Ani Patel proposes beat induction—referring to it as "beat-based rhythm processing" — as a key area in music-language research, suggesting beat induction "a fundamental aspect of music cognition that is not a byproduct of cognitive mechanisms that also serve other, more clearly adaptive, domains (e.g. auditory scene analysis or language)." (Patel, 2008).
Evolutionary function of entrainmentEdit
Joseph Jordania recently suggested that the human ability to be entrained was developed by the forces of natural selection as an important part of achieving the specific altered state of consciousness, battle trance. Achieving this state, in which humans lose their individuality, do not feel fear and pain, are united in a shared collective identity, and act in the best interests of the group, was crucial for the physical survival of our ancestors against the big African predators, after hominids descended from the safer trees to the dangerous ground and became terrestrial.
- Battle trance
- Evolutionary musicology
- Collective identity
- Music therapy
- Henkjan Honing
- István Winkler
- Clayton, M., Sager, R.; Will, U. (2004). In time with the music: The concept of entrainment and its significance for ethnomusicology. ESEM Counterpoint 1: 1–82.
- Gibson, G., Russell, I. (2006). Flying in tune: Sexual recognition in mosquitoes. Current Biology 16 (13): 1311–1316.
- Hagen, E.H., Bryant, G.A. (2003). Music and dance as a coalition signaling system. Human Nature 14 (1): 21–51.
- 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.
- Merker, B. (2000). "Synchronous chorusing and human origins" Wallin, N. L., Merker, B. and Brown, S. The origins of music, 315–327. URL accessed 2008-05-05.
- Patel, A. (2008). "Beat-based rhythm processing as a key research area", In Music, Language and the Brain (pp. 402–415). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Desain, P., & Honing, H. (1994). "Foot-Tapping: a brief introduction to beat induction". In Proceedings of the 1994 International Computer Music Conference. 78-79. San Francisco: International Computer Music Association.
- Winkler, Istvan; Haden, Gabor; Ladinig, Olivia; Sziller, Istvan; Honing, Henkjan (2009), "Newborn infants detect the beat in music", Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 106 (7): 2468–71, doi:10.1073/pnas.0809035106, PMID 19171894
- Patel, Aniruddh D.; Iversen, John R.; Bregman, Micah R.; Schulz, Irena; Schulz, Charles (2008-08), "Investigating the human-specificity of synchronization to music", Proceedings of the 10th Intl. Conf. on Music Perception and Cognition (Adelaide: Causal Productions), http://vesicle.nsi.edu/users/patel/Patel_Iversen_Bregman_Schulz_Schulz_ICMPC10_in_press.pdf, retrieved on 2008-09-20
Music cognition and biomusicology
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