Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization (MPIDS), the University of Göttingen, and the Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience in Göttingen have discovered the statistical laws governing rhythmic fluctuations in human musical performances. The Invention, for which the scientists have now received a US-patent, could improve the electronically generated rhythms, which are “humanized” in recording studios to make them sound more natural. The methods for this humanizing have not reflected the statistical laws governing natural music so far. The tiny deviations from the perfect rhythms that are present in the performances of even very skilled drummers are not entirely random. The research shows that these fluctuations are not statistically independent, but are in fact correlated over long periods of time. Most listeners perceived music produced according to this new finding as more pleasing than with randomly shifted rhythms. The invention could be interesting for recording studios, record companies and manufacturers of musical equipment such as drum machines and keyboards.
Picture: In one of the experiments, subjects were provided with the perfect beat of an electronic metronome via head phones. They were then asked to reproduce this beat on drums. © Courtesy of Agbenyega Attiogbe-Redlich (www.hippocritz-school.com)