Beat tapping not related to rhythm memory

New York, Sep 17 (IANS) Tapping to a beat and remembering rhythms are not necessarily related skills, says a new study that may also have implications for language ability.

Rhythms, or patterns of sound and silence in time, may play a vital role in both speech and music.

However, not knowing how rhythm skills relate to each other has limited researchers’ understanding of how language relies on rhythm processing.

Using a battery of two beat tapping and two rhythm memory tests, the researchers from Northwestern University recruited over 60 teenage participants to investigate whether beat tapping and rhythm memory/sequencing form two separate clusters of rhythm skills.

The researchers found that tapping to a metronome – a device that produces regular, metrical ticks – and the ability to adjust to a changing tempo while tapping to a metronome seem to be related skills.

The ability to remember rhythms and to drum along to repeating rhythmic sequences may also be related.

However, the authors found no relationship between beat tapping skills and rhythm memory skills and they suggest that these may actually be separate skills.

The study was published in the journal PLOS ONE.

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