Encyclopedia of Computational Neuroscience

Living Edition
| Editors: Dieter Jaeger, Ranu Jung

Rhythm Perception: Pulse and Meter

  • Edward W. LargeEmail author
Living reference work entry

Latest version View entry history

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-7320-6_106-2



Pulse and meter are perceptual/attentional responses to patterns of timing and stress in acoustic rhythms. Pulse corresponds to the perception of periodicity, while meter corresponds to the perception of alternating strong and weak beats. Pulse and meter are thought to arise as cortical rhythms entrain to acoustic rhythms, influencing temporal expectancy and attention. Computational models of pulse and meter as neural resonance to acoustic rhythms are based on theoretical models of neural oscillation.

Detailed Description

Musical rhythm is of considerable interest as a model system for the study of rhythmic communication. In music, rhythms are often perceived to have a pulse or basic beat in the approximate range of 0.5–4 Hz (London 2004). Meter corresponds to the percept of alternating strong and weak beats (Lerdahl and Jackendoff 1983) and, metrical structures...
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Aronson DG, Ermentrout GB, Kopell N (1990) Amplitude response of coupled oscillators. Phys D: Nonlinear Phenom 41(3):403–449CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ghitza O (2011) Linking speech perception and neurophysiology: speech decoding guided by cascaded oscillators locked to the input rhythm. Front Psychol 2:130. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2011.00130PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Giraud A-L, Poeppel D (2012) Cortical oscillations and speech processing: emerging computational principles and operations. Nat Neurosci 15(4):511–517. doi:10.1038/nn.3063PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Glass L (2001) Synchronization and rhythmic processes in physiology. Nature 410(6825):277–284PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Lakatos P, Shah AS, Knuth KH, Ulbert I, Schroeder CE (2005) An oscillatory hierarchy controlling neuronal excitability and stimulus processing in the auditory cortex. J Neurophysiol 94(3):1904–1911PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Large EW (2008) Resonating to musical rhythm: theory and experiment. In: Grondin S (ed) The psychology of time. Emerald, Cambridge, pp 189–231Google Scholar
  7. Large EW, Jones MR (1999) The dynamics of attending: how people track time-varying events. Psychol Rev 106(1):119–159CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Large EW, Kolen JF (1994) Resonance and the perception of musical meter. Connect Sci 6:177–208CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Large EW, Almonte F, Velasco M (2010) A canonical model for gradient frequency neural networks. Phys D: Nonlinear Phenom 239(12):905–911. doi:10.1016/j.physd.2009.11.015CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Lerdahl F, Jackendoff R (1983) A generative theory of tonal music. MIT Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  11. London J (2004) Hearing in time: psychological aspects of musical meter. Oxford University Press, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Luo H, Poeppel D (2007) Phase patterns of neuronal responses reliably discriminate speech in human auditory cortex. Neuron 54(6):1001–1010. doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2007.06.004PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. McAuley JD (1995) Perception of time as phase: toward an adaptive-oscillator model of rhythmic pattern processing. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Indiana University, BloomingtonGoogle Scholar
  14. Nozaradan S, Peretz I, Missal M, Mouraux A (2011) Tagging the neuronal entrainment to beat and meter. J Neurosci 31(28):10234–10240PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Pikovsky A, Rosenblum M, Kurths J (2001) Synchronization: a universal concept in nonlinear sciences. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Will U, Berg E (2007) Brain wave synchronization and entrainment to periodic acoustic stimuli. Neuroscience Letters 424(1):55–60PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of ConnecticutStorrsUSA