Tempo Persistence

A Significant Ability in Music Ensembles

   The ability of stable and accurate tempo persistence is proven by prior studies to be significant during music ensembles where musicians need to synchronize with each other. This study tries to relate musicians’ capability of persisting different tempos to their daily music exposure level, their experience in bands or musical groups and how often they use ​metronomes.

Hardware Equipment

An AKAI® MPK mini MIDI controller, which has 8 backlit pads that are mapped to MIDI note 44-51.

Experiment Design

The subjects are asked to listen to a few pulse trains and try to track & persist the tempos through tapping for a certain amount of time, even after the pulse trains stop.

Software Interface

The MIDI tapping data acquisition and the experiment interface is implemented in ChucK.

Brief Introduction

Detailed Report


   In this work, the relationship between musicians’ tempo persistence capabilities and certain aspects of their musical backgrounds was studied. The current results show ​positive correlations between this ability and the subjects’ daily music exposure levels as well as their experiences in musical groups. On the other hand, due to small subject size and abnormal data points, the average performance of drummers appears to be worse than that of non-drummers. Moreover, participants who usually use metronomes actually demonstrate a relatively worse performance, which is another issue that remains to be studied further.