Wikis > Glossary > Entrainment

Entrainment is the process by which signals synchronize to a single frequency.

The main merit of entrainment models is found in their ability to predict how listeners adapt to fluctuations of performance timing. According to the entrainment model of Large and Jones, people time their attention to musical events by adapting neural oscillations of attentional energy. These oscillations “sharpen” or focus on particular moments of time if a rhythm unfolds in a metrically consistent manner, and spread out if the performance is irregular. This idea of “spreads of attention” is an appropriate explanation for why events in “expressive timing” are treated as functionally identical.

Justin London presents a model of entrainment that intertwines with a new postulation of meter. He defines entrainment as “in response to a periodic input, a physiological rhythm may become… phase-locke to the periodic stimuli…” He continues to assert that, ” musical meter is the anticipatory schema that is the result of our inherent abilities to entrain to periodic stimuli in our environment.” (London, 12).

The main flaw in such models is in their unfaltering consistency, which ignores general human error (Tan & Al. 2010).


One thought on “Entrainment

  1. Now that we will have read London’s account, you might want to quote the definition he provides for metric entrainement (and cite the author-date-page in parentheses).

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