The Brain Of A Drummer

May 4 2011 @ 8:22am

Neuroscientist David Eagleman tested people's ability to keep a steady beat. He found the control section, or the average person "wavered by an average of thirty-five milliseconds; the best drummer was off by less than ten." Burkhard Bilger considers the brain's sense of time:

What would it be like to have a drummer’s timing? I wondered. Would you hear the hidden rhythms of everyday life, the syncopations of the street? When I asked the players at Eno’s studio this, they seemed to find their ability as much an annoyance as a gift. Like perfect pitch, which dooms the possessor to hear every false note and flat car horn, perfect timing may just make a drummer more sensitive to the world’s arrhythmias and repeated patterns, Eagleman said—to the flicker of computer screens and fluorescent lights. Reality, stripped of an extra beat in which the brain orchestrates its signals, isn’t necessarily a livelier place. It’s just filled with badly dubbed television shows.