In time with the music: The concept of entrainment and its significance for ethnomusicology

Martin Clayton, Rebecca Sager and Udo Will

1. Introduction.

2. Entrainment basic

2.1 Introduction: the concept of entrainment
2.2 A short history of the entrainment concept
2.3 Physiological rhythms
2.4 Circadian rhythms and entrainment to environmental stimuli
2.5 Ultradian rhythms and interpersonal entrainment
2.6 Self-entrainment
2.7 Entrainment and brain waves
2.8 Degrees and phases of entrainment

3. Further applications of the entrainment concept

3.1 Social psychology
3.2 Interaction and communication
3.3 Cognitive psychology

4. Applications in music research

4.1 Musical metre
4.2 Biomusicology
4.3 Music therapy

5. Entrainment and ethnomusicology

5.1 Ethnomusicological studies relating to entrainment
5.2 The significance of entrainment for ethnomusicology

6 Methods and Methodology

6.1 Data collection
6.2 Data analysis
6.3 Ethnography and interpretation

7. Case studies of chronometric analysis of rhythm performances
Case study 1: Production of one rhythm by one performer
Case study 2: Simultaneous production of two rhythmic activities by one performer
Case Study 3: Coordination of rhythms between two performers


A. The autocorrelation function
B. Sequential and hierarchical timer models
C. The relative phase of two event series
Authors’ response
Notes on the authors