In funk music, rhythmic complexity influences dancing desire

This shows a groove drum-break. Credit: Maria Witek

Rhythmic drum patterns with a balance of rhythmic predictability and complexity may influence our desire to dance and enjoy the music, according to a study published April 16, 2014 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Maria Witek from University of Oxford and colleagues from Aarhus University, Denmark and Oxford University.

Many people find themselves unable to resist moving their bodies to the thumping beat of hip-hop, electronic, or funk music, but may feel less desire to dance when listening to a highly syncopated type of music, like free jazz. Researchers interested in understanding how the structure of this music affects our desire to dance have studied the role of rhythm in eliciting and . They used a web-based survey to investigate the relationship between rhythmic complexity and self-ratings of wanting to move and pleasure. Over 60 participants from all over the world listened to funk drum-breaks with varying degrees of syncopation. Participants then rated the extent to which they made volunteers want to move, as well as how much pleasure they experienced.

Based on the results, the authors suggest that listening to rhythmic drum patterns with a medium degree of syncopation elicited a greater desire to move and the most pleasure, particularly for participants who enjoyed dancing to music regardless. Researchers suggest that listeners enjoy a balance between rhythmic predictability and complexity in music. The authors posit that the relationship between body movement, pleasure, and syncopation is important in people's responses to groove .

Maria Witek added, "In this relatively small population, we found that medium syncopation in groove invites the most pleasure and wanting to move. Our findings help us understand how certain musical rhythms can stimulate desire for spontaneous body-movement."

More information: Witek MAG, Clarke EF, Wallentin M, Kringelbach ML, Vuust P (2014) Syncopation, Body-Movement and Pleasure in Groove Music. PLoS ONE 9(4): e94446.DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0094446

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Some people really just don't like music, study says

Mar 06, 2014

It is often said that music is a universal language. However, a new report in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on March 6 finds that music doesn't speak to everyone. There are people who are perfectly able to experi ...

Keep the beat say, rhythm researchers

Oct 19, 2011

Why we do move when we hear good music? Researchers at McMaster University have found that tapping to the beat measurably enriches the listening experience, broadening our capacity to understand timing and ...

Move to the beat: How music can help your brain

Nov 19, 2013

Whether pounding the streets, putting in the effort at the gym or learning the latest dance moves, many people enjoy listening to music while exercising. Now scientists believe that combining movement and ...

Why do we enjoy listening to sad music?

Jul 11, 2013

Sad music might actually evoke positive emotions reveals a new study by Japanese researchers published in the open-access journal Frontiers in Psychology. The findings help to explain why people enjoy listening to sad mu ...

Recommended for you

Despite risks, benzodiazepine use highest in older people

17 hours ago

Prescription use of benzodiazepines—a widely used class of sedative and anti-anxiety medications—increases steadily with age, despite the known risks for older people, according to a comprehensive analysis of benzodiazepine ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.