Same beat set to different tunes changes walkers' pace

Jul 10, 2013

Personal tastes in music have little to do with how we keep time to a tune while walking, according to research published July 10 by Marc Leman and colleagues from Ghent University, Belgium in the open access journal PLOS ONE.

Most people synchronize their steps to the beat of their tunes when they listen to music on a walk. In the current study, researchers found that even when excerpts of music had identical tempo and beat, other acoustic features influenced walkers' stride and speed.

Participants in the study heard samples of 52 different types of music that all had the same tempo and a 4-beat meter during a walk, but their stride lengthened in response to some tunes and was shorter in response to others. These differences in stride caused an overall difference in the pace of their walk.

After the experiment, participants rated the music they had heard with bipolar adjectives like bad or good, aggressive or tender, familiar or unfamiliar. Music which increased the most was most frequently rated bad, aggressive, loud or fast, whereas emotions, familiarity or taste had little to the music's effect on pace. Pop-techno sounds were more prominent in the excerpts that increased pace, compared to jazz-reggae on tunes that decreased walking pace. Leman adds "Music tones up or tones down your walking stride depending on musical style, even when the tempo is the same. This offers perspectives for sports and ."

Explore further: In the mood for music

More information: Leman M, Moelants D, Varewyck M, Styns F, van Noorden L, et al. (2013) Activating and Relaxing Music Entrains the Speed of Beat Synchronized Walking. PLOS ONE 8(7): e67932. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0067932

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

In the mood for music

Jun 27, 2013

Could a computer distinguish between the moods of a mournful classical movement or an angst-ridden emo rock song? Research to be published in the International Journal of Computational Intelligence Studies, suggests that i ...

Musicians take note of tune-writing app

May 06, 2013

Need some instant musical notation to remember that little tune you just came up with? A new mobile app created by a researcher from KTH Royal Institute of Technology makes it possible to score any melody ...

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 ...

Recommended for you

Residents of 'boom time' suburbs face unsustainable commutes

2 hours ago

People living in the 'boom time' suburbs of Dublin are more likely to endure unsustainable commutes to work than those living in older accommodation. Research shows that people living in newly constructed housing in the Greater ...

Male-biased tweeting

23 hours ago

Today women take an active part in public life. Without a doubt, they also converse with other women. In fact, they even talk to each other about other things besides men. As banal as it sounds, this is far ...

Developing nations ride a motorcycle boom

Apr 23, 2014

Asia's rapidly developing economies should prepare for a full-throttle increase in motorcycle numbers as average incomes increase, a new study from The Australian National University has found.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Male-biased tweeting

Today women take an active part in public life. Without a doubt, they also converse with other women. In fact, they even talk to each other about other things besides men. As banal as it sounds, this is far ...