Synchronization error of drum kit playing with a metronome at different tempi by professional drummers

Shinya Fujii, Masaya Hirashima, Kazutoshi Kudo, Tatsuyuki Ohtsuki, Yoshihiko Nakamura, Shingo Oda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


the present study examined the synchronization error (SE) of drum kit playing by professional drummers with an auditory metronome, focusing on the effects of motor effectors and tempi. Fifteen professional drummers attempted to synchronize a basic drumming pattern with a metronome as precisely as possible at tempi of 60, 120, and 200 beats per minute (bpm). In the 60 and 120 bpm conditions, the right hand (highhat cymbals) showed small mean SE (~2 ms), whereas the left hand (snare drum) and right foot (bass drum) preceded the metronome by about 10 ms. In the 200 bpm condition, the right hand was delayed by about 10 ms relative to the metronome, whereas the left hand and right foot showed small SE (~1 ms). The absolute values of SE were smaller than those reported in previous tapping studies. In addition, the time series of SE were significantly correlated across the motor effectors, suggesting that each limb synchronized in relation to the other limbs rather than independently with the metronome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)491-503
Number of pages13
JournalMusic Perception
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Jun
Externally publishedYes


  • Asynchrony
  • Drum kit playing
  • Drummers
  • Sensorimotor synchronization
  • Synchronization error

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Music


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