Effects of instructed timing and tempo on snare drum sound in drum kit performance

Anne Danielsen, Maria Witek, Carl Haakon Waadeland, Henrik G. Sundt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
260 Downloads (Pure)


This paper reports on an experiment investigating the expressive means with which performers of groove-based musics signal the intended timing of a rhythmic event. Ten expert drummers were instructed to perform a rock pattern in three different tempi and three different timing styles: “laid-back,” “on-the-beat,” and “pushed.” The results show that there were systematic differences in the intensity and timbre (i.e., sound-pressure level, temporal centroid, and spectral centroid) of series of snare strokes played with these different timing styles at the individual level. A common pattern was found across subjects concerning the effect of instructed timing on sound-pressure level: a majority of the drummers played laid-back strokes louder than on-the-beat strokes. Furthermore, when the tempo increased, there was a general increase in sound-pressure level and a decrease in spectral centroid across subjects. The results show that both temporal and sound-related features are important in order to indicate that a rhythmic event has been played intentionally early, late, or on-the-beat, and provide insight into the ways in which musicians communicate at the microrhythmic level in groove-based musics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2301-2316
Number of pages16
JournalThe Journal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 21 Oct 2015


Dive into the research topics of 'Effects of instructed timing and tempo on snare drum sound in drum kit performance'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this