Individual musical tempo preference correlates with EEG beta rhythm

Anna-Katharina R Bauer, Gunter Kreutz, Christoph S Herrmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Every individual has a preferred musical tempo, which peaks slightly above 120 beats per minute and is subject to interindividual variation. The preferred tempo is believed to be associated with rhythmic body movements as well as motor cortex activity. However, a long-standing question is whether preferred tempo is determined biologically. To uncover the neural correlates of preferred tempo, we first determined an individual's preferred tempo using a multistep procedure. Subsequently, we correlated the preferred tempo with a general EEG timing parameter as well as perceptual and motor EEG correlates-namely, individual alpha frequency, auditory evoked gamma band response, and motor beta activity. Results showed a significant relation between preferred tempo and the frequency of motor beta activity. These findings suggest that individual tempo preferences result from neural activity in the motor cortex, explaining the interindividual variation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)600-4
Number of pages5
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2015


  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Adult
  • Auditory Cortex/physiology
  • Auditory Perception/physiology
  • Beta Rhythm/physiology
  • Electroencephalography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Individuality
  • Male
  • Music
  • Young Adult

Cite this