QUEBEC CITY, Oct. 22 (UPI) -- Tapping to the beat of music measurably enriches the listening experience, researchers in Canada found.
Michael Schutz, an assistant professor of music in the School of the Arts at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, said study participants heard a series of regular beats and were asked whether the final beat was consistent with the preceding rhythm.
They then rated their confidence to each response. On half of the trials, subjects were asked to tap along on an electronic drum pad, while on the other half they listened without tapping, Schutz said.
When the experimenters played the final tone after participants would have expected the beat, listeners performed 87 percent better at detecting the change when tapping vs. listening passively.
The tapping had little effect on performance when researchers played the tone early or on time, the study found.
"From a young age, we teach students to move to the music while performing, and now we know at least one reason why this is beneficial," Schutz said in a statement. "This study sheds light on why moving while playing helps musicians keep time and improves their overall performance."
The findings were presented at the Acoustics Week in Canada conference in Quebec City.