Tales of the rhythmless

beat deafness, off beat, finding a rhythm, brain afflictions, rhythmless

We’ve all heard it. At a concert where the person next to you is clapping hopelessly out of time to the music. Or seen it. At a party or a wedding where that over-anxious first person on the dance floor doesn’t quite have the same beat as the music. Like Elaine Benes of Seinfeld, they are the rhythmless.

If you think everyone has some form of rhythm (perhaps it spins on a different axis than our own), think again.

With a PhD in neuroscience and auditory development, Jessica Phillips-Silver says there’s a thing called beat deafness – “a form of musical brain disorder” – discovered via her study for the International Laboratory for Brain, Music and Sound Research in Montreal.

Listen to the full story from NPR’s Morning Edition whether you’re a clapper on the 2 and 4 or 1 and 3 beats. The comments are interesting and worth a read here as well.

Photo: Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Seinfeld’s Elaine Benes, © NBC Universal

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