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Interpersonal entrainment in music performance: Theory, method and model

Clayton, M.; Jakubowski, K.; Eerola, T.; Keller, P.E.; Camurri, A.; Volpe, G.; Alborno, P.

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P.E. Keller

A. Camurri

G. Volpe

P. Alborno


Interpersonal musical entrainment—temporal synchronization and coordination between individuals in musical contexts—is a ubiquitous phenomenon related to music’s social functions of promoting group bonding and cohesion. Mechanisms other than sensorimotor synchronization are rarely discussed, while little is known about cultural variability or about how and why entrainment has social effects. In order to close these gaps, we propose a new model that distinguishes between different components of interpersonal entrainment: sensorimotor synchronization—a largely automatic process manifested especially with rhythms based on periodicities in the 100–2000 ms timescale—and coordination, extending over longer timescales and more accessible to conscious control. We review the state of the art in measuring these processes, mostly from the perspective of action production, and in so doing present the first cross-cultural comparisons between interpersonal entrainment in natural musical performances, with an exploratory analysis that identifies factors that may influence interpersonal synchronization in music. Building on this analysis we advance hypotheses regarding the relationship of these features to neurophysiological, social, and cultural processes. We propose a model encompassing both synchronization and coordination processes and the relationship between them, the role of culturally shared knowledge, and of connections between entrainment and social processes.


Clayton, M., Jakubowski, K., Eerola, T., Keller, P., Camurri, A., Volpe, G., & Alborno, P. (2020). Interpersonal entrainment in music performance: Theory, method and model. Music Perception: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 38(2), 136-194.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 25, 2020
Online Publication Date Nov 25, 2020
Publication Date 2020-12
Deposit Date Oct 24, 2018
Publicly Available Date Dec 7, 2020
Journal Music Perception
Print ISSN 0730-7829
Electronic ISSN 1533-8312
Publisher University of California Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 38
Issue 2
Pages 136-194


Published Journal Article (1.2 Mb)

Copyright Statement
Published as Clayton, Martin, Jakubowski, Kelly, Eerola, Tuomas, Keller, Peter E., Camurri, Antonio, Volpe, Gualtiero & Alborno, Paolo (2020). Interpersonal entrainment in music performance: Theory and method. Music Perception 38(2): 136–194 © 2020 by the Regents of the University of California. Copying and permissions notice: Authorization to copy this content beyond fair use (as specified in Sections 107 and 108 of the U. S. Copyright Law) for internal or personal use, or the internal or personal use of specific clients, is granted by [the Regents of the University of California/on behalf of the Sponsoring Society] for libraries and other users, provided that they are registered with and pay the specified fee via Rightslink® or directly with the Copyright Clearance Center.

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