Interpersonal entrainment in music performance: a cross-cultural perspective

The phenomenon of interpersonal entrainment, or synchronisation, in music performance has attracted increasing research interest over the last decade. Our current project, Interpersonal entrainment in music performance, addresses a number of key questions in this area, amongst them:
How does sensorimotor synchronisation relate to higher-level coordination processes in music performance?
How, if at all, do entrainment dynamics vary between musical traditions?
In what ways is musical entrainment mediated by cultural factors?
I will present some results of our cross-cultural comparative analysis of interpersonal entrainment, and then outline a new model of interpersonal musical entrainment that attempts to locate cultural influences on relevant psycho-physiological processes.


Professor Martin Clayton

Martin Clayton is Professor in Ethnomusicology in Durham University. He studied at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London, where he obtained degrees in Music and Hindi (BA, 1988) and Ethnomusicology (PhD, 1993). His research interests include Hindustani (North Indian) classical music, rhythmic analysis, musical entrainment and embodiment, comparative musicology and early field recordings, British-Asian music and Western music in India. He previously worked at the Open University, and has taught a wide range of ethnomusicological courses at numerous other UK universities, besides contributing to OU teaching materials, and worked as Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Chicago. He was a member of the Music sub-panel for the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise, and for the 2014 Research Excellence Framework.he is currently Director of Research in the Music Department.

Professor Clayton directs a major research project, 'Interpersonal Entrainment in Music Performance', funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC, 2016-18), with co-investigators Tuomas Eerola (Durham), Antonio Camurri (Genoa) and Peter Keller (Sydney). he leads the Leverhulme Trust-funded project The Breath of Music: Investigating respiration in Indian music performance, and is also co-investigator on Laura Leante's AHRC-funded project 'Khyal: Music and Imagination' in 2016. He previously directed the 'Experience and meaning in music performance' research project: the co-authored book of the same name was published by OUP in October 2013.

Martin served for many years as committee member for the British Forum for Ethnomusicology (BFE) and the European Seminar in Ethnomusicology (ESEM), and serves on several editorial boards including the journals Music Analysis and Music Performance Research.

[Information and picture from:, last access: 2018-08-06]