Haptics for the development of fundamental rhythm skills, including multi-limb coordination

Holland, Simon; Bouwer, Anders and Hödl, Oliver (2018). Haptics for the development of fundamental rhythm skills, including multi-limb coordination. In: Papetti, Stefano and Saitis, Charalampos eds. Musical Haptics. Springer Series on Touch and Haptic Systems. Springer International Publishing, pp. 215–237.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-58316-7_11


This chapter considers the use of haptics for learning fundamental rhythm skills, including skills that depend on multi-limb coordination. Different sensory modalities have different strengths and weaknesses for the development of skills related to rhythm. For example, vision has low temporal resolution and performs poorly for tracking rhythms in real-time, whereas hearing is highly accurate. However, in the case of multi-limbed rhythms, neither hearing nor sight are particularly well suited to communicating exactly which limb does what and when, or how the limbs coordinate. By contrast, haptics can work especially well in this area, by applying haptic signals independently to each limb. We review relevant theories, including embodied interaction and biological entrainment. We present a range of applications of the Haptic Bracelets, which are computer-controlled wireless vibrotactile devices, one attached to each wrist and ankle. Haptic pulses are used to guide users in playing rhythmic patterns that require multi-limb coordination. One immediate aim of the system is to support the development of practical rhythm skills and multi-limb coordination. A longer-term goal is to aid the development of a wider range of fundamental rhythm skills including recognising, identifying, memorising, retaining, analysing, reproducing, coordinating, modifying and creating rhythms – particularly multi-stream (i.e. polyphonic) rhythmic sequences. Empirical results are presented. We reflect on related work, and discuss design issues for using haptics to support rhythm skills. Skills of this kind are essential not just to drummers and percussionists but also to keyboards players, and more generally to all musicians who need a firm grasp of rhythm.

Viewing alternatives

Download history


Public Attention

Altmetrics from Altmetric

Number of Citations

Citations from Dimensions

Item Actions