Mystery Solved

How string quartets stay together

By
8:00am, March 17, 2014

STAYING IN SYNC  Some ensembles are more autocratic — following one leader — while other musical groups are more democratic, making corrections equally, to stay together while playing a piece. 

String quartet players continuously adjust the timing of their notes to stay in sync. But exactly how players do it has been unclear. New data tracking millisecond-scale corrections suggests that some ensembles are more autocratic — following one leader —while other musical groups are more democratic, making corrections equally. Researchers had two well-established quartets play Joseph Haydn’s String Quartet op. 74 no. 1.

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