Posts Tagged ‘beat’


Dave Grohl and The Curious Nature of Drummers’ Brains

March 4, 2022

Live music is back.

The Foo Fighters play a stadium concert in Geelong TONIGHT. This is the first stadium concert in Australia in 2 years!!!!! Dave Grohl, the FF’s guitarist,  is a legend. He played drums for Nirvana and is considered by many to be the best drummer in the world. Meanwhile, Taylor Hawkins, the drummer for the Foo Fighters, is also considered one of the best rock drummers ever. 

In honour of this auspicious occasion and to work out what might be going on inside these rock legends’ heads, I’m reposting (below) the math article about drummers’ brains.



In a 2011 article in the New Yorker Burkhard Bilger wrote about neuroscientist David Eagleman and his research into time and the brain especially drummers’ brains.

Eagleman New Yorker

Some of the drummers he has interviewed and/or tested include William Champion of Cold Play, Brian Eno of Roxy Music and Larry Mullen, Jnr of U2.Roxy Music with Brian Eno

Eno, on keyboards (above) who was working on a U2 album,  talks about Mullen’s amazing timing.  They were using a click-track (computer generated beat) when mMullen complained he couldn’t drum to it. ENO adjusted the beat. Mullen was happy.

larry Mullen

ENO adjusted the beat by 6 milliseconds!!!!!!!!!

6 thousandths of a second or 0.006sec.

Cool Larry Mullen Jnr Drum solo

Tempo is measured in beats per minute or bpm. 

Drum Beats for different tracks:

Drum Beats

Here are some drum beats provided by Justin Alan Cox so you can get your timing right:

60 bpm

80 bpm

100 bpm

120 bpm

Drummer Maths:

How Cool a Drummer are you?

Pick a beat and see how accurate you can beat tempo. Time how long it takes you to beat out 60, 80, 100 or 120 drum beats using a pencil.  It should, obviously, take one minute if you are an ENO or a Mullens.

What was the difference in time in seconds?

But drummers like Eno, Grohl and Hawkins have other problems!!!!!

Bilger’s conclusion:

‘Like perfect pitch, which dooms the possessor to hear every false note and flat car horn, perfect timing may just makes a drummer more sensitive to the world’s arrhythmias and repeated patterns, Eagleman said—to the flicker of computer screens and fluorescent lights. Reality, stripped of an extra beat in which the brain orchestrates its signals, isn’t necessarily a livelier place. It’s just filled with badly dubbed television shows.’


A Bitcoin Bubble, a Random Walk and a blind-folded Monkey

July 6, 2021

What is all this monkey business? It started in 1973 when Princeton University professor Burton Malkiel claimed in his bestselling book, A Random Walk Down Wall Street, that “A blindfolded monkey throwing darts at a newspaper’s financial pages could select a portfolio that would do just as well as one carefully selected by experts.”

In other words, the stock price movement is random. 

See Forbes Magazine here.

Now in its 12th edition, the book tackles Investment Bubbles including Bitcoin. Is there a Bitcoin Bubble? According to the ABC on 24 MAY 2021 this was the Bitcoin Bubble Graph:

From the ABC news here

Random Walk Game

So can you beat the financial market? Try this 2D Random Walk game (pic below) to see if you can guess the next random move and beat the system.

In the game, you have to remove gold blocks by clicking on blocks in the way of the moving green dot, but you lose energy (lose money, perhaps) each time you remove a block.  Can you guess where the green dot is moving? Can you survive? Mmmmm! Good Luck. You’ll need it.


Real World Maths: Linear Graphs and Linear Drumming

September 21, 2020

Taylor Hawkins Foo Fighters drum solo



Maths Mystery Box 9: MUSIC

February 13, 2015

Maths Mystery BOX 9

Middle School Maths Challenge

Rates, averages and crazy drummers (That’s all of them, man!)

Here are 3 classic rock songs. Listen to the tracks and find the beat per minute or bpm of each song. 

HINT: Count the beats and ask a friend to time you.

Beat 1: AC/DC …  T.N.T.


Beat 2: Queen …  Another one bites the dust

bpm for above clips here



Beat 3: Uptown Funk …  Mark Ronson

Lyrics may offend some.

Find the Uptown Funk bpm here.


BIG challenge 1:


Drummer: Ramon Sampson

Pick one beat and see if you match the exact bpm. If you don’t have drumsticks use pencils.

HINT: Count the beats and ask a friend to time you.

BIG challenge 2:

Record yourself drumming to your own natural beat for 10 seconds.

Listen to your recording and count the beats. Multiply by 6 and you have your bpm.

Do this 4 times.

Calculate your average bpm.

Then for each of the 4 trials calculate the % error.

bpm % error

Pro drummers do not like to be out by 1 beat or 1 bpm. They want to hit ZERO % error. I beat out per minute for a bpm = 84 would mean an error of approx 1%. 

Learn about the strangeness of drummers brains here.