Culture and Time

  • Brigid M. CostelloEmail author
Part of the Springer Series on Cultural Computing book series (SSCC)


Our ability to focus on and perceive rhythmic patterns, whether they involve aural, visual, tactile, kinaesthetic or any of our other senses, is a basic human skill that transcends culture and history. We all have a common ability to attend to rhythm yet our culture and its historical context has an impact on which rhythmic patterns we can perceive and produce with ease. The rhythmic traditions of the musical culture we are born into give us an internalised ruleset that makes it easy for us to hear any rhythm from our own musical culture, to play or dance along with it and to enjoy its emotional nuances. Ethnographic research suggests that these cultural rhythmic rulesets are not just musical. From birth, we become acclimatised to all kinds of rules and meanings in relation to rhythm, from the rhythms of walking down the street to the rhythms of social interaction. Developing an understanding of the impacts of cultural context on rhythmic experience is important for designers of interactive applications because of its potential impact on the end user behaviour. This impact applies not only for those applications aimed at a specific cultural context but also those aimed at the many different cultures within a global audience. An interview with ethnomusicologist Manolete Mora sets the scene for this exploration of the impact that culture and time has on rhythmic experience. As a researcher of musical cultures across South East Asia, China and Africa, Manolete Mora’s interview introduces us to the three themes of this chapter: the impact of culture on perceptions of time; the many different cultural practices of listening and performing; and the socio-cultural uses of synchronicity.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of the Arts and MediaThe University of New South WalesSydneyAustralia

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