As in,

matter (a physical object)

that is vibrating

= a pitch

And secondly If we calculate bpm with a “tick” which is just indefinite pitched percussion, how does an indefinite pitched beat compare to a definite pitched beat. I.e, if you hear the tick of a metronome and a C note on a guitar, is the speed the metronome beat is vibrating at just way slower than the speed the guitar string is vibrating?

Some quotes from posts on the topic:

You see, rhythm and pitch are exactly the same thing, only at very different speeds. https://dantepfer.com/blog/?p=277

Every pitch can be interpreted as a (very fast) rhythm, but the only rhythms that can be seen as pitches are continuous even pulses. https://www.reddit.com/r/musictheory/comments/1tg8mm/the_connection_between_pitch_and_rhythm/

A book on the topic:

here’s a source with tons of examples of the type of answers I’m looking for… https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.234339


2 Answers 2


You are basically correct. The slowest beat that the human ear would register as a tone is about 20 Hz or 1200 beats per minute. $\rm C_1$ one of the lowest notes on the piano is about 33 Hz, or 1980 bpm.

If you sped up the metronome into this range and higher, you would begin to perceive it as a tone.

What's interesting is if you ever watch a video of a male lion's roar, the frequency is so low that it registers more like the clicking of a metronome than a real tone.

  • $\begingroup$ That’s exactly what I’m pondering! I noticed in this video youtu.be/qNf9nzvnd1k?si=rJkKkn-JvwgmJBcN, that at 20hz you sort of hear a fast metronome as you described. And I’m assuming an indefinite pitch beat is also a note with harmonics, just that we can’t perceive them. $\endgroup$
    – Lecifer
    Oct 30, 2023 at 17:00

There is no really a definite distinction between a rythm and a pitch.

E.g people used to working with roatating/reciprocating machines percieve a single frequency continuum between e.g. 1Hz (60bpm) and the highest tone a particular machine emits that may be well into kHz range.

Human ears hear down to 20-ish Hz, but the human brain extrapolates pretty well both the higher, audible harmonics of lower tones - and - the beat.

What is a definite pitch beat? An amplitude modulation .

Human ears, being a non-linear system, and the human brain even more so, are able to "demodulate" the AM sound so one is able to hear the beat either as a second, much lower tone, a tremolo-like effect, or a genuine beat.


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