A ritmus azonos vagy hasonló folyamatok, történések, jelenségek időbeli rendszere; szabályos váltakozása, ismétlődése.

A ritmus határozza meg a hangok és hangsúlyok időbeli helyét és relatív időtartamát a zenében (►idő).
A hosszabb-rövidebb hangértékek csoportosítása és a hangsúlyok helye eredményezi a ritmus változatos formáit.
A ritmus egységei az ütemek (metrum), melyek beosztása nem feltétlenül azonos a zene ritmusával (poliritmika, szinkópa).
A zenei ritmus lehet kötött vagy kötetlen (szabad).
Sebessége a tempó.

Bounce Metronome (Clips of Rhythms)►

Verdi, a szívritmus-szabályozó: az EKG is kimutatja a zene hatását►


Rhythm, of course, is another quality of music rooted in math, and one that echoes the natural rhythms of the body. The normal resting human heartbeat ranges from 60 to 80 beats per minute for adults. It’s not hard to find works that are in sync with this typical heart rate. In fact, examples abound, such as Schubert’s Trio in E-flat Major or Mozart’s G minor Quin- tet, introduction to the fourth movement. The pulse of these works feels natural to us. Faster and slower meters suggest either feverish activity or remarkable slowness. Bobby McFerrin’s own music making is intimately connected to his body. He strikes his chest, turning it into a percussion instrument. His great vocal range allows him to become a virtual one-man orchestra, evok- ing the sounds of various instruments, when he sings. McFerrin finds mu- sic in the body. He observes that we not only have the natural rhythms of heart rate and breathing, but that we have a rhythm to our gait, and we even brush our teeth in a particular rhythm. I watched McFerrin in the stu- dio as he improvised a piece he aptly named “Walking Pretty Slow”; the on- ly way one could move to that piece is by walking slowly.¹⁶ My father wrote about the connection between our body rhythms and music more than a half century ago. He cited musical examples showing how certain works follow the built-in “clocks” of our bodies—heart rate and respiration, walking, running. For example, the average walking step, especially when organized as a march, is 120 steps to the minute. “Stars and Stripes Forever” is traditionally played at that rate. Often Brahms’s Symphony no. 1, finale is as well. He cited Beethoven’s Symphony no. 9, main theme, finale played at 112 as suggesting a comfortable walking rate. And most marches are set to that tempo. Keep in mind that if the tempo is set to 120, the basic pulse is actually given by the first and third beats. So 120 becomes 60. And the normal resting human heart rate is 60 to 80 beats per minute (bpm). Andante is a fast walk of 76 to 108 bpm. A fast march might be set at 124 bpm. A musical tempo of lento or largo (slow) is 40 to 60 bpm. Cellist Michael Fitzpatrick also thinks the great composers were tapped in to the natural pulse rates of the way our blood flows, the way our hearts beat. When you listen to their music, he says, “it has a very specific effect on the body and can calm the mind, relax the body, and free the emo- tions.”¹⁷ And at the frontiers of today’s science, researchers have discov- ered evidence for what many musicians have instinctively felt for centuries.

A ritmus ábrázolásának újszerű módja!
In standard notation, rhythm is indicated on a musical bar line. But there are other ways to visualize rhythm that can be more intuitive. John Varney describes the ‘wheel method’ of tracing rhythm and uses it to take us on a musical journey around the world.