Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Fine Arts


Music Performance

First Advisor

Prof. James Campbell


This study reviews and compares percussion literature pertaining to polyrhythms and scientific literature pertaining to bimanual coordination. There exists a gap in the pedagogical approach to polyrhythms, and there is much disagreement between common instructional methods, especially when considered against the findings of several bimanual coordination studies. The purpose of this study is to reveal insight to the percussion community that the learning of polyrhythms is facilitated by the brain in novel ways, and the uniqueness of this learning process requires a rethinking of the current pedagogical approach. Percussion articles, method books, popular literature, and music scores are surveyed alongside primarily neuroscience research on bimanual coordination regarding the nervous system, perception, feedback, and error. The results show that limb independence as a concept must be divorced from polyrhythmic coordination, and tools used in the learning process must promote an internalization of the polyrhythm as a composite coordination pattern. The implications of this study are that a unique curricular approach is necessary for polyrhythmic learning, and, though antithetical to common practice methods, a brute-force approach may be optimal for idiosyncratic coordination patterns in the percussion musical literature.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)