In physics, the pulsation resulting from a combination of two waves of slightly different frequency. Beat frequency is the difference between the frequencies of the combining waves. When the interfering frequencies are in the audible range, the beats are heard as alternating soft and loud pulses. The human ear can detect beats with frequencies up to 10 hertz, or 10 beats per second. Piano tuners listen for beats when comparing the pitch of a tuning fork to that of a vibrating string; when no beats are heard, the fork and string are at the same frequency. Ultrasonic or inaudible frequencies can be superimposed to produce audible beats, allowing the detection of vocal sounds produced by bats or dolphins.

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American social and literary movement of the 1950s and '60s. It is associated with artists' communities in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York. Its adherents expressed alienation from conventional society and advocated personal release and illumination through heightened sensory awareness and altered states of consciousness. Beat poets, including Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso (1930–2001), and Gary Snyder, sought to liberate poetry from academic refinement, creating verse that was vernacular, sometimes sprinkled with obscenities, but often powerful and moving. Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs developed an unstructured, spontaneous, sometimes hallucinatory approach to prose writing that was designed to convey the immediacy of experience. The Beat movement had faded by circa 1970, though its influence continued to be felt decades later.

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Beat may refer to:


  • Beat (music), a pulse of sound that marks the metre or rhythm of a piece of music

  • Beatmatching, the aligning of the tempos of the songs by DJs
  • Beat music, a popular name in the 50's & 60's for what later became known as pop and rock, thus bands would be referred to as beat groups or beat combos
  • Beat (band), a Finnish band.
  • The Beat (band), a UK ska band of the early 1980s known in the US as The English Beat
  • The Beat (US), also known as The Paul Collins Beat, an American power pop group from the late '70s
  • Beat (King Crimson album), an album by progressive rock group King Crimson
  • Beat (Kaela Kimura song), a single released by Kaela Kimura in 2005
  • Beat, an album by New Zealand alternative musician Chris Knox
  • Beat, a 1983 album by the Danish band TV-2
  • Beat magazine, Melbourne's biggest cab-audited street press.
  • The Beats (record label), a defunct record label, subsidiary of Warner Music Group and spearheaded by Mike Skinner
  • B.E.A.T., a song by Justice (French band) on their album D.A.N.C.E.

Literature, theatre and film

  • Beat (film), a 'bit' is also known (particularly in the US) as a beat, referring to the smallest unit of dramatic action in a play.
  • Beat (2000 film), a film about writer William Seward Burroughs, directed by Gary Walkow with Courtney Love and Kiefer Sutherland
  • Directorial beat, an exchange of behavior between characters in a screenplay, usually taking the form of action-reaction.
  • Meter (poetry), the linguistic sound patterns of verse
  • Beat generation, writers of beat poetry and other beat literature
  • In film and screenwriting, a beat refers to a pause in an actor's dialogue


  • Beat (acoustics), the oscillation between zero intensity and full intensity that occurs when two frequencies (which are not harmonically related) are added together, caused by alternating constructive and destructive interference of the pressure waves

Areas of territory

A "beaten path" is a path made by the repeated treadings of feet. Thus:

  • Beat, the territory and time that a police officer patrols
  • Beat reporting, a subject of coverage by a journalist, e.g., "Her beat is politics."
  • Gay beat, an area frequented by gay men for the purpose of casual sex
  • Forest beat, a divisional subunit used for administering forests in India, see Forest range


  • A "beat", in Scotland, is related to the above meaning of "beaten path" and refers to a route taken by deer stalkers (as deep hunters are called in that region)
  • "Beating for game" in hunting means to systematically attack vegetation to drive out of cover whatever animals or birds that the hunters are hunting

Video Games


  • Beat (name), a common male given name in the German-speaking part of Switzerland
  • .beat, the unit of the Swatch Internet Time
  • Sailing upwind or beating, sailing a sailboat against the wind direction.
  • Beat (soda), a brand of cola produced in Mexico by Coca-Cola
  • Chevrolet Beat, a subcompact automobile produced by General Motors
  • Honda Beat, an automobile produced by Honda Motor Co.
  • Beat may be used as slang to refer to someone or something that is otherwise considered boring or uneventful, or to refer to someone or something as uncool, or bad. Common in the Philadelphia area.
  • Beat may also be used as slang to refer to a marijuana smoking bowl that is ashed or is empty.

See also

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