While researching the work that i wanted to do I had to research work in a similar filed. Beat detection and audio analysis is something that is used quite a lot today especially in the world of VJ’ing. However, a lot of these (such as shown below by Tony Broyez) focus on using music to control patterns, and they are more focused on the frequency of sounds rather than the beat.
Another example shows a version of the same project projected on a larger scale.
There is an article on Airtight Interactive that has a section about audio analysis. It gives a lot of insight into beat detection and the use of threshold to register the pulse of the music. This was helpful when I was trying to create my own beat tracking patch in max, however, as stated in the article it is very hard to get reliable beat detection, which is why i chose to use the qm.btrack instead. The article can be found here.
This type of beat detection can be used in other contexts as well. LightJams have made it possible to create all sorts of lights with music. A great use that they have documented is an LED light up dance floor that reacts to the music being played.
Having visuals that react to music is a great way to bring the senses together. Having visuals react to the music that you can hear and in some situations feel will give a full sensory emergence.