Metric levels: beat level shown in middle with division levels above and multiple levels below.
In music and music theory, the beat is the basic unit of time, the pulse (regularly repeating event), of the mensural level (or beat level). The beat is often defined as the rhythm listeners would tap their toes to when listening to a piece of music, or the numbers a musician counts while performing, though in practice this may be technically incorrect (often the first multiple level). In popular use, beat can refer to a variety of related concepts including: pulse, tempo, meter, specific rhythms, and groove.
Rhythm in music is characterized by a repeating sequence of stressed and unstressed beats (often called "strong" and "weak") and divided into bars organized by time signature and tempo indications.
Metric levels faster than the beat level are division levels, and slower levels are multiple levels. Beat has always been an important part of music. Some music genres such as disco will in general de-emphasize the beat, while other such as funk emphasize the beat to accompany dance.