Maintain the correct tempo and rhythm of music; also, mark the rhythm by foot-tapping, hand movements, or the like. For example, The children love to keep time by clapping their hands. This usage dates from the late 1500s and is occasionally put figuratively, as Ben Jonson did in Cynthia's Revels (1699): “Slow, slow, fresh fount, keep time with my salt tears.”
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.
How to use keep time in a sentence
You can cycle fast or slow, as long as you keep time to the beat.
And over the course of all 10 books, Sjöwall and Wahlöö keep time as close to then-current events.
She looked like a dance-hall hostess from one of those joints where everything goes so long as you keep time to the music.
Pierre pulled harder in his frenzy, and "number two" could not keep time with his wild stroke.The Works of Guy de Maupassant, Volume VIII. | Guy de Maupassant
The old gentleman hummed a song under his breath and slapped his reins against the flanks of the plodding horse to keep time.The Landloper | Holman Day