The ability to integrate our perceptions across sensory modalities and across time, to execute and coordinate movements, and to adapt to a changing environment rests on temporal processing. Timing is essential for basic daily tasks, such as walking, social interaction, speech and language comprehension, and attention. Impaired temporal processing may contribute to various disorders, from attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and schizophrenia to Parkinson's disease and dementia. The foundational importance of timing ability has yet to be fully understood; and popular tasks used to investigate behavioral timing ability, such as sensorimotor synchronization (SMS), engage a variety of processes in addition to the neural processing of time. The present study utilizes SMS in conjunction with a separate passive listening task that manipulates temporal expectancy while recording electroencephalographic data. Participants display a larger N1-P2 evoked potential complex to unexpected beats relative to temporally predictable beats, a differential we call the timing response index (TRI). The TRI correlates with performance on the SMS task: better synchronizers show a larger brain response to unexpected beats. The TRI, derived from the perceptually driven N1-P2 complex, disentangles the perceptual and motor components inherent in SMS and thus may serve as a neural marker of a more general temporal processing.