Spontaneously beating embryonic chick heart cell aggregates were stimulated with current pulses delivered either as periodic trains, or at a fixed delay after each action potential. Following stimulation at fixed rates faster than the intrinsic rate, there was a transient slowing of the spontaneous rhythm. This response, called overdrive suppression, can lead to a complex evolution of rhythms. During periodic stimulation there is a continuum of dropped beat patterns, and during fixed delay stimulation bursting activity appears. This study provides a conceptual basis for understanding analogous rhythms in the intact heart.