Masking, as is well known, enables an organism to act immediately and in an appropriate way to changes of the environment, integrating with internally produced rhythmicity. It now appears that masking can be used to cover a far wider range of problems than was originally intended. To separate masking effects from the effects due to an internal oscillator, several techniques have been used. Such protocols, however, like the constant routine protocol, often replace one form of masking by another. The situation becomes even more complex when one realizes that the output of an internal oscillator modifies the input. The question might be asked whether it is possible to study the properties of the internal oscillator in vivo at all. This article attempts to produce a framework for future discussions.