Neuronal gamma-band synchronization shapes information flow during sensory and cognitive processing. A common view is that a stable and shared frequency over time is required for robust and functional synchronization. To the contrary, we found that non-stationary instantaneous frequency modulations were essential for synchronization. First, we recorded gamma rhythms in monkey visual area V1, and found that they synchronized by continuously modulating their frequency difference in a phase-dependent manner. The frequency modulation properties regulated both the phase-locking and the preferred phase-relation between gamma rhythms. Second, our experimental observations were in agreement with a biophysical model of gamma rhythms and were accurately predicted by the theory of weakly coupled oscillators revealing the underlying theoretical principles that govern gamma synchronization. Thus, synchronization through instantaneous frequency modulations represents a fundamental principle of gamma-band neural coordination that is likely generalizable to other brain rhythms.