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PSYC 212 (49)

Frequency and Pitch Notes

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McGill University
PSYC 212
Evan Balaban

Frequency and Pitch Pitch: - perception of how low/high a sound is - same as frequency for pure tones Complex Harmonic Tones + Noise - when 2+ frequencies make up the sound, pitch relationship becomes complicated - there is a mathematical relationship between pitches and ratios (dating back to Pythagoras + Ancient China) Limits of Sound Detection - infrasonic (<20 Hz) felt, not heard - ultrasonic (>20,000 Hz) Difference Thresholds - for <1000 Hz, it’s less than 3 Hz - for >1000 Hz, difference thresholds increase Pitch Perception - metathetic (difficult to quantify) - intensity of a tone can affect its pitch when the frequency is constant Steven’s Rule - a high pitch (>2000 Hz) will be perceived to be getting higher if its loudness is in- creased - a low pitch (<2000 Hz) will be perceived to be going lower if its loudness is increased Mel Scale of Pitch - gives a ratio relationship between two pitch sensations - 1000 mels = 1000 Hz - 500 mels = 400 Hz - 2000 mels = 3000 Hz - a non-linear relationship between pitch and frequency for pure tones Complex Tones Fundamental tone: first tone in a series Harmonic: successive components in a series Complex harmonic tone: an orderly set of harmonic components that have a precise re- lationship to each other, perceived as a single pitch - if fundamental tone is removed, you still perceive the fundamental pitch, but with a dif- ferent timbre Coding Complex Harmonic Sounds - cochlear neurons synch (phase lock) to the missing fundamental frequency - neurons fire @ the fundamental frequency - temporal coding (frequency), not spectral coding (place) used for pitch Space Perception - acoustic signal gives no physical information on spatial origin - brain uses 2 ears to localize sound - time and intensity differences are used to determine location diotich stimulation: - sound identical @ 2 ears - from front or behind head - midsagittal dicotich stimulation: - all other locations Interaural Intensity Differences (IID’s) - sound reaching farthest ear has lower intensity than nearest ear - head shadow effect: head reflect incoming sounds - greater
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