ASA 125th Meeting Ottawa 1993 May

5aMU3. Similarity judgments of fifth-spaced tones and dyads thereof.

Richard Parncutt

Faculty of Music, McGill Univ., 555 Sherbrooke St. W., Montreal, PQ H3A 1E3, Canada

A fifth-spaced tone (FST) is a complex tone whose partials are equally spaced in log frequency at intervals of a musical fifth (seven semitones, frequency ratio ~2:3) across a broad frequency band (like Shephard tones, but with fifths instead of octaves). The perception of single FSTs (monads), and dyads of FSTs spanning the intervals M2 (two semitones, frequency ratio ~8:9) and m3 (three semitones, ~5:6), was investigated by asking ten musicians and ten nonmusicians to rate the similarity of all pairwise combinations of monad, M2 dyad, and m3 dyad. Sequential intervals ranged from 0 to 6 semitones (i.e., all possible intervals in the chromatic scale). Results were compared with predictions according to the theories of virtual pitch [Terhardt et al., J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 71, 679--688 (1982)] and pitch commonality [R. Parncutt, Harmony: A Psychoacoustical Approach (Springer-Verlag, New York, 1989)]. The salience of virtual pitches by comparison to spectral pitches in monads and dyads of FSTs was found to be consistently lower than predicted by the models. [Work supported by NSERC Canada.]