John R. Pierce
Dept. of Music, Stanford Univ., Stanford, CA 94305
Preparing remarks on Fletcher's work on pitch changed drastically. My view
of the development of our present understanding. In 1940 Jan Schouten showed
that canceling out of the fundamental of a pitched tone did not change pitch.
Schouten called the surviving pitch residue pitch. This inspired a spate of
papers by people ignorant of earlier work. I had known Fletcher [Phys. Rev.
23(3), 427--437 (1924)] had shown that filtering out the fundamental and lower
harmonics of a variety of musical sounds did not change the pitch, and, through
synthetic sounds, that mere equal frequency spacing of tones did not give a
pitch equal to the spacing. Thus, the pitch heard was evoked by harmonic
partials. Unhappily, Fletcher proposed an unsound explanation in terms of
production of the fundamental in the ear by nonlinearities. In a latter report,