ASA 129th Meeting - Washington, DC - 1995 May 30 .. Jun 06

4pPP9. Harvey Fletcher and musical acoustics.

William J. Strong

Irvin G. Bassett

Dept. of Phys. and Astron., Brigham Young Univ., Provo, UT 84602

William M. Hartmann

Michigan State Univ., East Lansing, MI 48824

Although the bulk of his work was concerned with various aspects of speech and hearing in communication, Harvey Fletcher had a longtime interest in musical acoustics. This interest is evidenced in his papers on perceptual aspects of musical tones, which stressed the complex interdependences of the percepts of loudness, pitch, and timbre on the physical parameters of intensity, frequency, and spectrum. However, his active involvement in musical acoustics research came to fruition only after he was released from other research, administrative, and teaching responsibilities. In conjunction with others, he explored perceptual aspects of piano, organ, violin, and percussion tones. His approach was that of analysis of natural tones, followed by synthesis of these tones based on the analysis results. Real and synthetic tones were presented to listeners who were asked to judge the tones as being real or synthetic. When listeners were unable to distinguish between the two, the synthetic tones were considered to contain all of the essential ingredients of the real tones. Fletcher's papers in which this work was described will be reviewed and samples of his real and synthetic tones will be presented.