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Re: Pitching in

Punita Singh writes on Richard Parncutt's posting:

> > ............Richard's tutorial continued .........
> > The mel scale and its relatives listed above apply only to pure
> > tones, and not (or at least not directly) to music or speech. For
> > complex tones, it is generally safe to assume that pitch is
> > proportional to the logarithm of frequency. This is true over a wider
> > range of frequencies for complex tones than for pure tones.
>     To use the most popular sentence in human (mis)communication
> today:   Whatcha talkin' 'bout Richard ????

>                    In any case, harmonics are not equally spaced on a
> log-frequency scale so I'm not sure which logarithm of which frequency
> is being referred to.in the "tutorial".

I think Punita misread Richard...he was talking about relationships
between different pitches, not relationships between partials in a
single complex tone.  The mel scale indeed refers to a psychological
representation of pitch distance (i.e. it ain't linear, to use the most
popular phrase in music research today).

Furthermore, I think Richard is saying/postulating that the mel scale
may have been a psychologically real phenomena for sine-tone stimuli,
but would not hold water for pitches instantiated by complex tones.  Has
anybody of recent ilk tried to defend the mel scale?

Greg Sandell

Gregory J. Sandell  (sandell@epunix.sussex.ac.uk)
Experimental Psychology, University of Sussex
Brighton BN1 9QG England  +44-273-678058