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Re: effect of phase on pitch

Perceptual effects of phase on pitch or timbre could be epiphenomena of a
mechanism needed for sound localization. We need some form of phase-locking
in the auditory nerve in order to be able to compare the signals from the
two ears. In natural environments the ear receives no phase information
about the sound source, so pitch and timbre cannot normally be based on
temporal information, but the sensitivity to temporal differences between
the two ears may influence pitch or timbre whenever headphones are used or
when phones are inserted into animals' ear canals.

I agree, therefore, with Richard Parncutt's evaluation of the lack of
relevance of phase information for pitch and timbre, but I prefer an
epiphenomenal rather than a phylogenetic explanation for any residual
effects. I am looking askance now at Peter Cariani, with whom I have had
this argument before.


Bert Schouten   (M.E.H.)
Research Institute for Language and Speech (OTS)
Utrecht University
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