[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: Spectral first moment, nth msg

On Wed, 14 Jun 2000, Pierre Divenyi wrote: 
> >> (Divenyi` A psychophysicist would be extremely
> >> indebted to anyone coming out with a scale along which delta-first
> moments,
> >> or cepstral coefficients of a certain order, would be equally (or at
> >> least comparably) discriminable.
> >(McAdams` Ah but then we open up the can of worms about relations between
> >Fechnerian, Stevensian (and perhaps any number of other) scales!! Why
> >doesn't a scale derived from frequency jnds look like a mel scale and
> >neither look like the musical pitch scale?
> A good point!...
> Pierre Divenyi
Hello Pierre and List,

Re McAdams comment,

A major reason the mel scale (1940) doesn't look like the musical pitch scale is that it was uncontrolled for order-bias.

References to the long and the short of it:

Greenwood, D.D. (1997) The Mel Scale's disqualifying bias and a consistency of pitch-difference equisections in 1956 with equal cochlear distances and equal frequency ratios, Hearing Res. 103, 199-224.

Greenwood, D. D. (1997) "The Mel Scale's bias and equal pitch differences: Implications of an almost logarithmic cochlea and possibly subject-dependent criteria", in Proceedings of the 13th Annual Meeting of the International Society for Psychophysics, at Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan', pp. 85-90.

Abstract of first paper above:

In 1956, Stevens "commissioned" an experiment to equisect a pitch difference between two tones. Results appear to reveal a methodological flaw that would invalidate the Mel Scale (Stevens and Volkmann, 1940). Stevens sought to distinguish sensory continua, e.g. loudness and pitch, on various criteria. He expected that the pitch continuum would not exhibit "hysteresis"; i.e., that subjects dividing a pitch difference (Df) into equal-appearing parts would not set dividing frequencies higher when listening to notes in ascending order than in descending order. Seven subjects equisected a pitch difference, between tones of 400 and 7000 Hz, into equal-seeming parts by adjusting the frequencies of three intermediate tones. All seven exhibited hysteresis, contrary to expectation. This outcome bears on other issues: Years prior, Stevens suggested that equal pitch differences might correspond to equal cochlear distances, but not to equal frequency ratios nor to equal musical intervals (Stevens and Davis, 1938; Stevens and Volkmann, 1940). In 1960 (reported now), both the 1940 Mel scale and the equal-pitch differences of 1956 were compared to equal cochlear distances, using a frequency-position function that fitted Békésy's cochlear map (Greenwood, 1961; 1990). When ascending and descending settings were combined to contra-pose biases, equal pitch differences did coincide with equal distances - which the Mel Scale did not. Further, the biased ascending-order data coincided with the Mel scale, suggesting the Mel scale was similarly biased. Thus, the combined-order equal-pitch differences of 1956 - but not the Mel scale - are consistent with equal cochlear distances. But, since the map between 400 and 7000 Hz is nearly logarithmic, equal frequency ratios also approximate equal distances. Ironically, above 400 Hz, Békésy's map and Stevens' equal-distance hypothesis jointly imply that musical intervals will nearly agree with equal pitch differences, which Stevens thought he had disconfirmed. But, given Békésy's map, only near the cochlear apex will equal distances not approximate equal frequency ratios; and Pratt's (1928) bisections of Dfs greater than an octave indicated that equal pitch differences, on average, did agree with equal distances. However, they did so for only 2 of 4 subjects and coincided instead with equal frequency ratios for one musical subject. Historical distinctions suggest that between the parts of equisected Dfs subjective equivalence may be of two kinds - one linked to musical intervals, leading to equal frequency ratios; a second linked to "tone-height" and "distance", leading to deviations from equal frequency ratios near the apex, though not appreciably if equisected Dfs are less than an octave (or if perhaps subjects are musicians). Data of other kinds suggest that, if pure-tone pitch height were a function of place, the place could be the apical excitation-pattern edge, in any case not a maximum, which in neural data shifts and disappears with tone level.