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Re: How to classify/categorize sounds


In the Hearing Communication Laboratory at Indiana University, we have run
a series of studies on precisely the types of sounds you are describing
(which we call environmental sounds).  One study involved similarity
ratings of a large inventory of environmental sounds (Gygi, B., Kidd, G.
R., & Watson, C. S. (2000).  Identification and similarity judgments of
environmental sounds.  J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 107, Pt. 2, 2820.) which were
then analyzed using MDS.

The first dimension of the 2-D MDS solution corresponded quite well
(multiple r = 0.81) with spectrally-based measures such as Spectral SD,
Pitch Salience, and Spectral Centroid Velocity.

The second dimension had weaker but significant correlations with measures
of rhythmicity and continuity such as the number of peaks and % of
silence, as well as the number of peaks in the autocorrelation function
(which would reflect periodicity).  There were also significant
correlations with measures indicating the presence of high frequency
energy, such as the Spectral Mean. A multiple regression solution on these
variables yielded r = 0.69.

One hypothesis is that the second dimension reflects something of the
event generating the sound.  Impact sounds (basketballs, claps), which
clustered on the high end of dimension 2, tend to be less continuous and
have more high transients than water-based sounds (waves, toilets), which
clustered on the lower end.

Of course, these results were found with humans.  It is hard to say
whether other animals would respond to the same dimensions, although one
would hope we are not THAT different from them.

If you would like any more information feel free to contact me.

Brian Gygi
Indiana University

Tue, 20 Mar 2001, Pawel Kusmierek wrote:

> I run animal experiments which involve sound recognition
> and/ordiscrimination.  Many various sound stimuli are used (e.g.,
> tones, instruments, animal sounds (including birds), machines,
> artficial sounds, knocks, bells etc.).  Is it possible to describe
> quantitatively such various sounds (along multiple dimensions, I
> suppose) in order to find quantitative indices of dfference, either in
> multidimensional space, or along a single dimension?
> Any help would be greatly appreciated.
> Pawel Kusmierek
> *************************************
> Pawel Kusmierek
> Department of Neurophysiology
> Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology
> 3, Pasteur St., 02-093 Warsaw, Poland
> tel. (48-22) 659 85 71 ex 379
> fax  (48-22) 822 53 42
> E-mail pq@nencki.gov.pl
> Or:
> kusmierek@yahoo.com
> kusmierek@poczta.arena.pl
> ICQ 11740175