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Re: AUDITORY Digest - 9 May 2002 to 10 May 2002 (#2002-72)

<SNIP from below > This is just a conjecture; there's nothing rigorous
about it.

Actually this is very good conjecture. It corresponds exactly to what is
described as "physiognomic perception" in:

Davies, John Booth. 1978. The Psychology of Music. Stanford University


Dailey, Audrey, R. 1995. Creativity, Primary Process Thinking,
Synesthesia, and Physiognomic Perception. Unpublished doctoral
dissertation. University of Maine.

Relationships between vertical height for pitch, brightness for spectra,
and image shape for sonic morphology are also described here.


> Date:    Fri, 10 May 2002 20:18:50 -0500
> From:    beauchamp james w <j-beauch@UX1.CSO.UIUC.EDU>
> Subject: Re: brightness
> Chen-Gia Tsai wrote:
> > I am interested in analogues between visual and auditory processing.
> >
> > We describe sounds rich in high-frequency harmonics "bright". This adjective
> > is apparently universal. Why do we use such a visual concept to describe an
> > auditory feature?
> (snip)
> Here's an idea. For whatever reasons, we seem to associate high
> frequencies with physical height, perhaps because high frequencies
> travel in straight lines and they tend to transmit at some height
> whereas low frequencies can creep and crawl over terrain. Or maybe
> because a lot of birds make high pitches but big animals that hug
> the ground make low pitches. Now, the sun is also high and very
> bright, and we look up to see the sun. So we look up to see the
> sun and we point our ears up to hear high frequencies, and thus
> we may associate height with increased brightness, and thus high
> frequencies with increased brightness. If there are a lot of
> strong high frequencies in a sound, we will hear "higher" and
> thus it will sound brighter.
> This is just a conjecture; there's nothing rigorous about it.
> Several researchers have found the spectral centroid, which
> correlates strongly with "brightness" or "sharpness" verbal
> attributes, to be an important, perhaps the most important,
> single characteristic for distinguishing amongst sound spectra.
> See for example,
> von Bismark, G. (1974). "Sharpness as an attribute of the timbre
> of steady sounds", Acustica, 30(3), pp. 159-172.
> Jim Beauchamp
> University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
> ------------------------------
> End of AUDITORY Digest - 9 May 2002 to 10 May 2002 (#2002-72)
> *************************************************************

Andrew D Lyons | Time Space Texture | http://www.tstex.com