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Re: Height and pitch
Roffler and Butler study built on the much earlier findings of Pratt who
showed as early as 1930 that there appeared to be an orderly dependence
of source elevation on pure tone frequency. Given what we now know
about the role of the pinna in elevation perception, it is most likely
the case that the spectral content of the stimuli (i.e. frequency) is the
more germane variable in those reports rather than the subjective
variable 'pitch'. But as far as I know, no one has done an
experiment like those of Pratt or Roffler and Butler using stimuli of the
same 'pitch' but different spectral content (i.e. missing fundamental
sounds). Needless to say, it would be much more difficult to
account for sound localization in elevation if 'pitch' were the
But it still remains an interesting finding that, although this 'pitch'
elevation phenomenon can be accounted for by various sound localization
models (models by Butler, Blauert, and Middlebrooks), the subjective
attribute of pitch is mapped in spatial coordinates.
On a lighter note...Given these findings, when Bekesy (1960) stated that
"Theories of hearing are little more than theories of pitch,"
he may just as well have said that theories of hearing are little more
than theories of sound localization.
Pratt, C. C.
(1930)The spatial character
of high and low tones. J.
At 08:53 AM 2/18/2003 +0100, pq wrote:
Roffler and Butler 1968 JASA 43(6):
This paper shows that association of pitch and elevation is quite
robust. More importantly, 4 and 5 yr. old children showed similar
effect. The authors claim that the children "showed no
acquitance with the words high and low as associated with the frequency
of the tonal stimuli".
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
Daniel J. Tollin, Ph.D.
290 Medical Sciences
Madison, WI 53706