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Bite-induced pitch shift?

Dear List:

In the June 9 issue of  Electronic Design <www.elecdesign.com>
analog electronics guru Bob Pease mentions that when he bites down
hard "on some tough nuts or a popcorn cake, the pitch seems to
dip momentarily by about half a note".

Has anyone heard of a phenomenon like this?  (The effect doesn't
seem to work for me, at least not when biting down on a plastic
toothbrush handle.)  He wonders what can cause this.  If this is
truly a pitch shift and not a resonance envelope (formant) shift
due to distorting the ear canal, could it be deforming the cochlea
such that the stiffness of the basilar membrane is changed?
Seems pretty extreme!  Any ideas?

Robert Masta

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