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Re: Perception of sequential tones as simultaneous tones & Bach

With little to support me ... I understand Philip Dorrell's
hypothesis, but to my understanding, hearing "chords" (integration of
vertical sonorities) is (largely) cultural. The example of the Bach
Prelude in C Major from the Well-Tempered Clavier Book I springs to

The idea that two sequential tones would be perceived as simultaneous
opens up the question of segmentation of auditory streams. If one can
perceive tones 1 and 2 as simultaneous, why not tones 2 & 3, and 3 &
4 ... since in the Bach, with only one exception, only one tone at a
time is sounded, the perception of which notes to 'hear' as
simultaneous, may be (more) a matter of learning and culture than
physiology / neurology.

( http://www.bachcentral.com/WTCBkI/Prelude1.mid )
( http://www.kunstderfuge.com/me/bach/wtk/846_0.mid )

Best Kevin

This follows into / leads from 'compound melodies' (and aspects of critical bandwidth), and, a previous discussion about segmentation of speech (phonemes / vowels / consonants).


Date:    Sat, 25 Jun 2005 04:30:25 -0500
From:    Emilio Renard <renard_es@xxxxxxxxx>
Subject: Perception of sequential tones as simultaneous tones.

Dear all:


I would like know if there is some studies about the perception of
sequentials tones as simultaneous tones.

Sincerely, Emilio.


Date:    Sun, 26 Jun 2005 10:36:09 +1200
From:    Philip Dorrell <aud@xxxxxxxx>
Subject: Re: Perception of sequential tones as simultaneous tones.

This may be stating the obvious, but if the notes from a chord are
played sequentially, and not necessarily very rapidly, then they
will be heard "as a chord". So, for example, if you play C, E and G
sequentially, you will perceive the chord C major (=CEG). This implies
that the response of the neurons in the cortical map (or maps) that
respond to chords must be somewhat independent of whether the different
tones involved are simultaneous or sequential (and at least some of the
neurons involved must have a response function where the neuron
responding to a particular tone remains active after that tone has
finished). In which case perception of the chord is not a very good
criterion for determining perception of simultaneity. (My guess is that
such a "chord-perception" cortical map actually exists to perceive
relationships between different pitch values within a single speech
melody, and because of how it operates, it just happens to be able to
respond to relationships between simultaneous tones as well.)

Philip Dorrell.