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Re: Effect of duration on pitch perception

Ward R. Drennan asked:

Does anyone know of published data that shows the effect of tone duration
on the ability to discriminate pitch (mostly pure tones, but could be any
complex stimuli)? We're looking for some minimum duration required to
achieve maximal sensitivity to pitch.

There is a big difference between pure and complex tones, here. Pitch of the latter is discriminated much faster. For example, a pitch of a complex tone with a fundamental f0 = 100 Hz is perceived more than four times as fast as the pitch of a pure-tone of 100 Hz (Patterson et al., 1983). The probable reason is that cochlear and neural latencies decrease with frequency, which means that harmonics provide earlier periodicity information for the pitch detector than the fundamental.

[By the way, these results should have been the ultimate death for all place
and pattern theories of pitch, because these theories necessarily imply that
f0 pitch should be discriminated slower than pure-tone pitch, due to the
additional neural processing. Well, it's just one of the many examples in
hearing research, where progress has been impeded for decades by massive

Patterson, R.D., Peters, R.W., Milroy, R., 1983. Threshold duration for
melodic pitch. In: R. Klinke, W. Hartmann (Eds.), Hearing - Physiological
bases and Psychophysics, Springer-Verlag, Berlin, pp. 321-25.



Martin Braun
Neuroscience of Music
S-671 95 Klässbol
web site: http://w1.570.telia.com/~u57011259/index.htm