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Re: effects of musical experience on pitch perception?

At 4:33 PM -0400 7/15/06, Fred Herzfeld wrote:
...The piano, the violin and drums all have different timbers and these can depend on:

(a) the number of harmonics
(b) the phase of each harmonic relative to a specific harmonic
(c) the intensity of each of the harmonics.

It is thus obvious that timber must be measured along at least the three dimensions I gave above.

Fred, I think you're mixing metaphors here; mixing signal types anyway. There's a big difference between an actual instrument note and a "composite tone", a periodic waveform that can be described by a Fourier series. It is well documented that a large part of an instrument's character, which I believe falls under the term 'timbre', comes from the attack transients.

One could say therefore that there are other important dimensions, consistent with your "at least" statement. But I would still argue that it is misleading to say the that timbre "must be measured" along those dimensions from Fourier analysis, since many sounds that have a timbre do not have any sensible decomposition into harmonics; percussion especially.

Still, your approach should be fine for "composite tones" that are periodic.