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Re: Theory of Timbre Perception

I'm not a scientist and not trained in this so others will give you real answers. For my (electroacoustic composition) classes I work from the ideas closely related to ASA to help students develop multi-dimensional hierarchical listening abilities and habits.

The process begins with slowing down sounds without changing their spectral / frequency characteristics -- now not difficult to accomplish in software. I used to say the word "music" spread out over 20 - 30 seconds with high vocal resonance to pick off the harmonic gliss in the /i/>/u/ transition. The sound 'separated' (or in ASA the integrated became segregated). Bregman's book and others cover much of this in some detail.

From my reading, the book focuses more on the "what" happens than the "how", and I think your question is about theories of how. My personal model begins with the quantization of time (windows, multiple levels), and various kinds of spectral templates or masks which are applied. I try to convince myself that in teaching hearing, there is little I can do to change how the window is created and works, but it is possible to teach people new spectral templates. Sorry to be 'all art' on this.



At 6:24 PM +1000 8/6/07, Chris Share wrote:
As the term psychoacoustics has evolved into perception and cognition, I would place timbre on the 'cognition' side of this process, that is, it doesn't exist except as interpreted by the brain.

That's actually what I was interested in. For example, there are various theories of pitch perception (Place, Timing, Pattern). What I was asking is, are there any equivalent theories regarding timbre perception.

When you say "the 'cognition' side of this process", where does this begin?