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Re: Theory of Timbre Perception
I'd say that any discussion of timbre has to start with the following
Grey, J.M. (1977). Multidimensional perceptual scaling of musical
timbres. Journal of Acoustical Society of America, 61, 1270-1277.
Grey, J.M., & Moorer, J.A. (1977). Perceptual evaluations of
synthesized musical instrument tones. Journal of Acoustical Society
of America, 62, 454-462.
Grey, J.M., & Gordon, J.W. (1978). Perceptual effects of spectral
modifications on musical timbres. Journal of Acoustical Society of
Further work has been done, but the three dimensions laid out in
these articles (spectral centroid, temporal envelope, and spectral
flux) seem to capture Western orchestral instruments quite well
(assuming of course, that they are all playing the same note at the
same loudness). The area is wide open, however, with most of the
work focusing on manipulating and synthesizing sounds within the
space that Grey and colleagues laid out. The "theory" of timbre
perception, it seems to me, has yet to be written. Those interested
in the identification of environmental sounds are extremely
interested in this question, but the field is too new to have
produced many definitive results. How, for example, does the timbre
of a dog barking compare with the timbre of a rainstorm or the timbre
of a flute? Are they all encoded as specific instances? Presumably
not. So what, then, is the underlying abstract space that allows
each to be identified? Presumably such a space would explain the
confusions that occur as well (frying bacon and a running faucet is
one of my favorite examples).
Frederick (Erick) Gallun
VA RR&D National Center of Rehabilitative Auditory Research
1. Theory of Timbre Perception (2)
Date: Mon, 6 Aug 2007 13:15:43 +1000
From: Chris Share <cshare01@xxxxxxxxx>
Subject: Theory of Timbre Perception
I'm looking for information related to the mechanism of timbre
perception in human listeners. I realise that timbre perception relies
on the perception of loudness and pitch, however I'm having trouble
finding anything that specifically addresses the theory of timbre
perception (am I Googling in the wrong places?). I'm not interested in
articles on how listeners classify timbre.
Any suggestions would be appreciated.