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Re: sensory consonance /dissonance ‚ musical consonance / dissonance
Dear Kevin and List,
I believe it's important to make the distinction between
psychoacoustic dissonance (sometimes called sensory dissonance) and
musical dissonance, because I think that auditory scene analysis
operates differently in the two cases.
For example, let's start with a musically dissonant pair of concurrent
sine-wave tones, more than a critical band apart. When these tones
(as musical notes) are captured into separate melodic streams, the
musical sense of dissonance disappears. Since they are sine wave
tones, where there are no harmonics to beat with one another and
create roughness, the disappearance of dissonance has nothing to do
On the other sound, when the two concurrent notes are complex tones,
and there is a perceived roughness (psychoacoustic dissonance) due to
interfering harmonics, I don't think that capturing them into
different melodic streams will eliminate the roughness, although it
may distract the listener from the dissonance and make it acceptable.
Furthermore the roughness may be perceptually disassociated from the
tones that give rise to it. Yet if one listens for the roughness one
can still hear it. Psychoacoustic roughness can't be destroyed by
perceptual decomposition of the simultaneity, in the way that musical
dissonance can be.
Let me caution you that what I am saying is based on informal
observations, not on lab data. So it's an informed opinion, not a
Albert S. Bregman, Emeritus Professor
Psychology Department, McGill University
1205 Docteur Penfield Avenue
Montreal, QC, Canada H3A 1B1.
Tel: (514) 398-6103
Fax: (514) 398-4896
On 8/17/07, Kevin Austin <kevin.austin@xxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> One term, two meanings. It seems that sensory consonance / dissonance
> is a psychoacoustic term (mapped either to perception, cognition or
> both), while musical dissonance (western) can be seen by looking at a
> score with the correct cultural optics (to make reference to the
> cross-modal referents).
> figured out ...
> 5 - 5
> 4 - 3
> >Date: Thu, 16 Aug 2007 00:58:15 -0700
> >From: PORRES <mentalosmosis@xxxxxxxxx>
> >Subject: Re: Generating a continuum of consonant to dissonant sounds
> >sensory consonanc/dissonance relies mainly in the sensation of
> >beatings & roughness as well as the harmonicity (periodicity) of a
> >signal, that leads to a high perception of musical tone (toneness
> >other musical consonance/dissonance dimensions are really hard to
> >map, as they are very abstract and cultural.
> >anyway, you have a good conceptual problem in my oppinion, that you
> >are trying to match two completely different sensational aspects
> >(visual and auditory) by a highly abstact approach. It is not my
> >area, but I just dont see a visual correlate of sensory dissonance.
> >if you think of it only as a cultural matter maybe...
> >Kevin Austin <kevin.austin@xxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote: Hi Mike
> >In my experience, you may need to clarify your question as in
> >"musical" terms, "dissonance" means 'requiring resolution to
> >consonance' -- that is, void of context, there are no 'dissonant'
> >sounds. You may not "like" it, but that doesn't produce [musical]
> >dissonance. The perfect fourth was a musical consonance and the third
> >was a dissonance in western music 900 years ago. Now these roles have
> >reversed. It strikes me that "harmonious" is not on the same
> >continuum with dissonant in general.
> >I've not done the studies, but have worked through these ideas with
> >many hundreds of people. They wouldn't be controled studies, for what
> >classrooms and studios are controled?
> >Bells and stable fm complexes may be 'complex' in their spectra, but
> >not 'dissonant'. You may be looking for aspects of time variance
> >(with both instantaneous and time-based integration). Consider the
> >sound of a large sheet of glass being smashed. It lasts 1500
> >milliseconds and may be associated with "jagged" visuals. Stretch it
> >out to four minutes. Take the sound of a breaking wave (eight
> >seconds), stretch it out to four minutes. Compare them. Time compress
> >the wave to 750 milliseconds and compare it to the lowpass filtered
> >breaking glass.
> > >Date: Tue, 14 Aug 2007 18:56:42 -0500
> >>From: "Michael H. Coen"
> >>Subject: Generating a continuum of consonant to dissonant sounds
> >>Hello list,
> >>As part of a machine learning research project investigating
> >>audio/visual cross-modal perception, I'm looking at the relationship
> >>in perceived correspondences between "simple" sounds and visual
> >>inputs to "complex" sounds and visual inputs.
> >>Most importantly, I'm interested in _lack_ of correspondence between
> >>the two, e.g, simple shapes with complex sounds and vice-versa, and
> >>the impact of these "disagreements" on classifications and reaction
> >>I'm curious what principled studies (or perchance code?) might have
> >>been written for generating sounds ranging continuously from
> >>harmonious to dissonant. I can easily think of ways of doing this
> >>mathematically, e.g., randomly phase shift the harmonics, but I'm
> >>curious what the psychoacoustics community has to say regarding this
> >>Any pointers would be greatly appreciated. And of course, if you're
> >>aware of anything more directly addressing the problem I described,
> >>that would be most welcome as well.
> >>Best regards,
> > >Mike Coen