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Re: multidimensional scaling of timbre



This is true across a wide array of studies, from those of John Grey and David Wessel in the 1970s to more contemporary investigations of Stephen McAdams, Carol Krumhansl, Suzanne Winsberg, and others in the 1990s and 2000s. Furthermore, two of the primary dimensions of musical instruments in these tasks include the temporal envelope (rise time, or attack) and spectral envelope (centroid, center of gravity, energy distribution, "flow", etc.). Those two dimensions seem sufficient to organize any set of instruments, no matter how diverse (e.g. different spectral characteristics across all classes of instruments, or just subdividing the woodwinds). While tertiary and beyond dimensions uncover some interesting ideas (spectral flux, attentuation of even harmonics, "richness", spectral irregularity, f0 intensity, inharmonic energy in the attack, etc.), their sparseness in timbre MDS literature suggests they are more artifacts of the particular instruments at test.

Cheers,
-Christian Stilp

Christian Kaernbach wrote:
Dear list,

I seem to remember that one lesson from multidimensional scaling of timbres was that the type of dimensions found depends strongly on the selection of the stimuli. If my memory serves me right, the similarity data would alway yield two- to three-dimensional spaces, regardless of whether the stimuli were quite divers (all types of instruments of the classical orchestra) or from a narrow subgroup (say, all woodwinds). In other words, people seem to be able to manage two to three dimensions in their cognitive space representing the entirety of the stimuli of a certain experiment. Is that correct, and is there a reference referring to this phenomenon?

Thanks in advance,
Chris


-- Christian E. Stilp, M.S. Wisconsin Speech Perception Laboratory Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin 1202 West Johnson Street Madison, Wisconsin USA 53706 P:(608)262-6110 F:(608)262-4029 cestilp@xxxxxxxx