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Re: f0 frequency difference limen

According to [Henning, G. B. and Grosberg, S. L. (1968). "Effect of harmonic components on frequency discrimination." J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 44: 1386-1389.], for fundamental frequencies below 2 kHz, discrimination is better for complex than pure tones (above 2 kHz it is the same).

According to the theory of [Goldstein, J. L. (1973). "An optimum processor theory for the central formation of the pitch of complex tones." J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 54: 1496-1516.], F0 discrimination of a complex is at least as good as that of each of its components.

Both suggest that complex tone limens should be at least as small as pure tone limens if not better. The classic source for those is [Moore, B. C. J. (1973). "Frequency difference limens for short-duration tones." J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 54: 610-619.]. If I remember correctly, pure tone FDLs are as low as 0.2% at 2kHz.

For a more recent study see [Gockel, H., Moore, B. C. J., Carlyon, R. P. and Plack, C. J. (2007). "Effect of duration on the frequency discrimination of individual partials in a complex tone and on the discrimination of fundamental frequency." J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 121: 373-382.]. They report thresholds as low as 0.2% for partials, 0.1% for the complex.


Dear members of the list,

Is there a consensus on the size of the frequency difference limen for the f0 of complex tones such as those produced by musical instruments - i.e. containing both resolved and unresolved harmonics. References to papers
describing the precise nature of the tests used would also be helpful.

Many thanks

Andrew Milne

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