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Re: Af0 frequency difference limen

Dear list

If I can add just a comment here: it might be worth remembering that when we talk about "the" DL for F0 (or for anything else), we are talking about an abstraction. Thresholds are often thought of as the smallest difference perceivable under some set of idealized circumstances, presumably including idealized listeners. But neither of those (circumstances nor listeners) are necessarily encountered.

In particular, this point of view (that there exists some abstract threshold value, as if it were a physical constant), does not take into account sufficiently individual variation. In the context of musical perception this is particularly relevant in terms of the effects of musical training on pitch discrimination, which can be important (see Micheyl et al, Hearing Research, 2006). A related point is that there are some people who have lots of trouble determining directionality of pitch but not simple change detection (as Semal & Demany, JASA 2006, nicely demonstrated).

Best wishes


Robert J. Zatorre, Ph.D.
Montreal Neurological Institute
3801 University St.
Montreal, QC Canada H3A 2B4
phone: 1-514-398-8903
fax: 1-514-398-1338
e-mail: robert.zatorre@xxxxxxxxx
web site: www.zlab.mcgill.ca

James W. Beauchamp wrote:
Measuring the F0 DL for various musical instruments at various pitches
would be a good project. I'm also surprised that no one has attempted
it. For one thing, there are always "theories in the air" about what
intonation scheme musicians actually use (Pythagorean vs. equal-
tempered, etc.)
However, one thing to keep in mind is that most musical instruments
don't produce absolutely constant F0's. There is always some variation,
even when there is no vibrato. This could have a big effect on DL's.
Also, there is the problem of how F0 should be measured when it is


Original message:
From: Andrew Milne <andymilne@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 15 Jan 2009 14:18:04 +0000
To: AUDITORY@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Re: [AUDITORY] Af0 frequency difference limen

Thanks Christian and James,

I'm quite surprised that there hasn't been (or at doesn't appear to be)
an experiment done specifically to measure the frequency difference
limen for musical tones - perhaps using a select ion of instrumental
sounds, or a "typical" musical spectrum.