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Re: Frequency to Mel Formula

Dear Dick Warren, and others,

thanks a lot for the detailed information on the psychological construct of "half-pitch" and its relation to the octave.

Perhaps it is useful to recall that asking a subject to find a "half-pitch" is something categorically different from asking for a "half-loudness" or a "half-brightness". As Dick Warren pointed out correctly, the pitch scale is already scaled by the octave phenomenon.

It is interesting that already Helmholtz saw the universality of the octave, while many later scholars seem to have missed it. Today we have plenty of further information about the octave that was unavailable in the days of Stevens.

We have multiple evidence for a general subconscious octave-based internal chroma map:


and we have multiple evidence that octave circularity is hardwired in the auditory thalamus:


So today it may no longer be useful to use the construct of "half-pitch" at all. It may be more promising to work with the physical scale of half-frequency steps and then to observe how perfect it matches the physiological octave scale, in particular on its fringes.


Martin Braun
Neuroscience of Music
S-671 95 Klässbol
web site: http://w1.570.telia.com/~u57011259/index.htm

----- Original Message ----- From: "Richard M. Warren" <rmwarren@xxxxxxx>
To: <AUDITORY@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Tuesday, July 28, 2009 10:45 PM
Subject: Re: Frequency to Mel Formula