David Huron's calculations (at)

Subject: David Huron's calculations
Date:    Thu, 10 Dec 1992 13:52:00 -0500

Here are two comments on David Huron's interesting description of a segregation model, dated 6 December. First, there is a danger in moving so quickly to a place-based model for spectral and virtual pitch because the model ignores the timing information that can signal synchrony or asynchrony amongst the spectral components. The problem is magnified if one uses a Terhardt-type model where spectral pitches are shifted up and down the tonotopic axis by peripheral interactions. After a signal has been put through that kind of front end, the timing information is lost forever. The conceptual advantage of retaining the timing information is that the asynchrony associated with inharmonic partials can, in principle, be treated by the same processer that pays attention to the synchrony of onsets and modulation. We use a model like that to study the (admittedly very simple) mistuned harmonic experiment. Second, it certainly does seem right to begin with pitch as the basic principle whereby individual harmonics are integrated into single entities. Pitch is the "great organizer." But, in order to do that, one needs a self-consistent solution. If a virtual pitch is calculated from component frequencies (or from spectral pitches) in a way that is independent of the decision concerning the integration/segregation of the components, then pitch is not really accorded its organizing role. Bill.

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DAn Ellis <dpwe@ee.columbia.edu>
Electrical Engineering Dept., Columbia University