Timing and event segregation (Gregory Kramer )

Subject: Timing and event segregation
From:    Gregory Kramer  <70312.265(at)COMPUSERVE.COM>
Date:    Thu, 16 Sep 1993 10:05:16 EDT

Pierre Divenyi writes: Thus, the problem to be solved is to establish units of t i m i n g -- for the sake of musical meaning and perceptual organization. I'd like to add the demands that auditory display (AD) places upon usas regards understanding this same phenomena. If multiple independent units are perceived as a single unit (presumably of a more complex timbre, as the onsets become part of the overall texture), the information to be conveyed by the display could be corrupted. It is possible to avoid this design problem by disallowing such small fast units or, I suppose, by training the system user what 'fused' events sound like and what that means in terms of the data driving the system. One of the sonification systems I designed uses pulse onsets in the range of 50 to 250 milliseconds. Speed and duration (as a percentage of on time) can both be used as display variables. We found, informally, that below 50 ms. that display resolution was weak, and beyond 250 ms. the gaps between events disrupted the information-conveying ability of the sonification display. But, at 50 ms. it is easy to perceive a single event, particularly with longer durations. If other continuous auditory streams were employed simultaneously with the one described, confusion, not to mention masking, could become an issue. Gregory Kramer

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Electrical Engineering Dept., Columbia University