Re: Invitation to criticize dissertation idea. (David Spondike )

Subject: Re: Invitation to criticize dissertation idea.
From:    David Spondike  <Dspondike(at)AOL.COM>
Date:    Sun, 4 Jun 2000 09:52:59 EDT

Dear Dr. Bregman, Thank you for sending the paper in html. I was able to get the text from my brother, but not the images/tables. Just a thought about band limited noise: If narrow bands of noise that had harmonically related center frequencies are simultaneously sounded, would that increase the pitch strength at the center frequency that is the "fundamental" of the harmonic relationship? Terhardt's "pitch weight" does seem very similar to your "pitch strength": a measurement of the perceived salience of "pitch" derived from a particular complex sound. According to Terhardt's algorithm, strongly harmonic complexes (that have virtual pitch heights in the heart or the human auditory sensitivity range) have the strongest pitch weights. Complex tones exhibit higher pitch weights than pure sine waves due the reinforcement of the fundamental by the harmonically related partials. I am debating with myself on what course to take with my theoretical dissertation. My professors would like me to keep it very focused. Therefore, my original idea of developing a music theory curriculum of "musical scene analysis" that could be taught along side traditional (Schenkerian) theory could best be left for future work. Much "timbre" research seems to be in the auditory (as opposed to musical) domain and seems to be focused on auditory mechanisms -- very "psycho-acoustic." From my correspondence with you and others on the auditory list, it would seem that exploring the idea of crossing musical voices would be best done as research in orchestration, as opposed to timbral research. What are musically plausible crossing conditions and what are the perceptual results? Of course, one can look for actual musical examples that exploit these conditions. Perhaps this may be the best tack to take. I suppose that I should be careful to apply psycho-acoustics to music and not do a dissertation in psycho-acoustics. I guess the timbral question I was trying to explore is: what are some of the timbral cues that cause stream segregation? I figured that any difference of timbre that could overcome the pitch-proximity grouping cue in the scale crossing experiment could be considered a significant difference, even though smaller differences may cause segregation in a different experimental condition. For instance, "brightness" or "sharpness" is generally considered an aspect of timbre. Yet, I am not sure how much difference in brightness will allow the scales to be heard as crossing. I can explain the relevance of the question musically. Does it hold any value from an "auditory" perspective? Thank you again for taking the time to resend your paper. David Dspondike(at)

This message came from the mail archive
maintained by:
DAn Ellis <>
Electrical Engineering Dept., Columbia University