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Communication Acoustics: An Introduction to Speech, Audio and Psychoacoustics by Matti Karjalainen, Ville Pulkki

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11 Further Analysis in Hearing

Chapter 9 presented two important concepts in psychoacoustic experimentation – masking and critical bands. Chapter 10 presented the four central quantities or dimensions of psychoacoustics – pitch, loudness, timbre, and subjective duration, all of which are relatively well defined and orthogonal to each other, except perhaps timbre. Timbre is a multidimensional and complex measure, and a number of quantities that describe the perception of timbre have been defined in the literature; these can be regarded as subcategories of timbre.

This chapter describes a few of these quantities which are useful in the research on psychoacoustics or in technical applications. These quantities are sharpness, roughness, fluctuation strength, tonality, consonance, and dissonance. These quantities also provide an interesting connection to the intervals in music scales.

Sound signals are primarily one-dimensional, time-dependent functions. However, our hearing distils them into features and characteristics that depend both on time and frequency, which makes sound a multidimensional entity for neural processing. The psychoacoustic foundations of our perception of sound and music, which is an art form that takes full advantage of the time–frequency structures of sound, are discussed in this chapter. In natural listening conditions, our hearing attempts to represent sound scenarios as objects, just as the other senses do. Certain complex sound scenarios, such as sound ...

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