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Pitch Perception

Two listeners: One has silicone ears and Etymotic microphones in its head; the other is John. Both are cool.

Two listeners:
One has silicone ears and
Etymotic microphones in its head;
the other is John.
Both are cool.

For more than a hundred years scientists have wondered about the neurophysiological process that leads to the perception of musical pitch. Is it that specific neurons are excited, as suggested by the mechanics of the inner ear, or is it a matter of the timing of the neural impulses? A goal of the pitch perception program is to devise stimuli for experiments on human listeners that can help to answer that question. Increasingly, we regard pitch perception as an integral part of auditory organization, the process by which human (and presumably other) listeners combine the outputs of tuned neural channels to create the perception of individual auditory entities.


"The effect of amplitude envelope on the pitch of sine wave tones." W.M. Hartmann, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. {63}, 1105-1113 (1978).

"Binaural edge pitch," M.A. Klein and W.M. Hartmann, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. {70}, 51-61 (1980).

"A search for central lateral inhibition," W.M. Hartmann, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. {75}, 528-535 (1984).

"The frequency-domain grating," W.M. Hartmann, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. {78}, 1421-1425 (1985).

"On measuring the frequency difference limen for short tones," W.M. Hartmann, Brad Rakerd, and Thomas N. Packard, Perception and Psychophysics, {38}, 199-207 (1985).

"Hearing a mistuned harmonic in an otherwise periodic complex tone," W.M. Hartmann, S. McAdams, and B.K. Smith, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. {88}, 1712-1724 (1990).

"Stream segregation and peripheral channeling," W.M. Hartmann and Douglas Johnson, Music Perception {9}, 155-183 (1991).

"Structural alterations of an ambiguous musical figure: The scale illusion revisited," G.A. Radvansky, W.M. Hartmann, and Brad Rakerd, Perception and Psychophys. {52}, 256-262 (1992).

"On the origin of the enlarged melodic octave," W.M. Hartmann, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. {93}, 3400-3409 (1993).

"On the Duifhuis pitch effect," Jian-Yu Lin and W.M. Hartmann, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. (101), 1034-1043 (1997).

"Pitch, Periodicity and Auditory Organization," W.M. Hartmann, (Review and Tutorial) J. Acoust. Soc. Am. {100}, 3491-3502 (1996).

"On the pitches of the components of a complex tone," W.M. Hartmann and S.L. Doty, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. {99}, 567-578 (1996)

"The pitch of a mistuned harmonic: Evidence for a template model," Jian-Yu Lin and W.M. Hartmann, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. {103}, 2608-2617.

"Binaural coherence edge pitch," W.M. Hartmann and Colleen McMillon, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. {109}, 294-305 (2001).

"Binaural coherence edge pitch - Equalization and Cancellation," W.M. Hartmann, {Physiological and Psychophysical Bases of Auditory Function,} Proc. 12th International Symposium on Hearing, 2000. ed. D.J. Breebaart, A.J.M. Houtsma, A. Kohlrausch, V.F. Prijs, and R. Schoonehoven, Shaker Publishing, The Netherlands, pp 169-176 (2001).

"Binaural models and the strength of dichotic pitches," W.M. Hartmann and P.X. Zhang, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. {114}, 3317-3326 (2003).

"Enhancing and unmasking the harmonics of a complex tone," W.M. Hartmann and M.J. Goupell, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. {120}, 2142-2157 (2006).

Further References

"The effect of a prior tone on the pitch of a short tone." W.M. Hartmann and D.C. Kanistanaux, {Proc. Res. Symposium on the Psychology and Acoustics of Music} Ed. W.V. May (1979).

"Pitch perception and the segregation and integration of auditory entities," W.M. Hartmann, in {Auditory Function- Neurobiological Bases of Hearing}, eds. Edelman, G.W., Gall, E., and Cowan, W.M., John Wiley and Sons, pp. 623-645 (1988).

"Auditory grouping and the auditory periphery," W.M. Hartmann {Proceedings of the First International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition}, pp. 299-304, Kyoto, (1989).

"On the perceptual segregation of steady state tones," W.M. Hartmann, {Proceedings of the ATR Workshop on A Biological Framework for Speech Perception and Production,} ed. H. Kawahara, ATR Technical Report TR-H-21, ATR Labs, Kyoto, Japan, pp. 87-94, (1995).

"Tone (music and acoustics) " article for McGraw Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology, 9th edition (2001)

"Spectral analysis for the ear," M.J. Goupell and W.M. Hartmann, Proceedings of the 18th International Congress on Acoustics in Kyoto, 2004, paper We2E2.