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Relative dominance of individual partials in determining the pitch of complex tones

Relative dominance of individual partials in determining the pitch of complex tones

Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 77(5): 1853-1860

These experiments were conducted to determine the dominance of each partial in determining the residue pitch of a complex tone. Subjects were required to make pitch matches to a complex tone which had one partial slightly mistuned from its correct harmonic value. The shift in residue pitch was measured as a function of the frequency shift of the harmonic, for each harmonic in turn. For mistunnings up to .+-. 2%-3% the shift in residue pitch was approximately a linear function of the shift in the harmonic, but for greater mistunings the shift in residue pitch was reduced. The degree to which a given harmonic can influence residue pitch gives a measure of the dominance of that harmonic. The dominant harmonics were always contained within the lowest 6 harmonics (for fundamental frequencies of 100, 200 and 400 Hz), but there were marked individual differences in the exact distribution of dominance across harmonics. The level of a harmonic relative to adjacent harmonics can have a significant effect on its dominance. The implications of the results for theories of pitch perception are discussed.

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Accession: 006303900

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

DOI: 10.1121/1.391936

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