Consonance perception beyond the traditional existence region of pitch

Carcagno, Samuele and Lakhani, Saday and Plack, Christopher (2019) Consonance perception beyond the traditional existence region of pitch. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 146. 2279–2290. ISSN 0001-4966

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Some theories posit that the perception of consonance is based on neural periodicity detection, which is dependent on accurate phase locking of auditory nerve fibers to features of the stimulus waveform. In the current study, 15 listeners were asked to rate the pleasantness of complex tone dyads (2 note chords) forming various harmonic intervals and bandpass filtered in a high-frequency region (all components >5.8 kHz), where phase locking to the rapid stimulus fine structure is thought to be severely degraded or absent. The two notes were presented to opposite ears. Consonant intervals (minor third and perfect fifth) received higher ratings than dissonant intervals (minor second and tritone). The results could not be explained in terms of phase locking to the slower waveform envelope because the preference for consonant intervals was higher when the stimuli were harmonic, compared to a condition in which they were made inharmonic by shifting their component frequencies by a constant offset, so as to preserve their envelope periodicity. Overall the results indicate that, if phase locking is indeed absent at frequencies greater than ∼5 kHz, neural periodicity detection is not necessary for the perception of consonance.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Journal of the Acoustical Society of America
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? acoustics and ultrasonics ??
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Deposited On:
13 Sep 2019 09:15
Last Modified:
03 Mar 2024 01:29