Perception of spectral changes in multi-tone complexes

N.J. Versfeld, A.J.M. Houtsma

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    13 Citations (Scopus)


    Amplitude changes of the spectral components of a complex tone, relative to each other, are usually well perceived, even if the over-all intensity is kept fixed. Three experiments are reported: Experiment 1 dealt with the detectability of amplitude changes in two-tone complexes of fixed frequencies. Experiment 2 examined detection of slope changes in ramp-shaped spectral envelopes of two-and three-tone complexes as a function of spectral spacing. As a control experiment for some conditions a roving intensity level was used. Experiment 3 investigated the detectability of changes in the spectral slope of multi-tone complexes as a function of the number of components. The results of the experiments show that detection of spectral changes in a sound is strongly dependent on the frequency spacing of the components. It is concluded that the auditory system is capable of comparing the relative energy distributions over different critical bands. Within a critical band there exists an optimum frequency separation with respect to the detection of relative amplitude change.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)459-479
    Number of pages21
    JournalQuarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1991


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