Perceptual similarity between piano notes: experimental method applicable to reverberant and non-reverberant sounds

Alejandro Osses Vecchi (Corresponding author), Armin G. Kohlrausch, Antoine Chaigne

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In this paper an experimental method to quantify perceptual differences between acoustic stimuli is presented. The experiments are implemented as a signal-in-noise task, where two sounds are to be discriminated. By adjusting the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) the difficulty of the sound discrimination is manipulated. If two sounds are very similar already, a low level of added noise (high SNR) makes the discrimination task difficult. For more dissimilar sounds, a higher amount of noise (lower SNR) is needed to affect discriminability. In other words, a strong correlation between SNR and similarity is expected. The experimental noises are generated to have similar spectro-temporal properties to those of the test stimuli. As a study case, the suggested method was used to evaluate recordings of one note played on seven Viennese pianos using (1) non-reverberant sounds (as recorded) and (2) reverberant sounds, where reverberation was added by means of digital convolution. The experimental results of the suggested method were compared with a similarity experiment using the method of triadic comparisons. The results of both methods were significantly correlated with each other.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1024-1035
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2019


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