Effects of asynchrony and ear of presentation on the pitch of mistuned partials in harmonic and frequency-shifted complex tones

J M Brunstrom, B Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


When a partial of a periodic complex is mistuned, its change in pitch is greater than expected. Two experiments examined whether these partial-pitch shifts are related to the computation of global pitch. In experiment I, stimuli were either harmonic or frequency-shifted (25% of F0) complexes. One partial was mistuned by +/-4% and played with leading and lagging portions of 500 ms each, relative to the other components (1 s), in both monaural and dichotic contexts. Subjects indicated whether the mistuned partial was higher or lower in pitch when concurrent with the other components. Responses were positively correlated with the direction of mistuning in all conditions. In experiment 2, stimuli from each condition were compared with synchronous equivalents. Subjects matched a pure tone to the pitch of the mistuned partial (component 4). The results showed that partial-pitch shifts are not reduced in size by asynchrony. Similar asynchronies are known to produce a near-exclusion of a mistuned partial from the global-pitch computation. This mismatch indicates that global and partial pitch are derived from different processes. The similarity of the partial-pitch shifts observed for harmonic and frequency-shifted stimuli suggests that they arise from a grouping mechanism that is sensitive to spectral regularity. (C) 2001 Acoustical Society of America.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)391-401
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2001

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