A Structural Theory of Pitch(1,2,3)

by Jonathan Laudanski, Yi Zheng, Romain Brette
Abstract:
Musical notes can be ordered from low to high along a perceptual dimension called “pitch”. A characteristic property of these sounds is their periodic waveform, and periodicity generally correlates with pitch. Thus, pitch is often described as the perceptual correlate of the periodicity of the sound’s waveform. However, the existence and salience of pitch also depends in a complex way on other factors, in particular harmonic content. For example, periodic sounds made of high-order harmonics tend to have a weaker pitch than those made of low-order harmonics. Here we examine the theoretical proposition that pitch is the perceptual correlate of the regularity structure of the vibration pattern of the basilar membrane, across place and time-a generalization of the traditional view on pitch. While this proposition also attributes pitch to periodic sounds, we show that it predicts differences between resolved and unresolved harmonic complexes and a complex domain of existence of pitch, in agreement with psychophysical experiments. We also present a possible neural mechanism for pitch estimation based on coincidence detection, which does not require long delays, in contrast with standard temporal models of pitch.
Reference:
Jonathan Laudanski, Yi Zheng, Romain Brette, 2014. A Structural Theory of Pitch(1,2,3), eNeuro, volume 1.
Bibtex Entry:
@article{Laudanski2014,
 abstract = {Musical notes can be ordered from low to high along a perceptual dimension called "pitch". A characteristic property of these sounds is their periodic waveform, and periodicity generally correlates with pitch. Thus, pitch is often described as the perceptual correlate of the periodicity of the sound's waveform. However, the existence and salience of pitch also depends in a complex way on other factors, in particular harmonic content. For example, periodic sounds made of high-order harmonics tend to have a weaker pitch than those made of low-order harmonics. Here we examine the theoretical proposition that pitch is the perceptual correlate of the regularity structure of the vibration pattern of the basilar membrane, across place and time-a generalization of the traditional view on pitch. While this proposition also attributes pitch to periodic sounds, we show that it predicts differences between resolved and unresolved harmonic complexes and a complex domain of existence of pitch, in agreement with psychophysical experiments. We also present a possible neural mechanism for pitch estimation based on coincidence detection, which does not require long delays, in contrast with standard temporal models of pitch.},
 author = {Laudanski, Jonathan
and Zheng, Yi
and Brette, Romain},
 day = {12},
 doi = {10.1523/ENEURO.0033-14.2014},
 journal = {eNeuro},
 language = {eng},
 month = {Nov/Dec},
 number = {1},
 title = {A Structural Theory of Pitch(1,2,3).},
 url = {https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4596137/pdf/ENEURO.0033-14.2014.pdf},
 volume = {1},
 year = {2014}
}