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Demonstrations of Circular Components of Pitch

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Pitch is usually thought of as a one-dimensional psychological attribute corresponding to the one-dimensional physical variable of frequency. However, complex tones can be continuously varied between pitches along at least three different dimensions: (1) a rectilinear dimension of height, (2) a circular dimension of chroma, and (3) a second circular dimension of musical fifths. Accompanying sound demonstrations illustrate each of these three variations-including illusions in which a tone that is cyclically shifted around the chroma circle seems to go ever higher in pitch, and in which a tone that is simultaneously shifted in opposite directions in height and chroma seems always to be rising in pitch but is clearly lower at the end than at the beginning.

JAES Volume 31 Issue 9 pp. 641-649; September 1983
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AES - Audio Engineering Society