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Perceived continuity and pitch shifts for complex tones with unresolved harmonics

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Journal publication date10/2010
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Number of pages8
Original languageEnglish


Brief complex tone bursts with fundamental frequencies (F0s) of 100, 125, 166.7, and 250 Hz were bandpass filtered between the 22(nd) and 30(th) harmonics, to produce waveforms with five regularly occurring envelope peaks ("pitch pulses") that evoked pitches associated with their repetition period. Two such tone bursts were presented sequentially and separated by a silent interval of two periods (2/F0). When the relative phases of the two bursts were varied, such that the interpulse interval (IPI) between the last pulse of the first burst and the first pulse of the second burst was varied, the pitch of the whole sequence was little affected. This is consistent with previous results suggesting that the pitch integration window may be "reset" by a discontinuity. However, when the interval between the two bursts was filled with a noise with the same spectral envelope as the complex, variations in IPI had substantial effects on the pitch of the sequence. It is suggested that the presence of the noise causes the two tones bursts to appear continuous, hence, resetting does not occur, and the pitch mechanism is sensitive to the phase discontinuity across the silent interval.