[sdiy] Question for those with musical ears

Joan Touzet music at atypical.net
Thu Apr 15 02:40:02 CEST 2021

Wikipedia has a decent summary:

> The JND for tone is dependent on the tone's frequency content. Below
> 500 Hz, the JND is about 3 Hz for sine waves, and 1 Hz for complex
> tones; above 1000 Hz, the JND for sine waves is about 0.6% (about 10
> cents <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cent_(music)>).^[3]
> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Just-noticeable_difference#cite_note-3>
> The JND is typically tested by playing two tones in quick succession
> with the listener asked if there was a difference in their
> pitches.^[4]
> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Just-noticeable_difference#cite_note-Olson-4>
> The JND becomes smaller if the two tones are played simultaneously
> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simultaneity_(music)> as the listener
> is then able to discern beat frequencies
> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beat_(acoustics)>. The total number of
> perceptible pitch steps in the range of human hearing is about 1,400;
> the total number of notes in the equal-tempered scale, from 16 to
> 16,000 Hz, is 120.^[4]
> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Just-noticeable_difference#cite_note-Olson-4>

1400 steps is only 10.5 bits of resolution, but... the issue I'd see is
dealing with beats, either in a polyphonic synth (beats with other
voices) or with other instruments in the same song.

On 2021-04-14 8:26 p.m., Adam Inglis (synthDIY) wrote:
>> On 15 Apr 2021, at 9:47 am, Mike Bryant <mbryant at futurehorizons.com> wrote:
>> Consider a continuous glissando played on an analogue synth - the frequency rises smoothly between the start and end pitches.
>> But on a digital synth there will always be discrete steps between successive frequencies as the frequency is gradually stepped between the start and end pitches.  
>> Question is, what is the minimum step (in cents) needed such that the best musical ears cannot tell the frequency isn't rising smoothly as on the analogue synth, but in many discrete steps.  
>> It may be that the rate of change can effect it so if so please assume a glissando starting at middle C rising at 1 second per semitone.
> So, you're kind of talking about the auditory equivalent of a video “frame-rate”, are you? 
> As in, How slow can the frames per second get before you notice a ‘flicker’?
> A
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