[sdiy] Question for those with musical ears

Mattias Rickardsson mr at analogue.org
Thu Apr 15 21:42:13 CEST 2021


Speaking about the pitch discrimination limits of musical ears, I was about
to recommend the interesting listening tests halfway down on the page at
http://jakemandell.com/
but it sadly needs Adobe Flash to run.

With a good headphone setup, quiet office surrounding and a lot of jogging
& flexing before the race, I remember scoring 2 cents in the adaptive pitch
perception test there, measuring the ability to distinguish which 500ish Hz
notes are higher or lower in frequency. In a more everyday situation the
result could have been much worse.

The rhythm perception test there was fun too, a pity if it ends up in the
multimedia grave forever.

/mr


On Thu, 15 Apr 2021 at 21:03, Tom Wiltshire <tom at electricdruid.net> wrote:

> The VCDO chip I designed only manages 6 cent steps (16 steps a semitone,
> actually = 6.25). The chip also does a smooth glide from one note to
> another. In certain contexts you can hear the slight stepping, but the
> smooth glide isn’t really one of them. The movement seems to “blur” the
> steps, like your ear can’t keep up. As the movement gets slower, it’s
> easier to hear the steps, although still far from easy. One second per
> semitone is *very* slow for a practical glide, and on my chip would be
> possibly-perceptible. I usually scale things in "seconds per octave”, and
> the maximum on the chip was two or three seconds per octave. This is still
> slow enough to allow dramatic slow slides from one end of the keyboard to
> the other. A second per semitone to just crazy-slow, and only really serves
> a purpose experimentally, rather than musically.
>
> Ultimately, no-one has ever complained about that aspect of my chip, so
> the vast majority of people can’t hear better than the Wikipedia-sourced “6
> cents minimum perceptible difference”.
>
> Tom
>
> ==================
>        Electric Druid
> Synth & Stompbox DIY
> ==================
>
>
>
> > On 15 Apr 2021, at 00:47, 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.
> >
> > Thanks
> >
> > Mike
> >
> >
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