[sdiy] Question for those with musical ears
mbryant at futurehorizons.com
Thu Apr 15 22:13:59 CEST 2021
Yes that’s a pity. Would have been great to try, though at least I now know I’m not tone deaf, I just have “congenital amusia” :-)
From: Mattias Rickardsson [mailto:mr at analogue.org]
Sent: 15 April 2021 20:42
To: Tom Wiltshire
Cc: Mike Bryant; synth-diy at synth-diy.org
Subject: Re: [sdiy] Question for those with musical ears
Speaking about the pitch discrimination limits of musical ears, I was about to recommend the interesting listening tests halfway down on the page at
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.
On Thu, 15 Apr 2021 at 21:03, Tom Wiltshire <tom at electricdruid.net<mailto: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”.
Synth & Stompbox DIY
> On 15 Apr 2021, at 00:47, Mike Bryant <mbryant at futurehorizons.com<mailto: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.
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