Scarlet & Grey
Ohio State University
School of Music



Music Cognition Handbook: A Glossary of Concepts

By David Huron


Dictionary definitions for some 300 technical terms and concepts related to the field of music cognition.

Quick Index: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z.


A
absolute pitch
(AP) The name given by psychologists to the phenomenon musicians call perfect pitch. The ability found in a minority of listeners, where the pitch of a tone can be accurately identified without relying on an external reference pitch. See also pitch, Hick-Hyman Law, colored hearing.

acoustical
Pertaining to the objective physics of sound. Used in contrast to auditory -- which pertains to the subjective experience of a sound. For example, frequency is a physical or acoustical property, whereas pitch is a subjective or auditory property.

acrophase
The time of the day when an individual is typically at his/her greatest arousal or energy level. Introverts tend to reach acrophase earlier in the day than is the case for extroverts (Tayer, 1996; p.16). See also arousal, arousal compatibility preference, personality.

active attention
The condition where a person willfully directs their mental consideration at some stimulus. In contrast to passive attention, active attention is voluntary. See also attention. Compare with arousal.

adrenaline
See epinephrine.

afferent nerves
Nerves which convey signals to the brain from various parts of the body. Afferent nerves communicate sensory and proprioceptive information such as pain, pressure, taste, sound, sight, etc. to the brain. Contrasts with efferent nerves.

agnosia
A neurological disorder which causes a partial or complete loss of the ability to recognize otherwise familiar stimuli. Auditory agnosia is an inability to recognize sounds. See also agraphia, amusia, anomia, alexia, aphasia, aprosodia.

agraphia
A neurological disorder which causes a partial or complete loss of a former ability to write. Loss of the ability to notate music is known as musical agraphia. See also agnosia, alexia, amusia, anomia, aphasia, aprosodia.

alcohol
See depressants.

alexia
A neurological disorder which causes a partial or complete loss of a former ability to read. Loss of the ability to read music is known as musical alexia. See also agnosia, agraphia, amusia, anomia, aphasia, aprosodia.

allusive listening
Allusive listening is a presumed listening mode that may be said to occur where a listener relates moments or features of the music to similar moments or features in other musical works. (`This reminds me of a passage in Bartók ...'). Allusive listening may be viewed as a form of referential listening in which the referential connection is made to the domain of music itself. Philip Tagg (1979) has made extensive use of allusive listening as a tool for studying musical meaning. Tagg has suggested that a dictionary is indeed a reasonable model of meaning -- where a target word is understood in terms of a set of synomyns. Tagg has, in effect, created musical "dictionaries" by asking listeners to construct lists of musical works of which a given work reminds them. See distracted listening, tangential listening, metaphysical listening, signal listening, sing-along listening, lyric listening, programmatic listening, reminiscent listening, identity listening, retentive listening, fault listening, feature listening, innovation listening, memory scan listening, directed listening, distance listening, ecstatic listening, emotional listening, kinesthetic listening, performance listening. See also listening mode, cognitive style.

AM
See amplitude modulation.

amphetamines
See stimulants.

amplitude
The magnitude or strength of a signal. Amplitude is the degree of excursion about an average or equilibrium value exhibited by some oscillating quantity. For a vibrating object, amplitude may be expressed in terms of the velocity of the object in space, or the pressure it exerts, or other physical quantity. Amplitude is commonly measured by one of three methods: (1) the difference between the maximum excursion and the equilibrium point ("peak amplitude"), (2) the difference between the maximum positive and maximum negative points of excursion ("peak-to-peak amplitude"), and (3) the standard deviation of all values ("RMS amplitude"). For signals of audible frequency, amplitude corresponds roughly with our perception of loudness. See also amplitude modulation.

amplitude modulation
(AM). The varying of the amplitude of a signal, usually repetitively. For signals of audible frequency, amplitude modulations in the range of 1 Hz to ~15 Hz evoke a tremolo effect. See also shimmer.

amusia
A general term referring to any neurological disorder which interferes with musical functioning. Amusias might include musical alexia (lost ability to read music), musical agraphia (lost ability to notate music), musical anomia (lost ability to name works, composers, styles, etc.), and so on.

anchoring
The tendency to interpret a stimulus as a variant of a prototype. Eleanor Rosch (1975) showed that a line tilted 10 degrees to the horizontal is perceived to be similar to a horizontal line. The tilted line is mentally encoded as a slight variant of the prototypic horizontal line.

The effect of anchoring has been demonstrated in melodies by Bharucha (1984). Recall that Krumhansl and Kessler found that, in a given key context, the most stable tone is the tonic, followed by the other tones of the tonic triad, followed by the remaining scale tones, followed by the non-scale tones. In the perception of melodies, less stable tones tend to become anchored to more stable tones that are close in pitch. For example, in the key of C major, the pitch D has a tendency to be anchored to either the neighboring C or E. Similarly, the pitch D# has a tendency to be anchored to the neared more stable pitch E. See also prototype, schema, focal stimulus, tonal hierarchy.

anomia
A neurological disorder which causes a marked inability to name otherwise familiar stimuli. Auditory anomia is an inability to name sounds -- such as identifying the sound of a door bell or passing automobiles. Examples of musical anomias might include a lost former ability to name musical works or styles, or the inability to name musical instruments from their sounds. See also agnosia, alexia.

antihistamines
See depressants.

anxiety
A mental state of stress. Anxiety is associated with high cortisol levels in the blood. Behaviors include trembling, fidgeting, perspiring, fast respiration, higher pulse rate and higher blood pressure. An experiment carried out by Muzak Corporation at St. Joseph's Hospital in Omaha, Nebraska showed that sedative music can significantly reduce anxiety. See also arousal, Thayer's model of moods.

aphasia
A general term referring to any neurological disorder which causes a complete or partial loss of language-related abilities. Loss of the ability to speak is referred to as expressive aphasia. Loss of the ability to understand spoken language is referred to as receptive aphasia. See also agnosia, agraphia, alexia, amusia, anomia, aprosodia.

aprosodia
A neurological disorder which causes a complete or partial loss of prosodic elements of speech production or reception. Prosodic elements of speech include pitch inflections and other features that indicate emotional tone -- such as anger, contempt, joy, parody, etc. Loss of the ability to speak with appropriate prosodic cues is referred to as expressive aprosodia. Loss of the ability to understand prosodic cues in spoken language is referred to as receptive aprosodia. See also agnosia, agraphia, alexia, amusia, anomia, aphasia.

arousal
An individual's general metabolic readiness to perceive and act. Increased arousal is associated with increased heart rate, increased body temperature, increased rate of breathing, increased oxygen consumption, increased glucose uptake, faster reaction times, and many other physiological changes. Different levels of arousal are most evident in the contrast between the states of sleep and wakefulness. See also acrophase, tonic arousal, phasic arousal, lullaby, stimulants, depressants, epinephrine, norepinephrine.

arousal compatibility preference
Listeners tend to prefer music that matches their pre-existing arousal level. When asleep, for example, most people have a low tolerance for music, especially when the music has a high level of stimulation. Conversely, when in a highly aroused state, most listeners find sedate music to be uninteresting or inappropriate. When engaged in aerobic exercise, for example, listeners show a strong aversion against sedate music -- even if the tempo of the music matches the pace of the workout. With increasing age, people often show an increased preference for sedate music. See also arousal, acrophase, tonic arousal, phasic arousal, stimulants, depressants.

associative memory

A simple form of memory that is established due to the co-occurrence of two stimuli or events. In the case of music, it is common for people to form personal associations between some particular musical work with a specific past circumstance where the work was first (or frequently) encountered. Associative memories may be entirely arbitrary. For example, a "happy" musical work might be associated with memories of a dangerous or life-threatening event. Conversely, a sedate musical work might be associated with memories of an exciting or thrilling event.

Associative memory is sometimes modelled using so-called connectionist networks. See also memory, priming.


attention
The mental state of focusing on some stimulus. Sounds often signal changes in the environment, and so selectively attending to certain sounds can be an important strategy for survival. Psychologists distinguish voluntary and involuntary modes attention -- called active attention and passive attention, respectively. Attention is often signalled by an orienting response. See also dishabituation. Compare with arousal.

attenuate
To lessen; especially to lessen the amplitude of a signal. When audio signals are attenuated, typically a decrease in loudness occurs. However, attenuation need not always affect loudness -- for example, the attenuation of a vibrato will result in a lessening of the "depth" of the vibrato.

audio frequency
Any frequency audible to the human ear. The range of audio frequencies is usually considered to lie in the region between 20 hertz and 20,000 hertz. However, the specific range of audio frequencies varies considerably from person to person -- varying especially with respect to age. See also frequency.

auditory
Pertaining to the subjective experience of sound. Used in contrast to acoustical -- which pertains to the objective physics of a sound. For example, frequency is a physical or acoustical property, whereas pitch is a subjective or auditory property. See primary auditory phenomena.

auditory evoked potential
When an isolated sound is heard, millions of neurons in the auditory cortex are activated. The near simultaneous firing of large numbers of neurons induces electrical potentials that can be measured with electrodes on the scalp. Auditory signals typically activate regions of the temporal lobes -- located just above the ears. Because the resulting electroencephalographs arise in response to a single sound, they are referred to as auditory evoked potentials or auditory evoked responses. See also P3, P300.

auditory induction
The subjective impression of a continuing sound, even though the sound is entirely absent.

When a pure tone is alternated with broad-band noise, the tone will appear as a continuous background tone with the noise overlayed. This phenomenon is analogous to the "picket fence" illusion in vision. That is, if two visual patterns are interleaved, there is a tendency for one pattern to appear to be an intermittent foreground (picket fence) and the other pattern to appear as a continuous background (what's behind the fence).

In ideal circumstances, auditory induction has been measured for as long as 30 seconds. That is, a listener has continued to perceive an absent tone as persisting for half a minute. See also
auditory streaming.

auditory streaming
The subjective sense of connectedness -- where two or more successive sounds appear to arise from the same sound-generating source. See also stream, primary auditory phenomena.

B
backward masking
See masking.

barbiturates
See depressants.

bel
The unit of level, named after Alexander Graham Bell. The bel unit is itself rarely used -- the decibel (or one-tenth of a bel) being much more common. The level (in bels) between two signals may be determined by evaluating the logarithm (base-10) of the ratio of two quantities proportional to power.

Berlyne's Theory of Optimum Complexity
A theory promoted by Daniel Berlyne that the pleasure evoked by different kinds of stimuli is related to their degree of novelty. According to Berlyne, those stimuli with the greatest hedonic value (pleasure rating) tend toward some optimum degree of novelty or optimum complexity. The least pleasure is evoked when the stimulus is excessively novel (or complex), and when there is insufficient novelty (or complexity).



Efforts to test Berlyne's theory have had mixed results. One musical test of Berlyne's theory was carried out by Serafini and Huron (1989) where the tempo and harmonic complexity was examined for 20 string quartet movements by Haydn. As the number of notes per second (note-event complexity) decreases (as in the slower movements), the harmonic complexity increases. This implies that one type of complexity increases at the expense of another type of complexity -- hence maintaining some sort of overall optimum balance of stimulus complexity.

binaural
Pertaining to two ears, as in the binaural presentation of musical stimuli to a listener. Contrasts with monaural. See also monaural, diotic, dichotic. monophonic, stereophonic.

bradycardia
A momentary decrease in heart-rate followed by a recovery of the heart-rate -- commonly evoked by some stimulus. Bradycardic changes of heart-rate are associated with interest and attending to a stimulus. See also orienting response, attention, heart rate, personality. Compare tachycardia.

Broca's aphasia
A neurological disorder which causes a complete or partial loss of the ability to speak. Also known as expressive aphasia. Contrast with receptive aphasia. See also agnosia, agraphia, alexia, amusia, anomia, aphasia, aprosodia.

Burris-Meyer and Cardinell fatigue curve
Burris-Meyer and Cardinell carried out a series of studies to determine how fatigue varies over a typical workday. They measured variations in worker output from hour to hour and also determined what points in the workday employees perceive as passing most quickly or most slowly. They found that workers are typically most efficient shortly after they begin work in the morning. As the morning progresses, efficiency tends to fall, reaching a low point shortly after mid-morning. As lunch-time approaches, there is a gradual increase in productivity. Burris-Meyer and Cardinell hypothesized that this increase may arise due to efforts to complete tasks before lunch.

Productivity in the second half of the day shows a similar fall and then up-swing toward quitting time. However, the overall efficiency in the afternoon tends to be lower than for the morning.

In
Muzak for workplaces, the stimulus level of the music changes over the course of the day to compensate for the Burris-Meyer and Cardinell fatigue curves. Specifically, the stimulus level of the music increases during those parts of the day when efficiency is typically lowest.

Butler's diads
An illustration of how the perception of tonality can be influenced by rearranging an inventory of pitches. The diads F-B followed by E-C evokes a strong C major tonality. Whereas the diads E-B followed by F-C tend to evoke either an F major or E minor tonality. Contrast with Krumansl and Kessler key profiles.

C
caffeine
See stimulants.

cannabis
A common non-prescription or "recreational" depressant drug found in marijuana and hashish. Cannabis is sometimes incorrectly classified as a hallucinogen. However, it's capacity to induce halluncinations is low -- comparable to alcohol (Diaz, 1997; p.200). See depressants.

categorical perception
The tendency to perceive some stimuli as falling into discrete categories rather than in terms of gradients. In categorical perception, a perceptual "boundary" will be evident, even though the pysical phenomenon is continuous.

One of the clearest examples of categorical perception may be found in the perception of color. Physics tells us that a rainbow exhibits a continuous gradient of wavelengths from longer wavelengths (seen as red) to shorter wavelengths (seen as blue). Although the rainbow is physically continuous, our perceptual experience is of discrete "bands" of color: red, yellow, green, etc.

In sound, categorical perception is evident in the perception of phonemic speech categories, such as the distinction between /d/ and /t/. In music, categorical perception is evident in the perception of pitch, interval sizes, chord qualities, and rhythmic categories.


catharsis
The process of purging negative instincts. An important concept in ancient Greeks theory of drama. In viewing (say) portrayals of revenge, anger, or passion, Aristotle suggested that the audience would be less apt to act according to negative instincts. That is, by seeing someone portray a character who goes into a murderous rage, our own instincts to commit murder are somehow purged. In identifying with the character, we recognize the emotions that may lead to a certain action. But at the same time, we recognize that the action is wrong or inappropriate.

cephalic vasodilation
A general increased the diameter of the blood vessels in the brain -- often as part of the orienting response.

click
When the duration of a sound is less than a time threshold (about 20 milliseconds) required for pitch recognition, the sound is heard as a click rather than a tone.

cent
Unit of pitch distance (or interval) corresponding to 1/100th of a semitone. A unit of measure introduced in the late 19th century by Alexander Ellis, and frequently used in studies of non-Western music. There are 1200 cents in an octave). One cent corresponds to a frequency ratio of the 1200th root of 2.

closure
The experience of completion or finality. Points of closure typically occur at the ends of works, with lesser points of closure occuring at phrase boundaries. In speech, the closure of spoken phrases is known to be influenced by five factors: (1) the presence of a silent pause at the phrase boundary, (2) lengthening of the final stressed syllable, (3) a drop in amplitude, (4) phrase-final descending pitch, and (5) stress-rate slowing as the phrase boundary is approached. See also tonal closure, tonality.

cochlea
The snail-shaped bone-encased fluid-filled organ of hearing. Anatomically, the cochlea is regarded as the inner ear. The cochlea receives vibrations conveyed from the timpanic membrane via the small bones of the middle ear. The last of these bones is connected to the oval window of the cochlea. Sound-induced vibrations are communicated to fluid in a tube-shaped chamber that is coiled to make 2 and one-half rotations. Motions of this fluid cause interior membranes (the tectorial and basilar membranes) to be displaced. Hair cells imbedded in these membranes are activated and the resulting neural impulses are communicated to the auditory nerve which exits from the cochlea. The cochlea is roughly the size of the tip of one's little finger. See also outer ear, middle ear, inner ear, pinna, basilar membrane.

cognition
The processes of human or animal thought. The acquisition, understanding, representation and manipulation of knowledge. See also cognitive science, sensation, perception.

cognitive penetrability
A term coined by Pylyshyn to denote the degree to which a cognitive process can be consciously influenced. A cognitive process is deemed to have low cognitive pentrability if it is unresponsive to expectation or conscious thought. See also introspection.

cognitive revolution
A common designation for the shift in popularity during the 1960s away from behaviorism toward cognitive psychology and cognitive science. See cognition.

cognitive science
The study of thought processes in animals (including humans) and machines. A broad field of cognitive research that often emphasizes computational and mathematical modeling. See cognition.

cognitive style
A way of problem-solving or thinking. A distinctive intellectual or perceptual/cognitive approach that is characteristic or preferred by a given individual. Different cognitive styles are thought to exist for mental mathematical calculation. In addition, it is thought that different listening styles exist. See also listening mode.

colored hearing
A form of hearing where particular tones, chords, or keys are associated with specific colors. Colored hearing may arise due to strong associations arising from childhood co-exposure to particular stimuli. Such forms of colored hearing are often associated with absolute pitch. Alternatively, colored hearing may arise due to a neurological condition called synesthesia.

complex tone
The term "complex tone" is used to identify tones consisting of more than one pure frequency component. Often the component frequencies (called partials) of a complex tone are related harmonically, but many times they are not. Occasionally complex tones will produce the sensation of more than one pitch. Whether a tone is recognized as being a single complex tone or a group of simple sine tones is in part dependent on the auditory context, as well as the experience, ability and attitude of the listener. Virtually all naturally occuring tones are complex. Contrast with sine tone.

compound melodic line
See pseudo-polyphony.

consonance
The subjective experience of pleasantness, euphoniousness, smoothness, fusion, or relaxedness evoked by sounds.

The subject of consonance and dissonance has a long history and many theories have been advanced. Some theories relate dissonance to cultural conditioning. Other theories relate dissonance to musical context. At least eleven classes of theories of consonance/dissonance can be defined. These include: (1) frequency ratio theory, (2) harmonic relationship theory, (3) temporal dissonance theory, (4) difference tones theory, (5) tonal fusion theory, (6) tonotopic theory (see
sensory dissonance), (7) virtual pitch theory, (8) expectation theory, (9) interval category theory, (10) absolute pitch category theory, and (11) stream incoherence theory. Further information is available on these theories.

Most theories regard consonance as merely the absence of dissonance. Other theories posit consonance and dissonance as distinct phenemona. See also dissonance, sensory dissonance, tonal fusion.

contralateral
The anatomical arrangement by which some nerves originating on one side of the body are connected to the cerebral hemisphere on the opposite side of the body. For example, nerves which connect the left ear (left cochlea) to the right hemisphere of the brain are said to be contralaterally connected. Contrasts with ipsilateral.

convergent thinking
Deliberate thinking intended to solve some problem or address some task.

converging evidence
The view that we can be most confident of our knowledge when, no matter how we look at a phenomenon, the same answer is supported.

cortex
Anatomical term designating the convoluted or wrinkled surface region of the brain (from the Latin word for the "bark" of a tree). A living brain has a light red-brown color; however, after death the color changes to gray. This color continues until a depth of about an eighth of an inch -- where it changes to white. The surface (historically called "gray matter") constitutes the cerebral cortex. The gray matter coincides with a large mass of nerve cell bodies, while the underlying "white matter" coincides with long axon fibers emanating from the cell bodies in the gray matter. In evolutionary terms, the cortex is the most recent addition to human brains. Much of the higher-level mental functioning of the brain has been traced to cortical locations.

The cortex is divided into left and right
cerebral hemispheres. Four subdivisions or lobes can be identified in each hemisphere: the frontal, temporal, parietal and occipital lobes.

The neural activity of the cortex can be measured using techniques such as electroencephalography. See also subcortical.

cortisol
A hormone whose presence is associated with stress. See also anxiety, Thayer's model of moods.

critical band
A frequency region within which tones interact. There are many forms of such interaction, but the most common is masking where the sounds tend to obscure each other. A common way to define the critical band is the smallest distance beyond which masking no longer occurs. This distance corresponds to roughly 1 millimeter distance along the basilar membrane of the cochlea.

In musical terms, critical bands are roughly a minor third in size in the vicinity of middle C and above. In log frequency terms, critical bands get larger as the register descends below middle C. The following notation indicates the approximate size of critical bands according to tessitura.
It is important to understand that the notated pitches represent pure tones rather than complex tones. As pure tones, each tone activates a region of the basilar membrane roughly one millimeter distant from the neighboring tones. From Huron (2001).

crowding perceptions
Retailers typically try to reduce the amount of physical space required for their business by moving the aisles closer together and raising the heights of the shelves. However, these actions cause consumers to feel unduly crowded. Three factors have been identified as influencing the perceptions of crowding in retail environments. These include (1) aisle width and height, (2) temperature, and (3) noise level. An environment is perceived to be crowded when the aisles are tall and close together, when the temperature is high, and when there is a lot of noise present. Marketing researchers have found that music provides a useful means for masking speech and footfall sounds that customer's associate with crowding. See masking, functional music.

cycle
The action of a vibrating system such that its pattern of change passes through a complete turn of events. The elapsed time for the completion of one cycle is called the period. The number of cycles occuring in one second is called the frequency.

cycles per second
The number of complete repetitions or occurrences in one second. See hertz, see also frequency, cycle,

D
decibel
One-tenth of a bel. The unit of sound level expressed as the logarithm (base-10) of the ratio of two quantities proportional to power.

declination
The tendency in speech for the pitch of a speaker's voice to drop over the course of a phrase or sentence ('t Hart, Collier & Cohen, 1990). This general pitch decline is associated with the reduction of subglottal air pressure as the lungs are exhausted (Cranen & Boves, 1985; Gelfer, Harris & Baer, 1987).

Some evidence exists showing that there is a weak tendency for musical phrases to also exhibit a slight decline in average pitch over the course of the phrase. See also
melodic arch.

deduction
Knowledge claim based on deriving a specific result from one or more general principles. An example is given by the following syllogism: The oboe is a woodwind. All woodwinds are musical instruments. Therefore the oboe is a musical instrument.

depressants
A group of drugs that reduce inhibitions and that generally lower metabolic arousal. The most common depressants include alcohol, barbiturates, cannabis (marijuana and hashish) and antihistamines. Depressants tend to increase a listener's receptiveness to emotions evoked by music. Moderate consumption of alcohol tends to increase the likelihood that an individual will engage in dancing or will sing along with the music. Continued alcohol consumption will tend to increase the likelihood of experiencing nostalgia or sadness. The caricature of the weeping drunk singing a familiar song is not inaccurate. See also stimulants, arousal, epinephrine, synesthesia.

Deutsch Tritone Effect
When listening to Shepards tones, the interval of the tritone is theoretically ambiguous as to whether it is heard ascending or descending. Diana Deutsch discovered that for many listeners, certain tritones tend to be heard as predominantly ascending and others as descending. For example, a listener might hear the D-G# tritone as ascending, while hearing the F-B tritone as descending. Such listeners can be characterized by the position on the chroma circle where the tritone is heard to switch direction.

Curiously, Deutsch discovered that the position of switching in the chroma circle appears to be related to the cultural background of the listener. This effect has been replicated by Bruno Repp with American, British, and Dutch listeners.

The Deutsch Tritone Effect can be accounted for by Terhardt's model of pitch perception. Terhardt argues that pitch perceptions are learned due to exposure to complex harmonic tones. The spectral dominance region for different listeners will depend on their past listening experiences (especially during infancy). Since vowels in different cultures differ in their harmonic content, the spectral dominance region may be expected to shift according to the listener's cultural background.

See also Shepards tone, Shepards illusion, octave-spaced tones, pitch height, pitch chroma.

deviance
Many theories of creativity regard art as a non-destructive outlet for deviant behavior. Artists are more apt to be homosexual, are more apt to suffer from dyslexia, epilepsy, depression, suicidal tendencies, personality disorders, and a host of other mental problems. Artists are also more apt to be `loners' -- although this may be a result of people avoiding them.

dichotic
Different sounds presented to separate ears simultaneously, as in the dichotic presentation of musical stimuli to a listener. Contrasts with diotic. See also monaural. binaural, diotic, monophonic, stereophonic.

diotic
The identical sound presented to both ears simultaneously, as in the diotic presentation of musical stimuli to a listener. Contrasts with dichotic. See also monaural. binaural, dichotic, monophonic, stereophonic.

directed listening
A presumed listening mode. Directed listening entails a form of selective attention to one element of a complex texture; the listener purposely excludes or ignores other aspects of the music. For example, the auditor may attend to a single instrument for a short or prolonged period of time. Directed listening may ensue as a result of a listener's special interest, or may result from suggestions made by others. When a listener is concurrently viewing a notated score, it is possible that a visual attraction or interest in a particular aspect of a score may cause the listener to selectively attend to the corresponding sounds. The well-known Norton Scores use a highlighting method to draw attention to various parts in orchestral scores. These scores thus dispose listeners to adopt a directed listening mode. See distracted listening, tangential listening, metaphysical listening, signal listening, sing-along listening, lyric listening, programmatic listening, allusive listening, reminiscent listening, identity listening, retentive listening, fault listening, feature listening, innovation listening, memory scan listening, distance listening, ecstatic listening, emotional listening, kinesthetic listening, performance listening. See also listening mode, cognitive style.

dishabituation
The phenomenon of re-attending or re-orienting to a stimulus after having habituated to a similar stimulus. In auditory research, habituation typically occurs following several repetitions of the same sound. An ensuing presentation of the stimulus may involve some change to the sound. If the sound is sufficiently changed, the listener may to respond to the sound in a way that indicates the extinguishing of habituation. Typically, dishabituation is indicated by the occurrence of an orienting response or a fear or defense reflex. See also dishabituation paradigm. Contrast with spontaneous recovery.

dishabituation paradigm
A technique used in perceptual research to determine whether a subject hears two stimuli as the same or different. Experiments employing a dishabituation paradigm typically repeat a stimulus until the subject becomes habituated to it. When habituation is complete then a new stimulus is introduced. If the new stimulus is perceived as the same (or similar) to the preceding stimuli then the subject will show no dishabituation. Conversely, if the new stimulus is perceived to differ from the preceding stimuli then the subject will show evidence of dishabituation or orienting to the stimulus.

The dishabituation paradigm is typically used when studying pre-verbal infants or non-human animals. The paradigm is less commonly used among adults since adults can verbally report perceived similarity or difference. See also attention, passive attention, orienting response, habituation, dishabituation, heart rate, tachycardia, bradycardia, P3.


dissonance
The subjective experience of unpleasantness, ugliness, disphonia, roughness, or tenseness evoked by sounds.

The subject of consonance and dissonance has a long history and many theories have been advanced. Some theories relate dissonance to cultural conditioning. Other theories relate dissonance to musical context. A popular theory (known as
sensory dissonance) relates dissonance to responses in the peripheral auditory system.

Most theories regard consonance as merely the absence of dissonance. Other theories posit consonance and dissonance as distinct phenemona. See also consonance, primary auditory phenomena.

dissonances
In music theory, the intervals of the major and minor second, the major and minor seventh, and the tritone, plus their compound equivalents (major and minor ninths, etc.).

Dissonances typically exhibit low
tonal fusion and high sensory dissonance. See also consonance, perfect consonances, mperfect consonances, tonal fusion.

distal cause
The long-range reason for something. See also proximate cause, medial cause.

distance listening
A presumed listening mode that is characterized by an ongoing iterative recapitulation of the music up to the current moment in the work. As the music unfolds, the listener attempts to thread together past events and to build a complete scenario or over-view of the entire work. The distance listener is apt to make mental notes of the advent of new "sections" in the work. Distance listening may be likened to the task of memorizing a list of words. Beginning with a few words, the memorized words are iteratively repeated, each time adding a new word to the memorized list. See distracted listening, tangential listening, metaphysical listening, signal listening, sing-along listening, lyric listening, programmatic listening, allusive listening, reminiscent listening, identity listening, retentive listening, fault listening, feature listening, innovation listening, memory scan listening, directed listening, ecstatic listening, emotional listening, kinesthetic listening, performance listening. See also listening mode, cognitive style.

drone
A sustained or repeated pitch that tends to sound continuously in the background. Drone tones are typically lower in pitch than other pitches used in the music. The choice of a drone pitch is thought to be influenced by consonance and dissonance. See also finalis, most common pitch, tonic, dissonance.

dynamics
The variations of loudness in a musical composition, traditionally expressed through the use of descriptive Italian words such as forte, mezzo-piano, crescendo, sforzando, etc.

distracted listening
A presumed listening mode where the listener pays no conscious attention whatsoever to the music. Typically the listener is occupied with other tasks, and may even be unaware of the existence of the music. See tangential listening, metaphysical listening, signal listening, sing-along listening, lyric listening, programmatic listening, allusive listening, reminiscent listening, identity listening, retentive listening, fault listening, feature listening, innovation listening, memory scan listening, directed listening, distance listening, ecstatic listening, emotional listening, kinesthetic listening, performance listening. See also listening mode, cognitive style.

E
eardrum
See timpanic membrane.

ecstatic listening
A presumed listening mode. The term `ecstatic listening' is meant here in a very concrete and technical way. On occasion music will elicit a sensation of "shivers" localized in the back, neck and shoulders of an aroused listener -- a physiological response technically called frisson. The frisson experience normally has a duration of no more than four or five seconds. It begins as a flexing of the skin in the lower back, rising upward, inward from the shoulders, up the neck, and sometimes across to the cheeks and onto the scalp. The face may become flush, hair follicles flex the hairs into standing position, and goose bumps may appear (piloerection). Frequently, a series of `waves' will rise up the back in rapid succession. The listener feels the music to have elicited an ecstatic moment and tends to regard the experience as involuntary. Goldstein (1980) has shown that some listeners report reduced excitement when under a clinically-administered dose of an opiate receptor antagonist, naloxone -- suggesting that music engenders endogenous opioid peptides characteristic of pleasurable experiences. Sloboda (1991) has found evidence linking "shivers" responses to works especially loved by subjects. See distracted listening, tangential listening, metaphysical listening, signal listening, sing-along listening, lyric listening, programmatic listening, allusive listening, reminiscent listening, identity listening, retentive listening, fault listening, feature listening, innovation listening, memory scan listening, directed listening, distance listening, emotional listening, kinesthetic listening, performance listening. See also listening mode, cognitive style.

efferent nerves
Nerves which convey signals from the brain to various parts of the body. Efferent nerves communicate motor commands to muscles and also cause glands to generate and release various substances. The cochlea maintains both afferent and efferent connections to the brain. Contrasts with afferent nerves.

electroencephalography
The recording of electrical changes in the brain as measured on the surface of the scalp. The recordings themselves are referred to as electroencelphalograms. See also cortex, orienting response, auditory evoked potential, P3, P300, electromyography.

electromyography
The recording of electrical changes in muscles as measured on the surface of the skin. See also orienting response, electroencephalography.

emotional listening
A presumed listening mode where the listening experience is characterized by deeply felt emotion. The music engenders feels of sorrow or joy, resignation, great satisfaction. Occasionally there will be overt signs of emotion, such as the sensation of a lump in one's throat, imminent or overt weeping, or smiling. The emotions may be related to current events in the listener's life, but the feelings are more apt to seem non-specific and to arise `from nowhere'. See distracted listening, tangential listening, metaphysical listening, signal listening, sing-along listening, lyric listening, programmatic listening, allusive listening, reminiscent listening, identity listening, retentive listening, fault listening, feature listening, innovation listening, memory scan listening, directed listening, distance listening, ecstatic listening, kinesthetic listening, performance listening. See also listening mode, cognitive style.

enteric nervous system
That branch of the peripheral nervous system which controls the viscera, including the stomach and intestines.

epinephrine
A hormone released by the adrenal glands (located above the kidneys) associated with increased arousal. Epinephrine is dispersed throughout the body (including the brain). It causes the heart rate to increase and muscles to tense in preparation for physical exertion ("sympathetic response"). Commonly released as part of the fight-or-flight response. See also arousal, norepinephrine, Thayer's model of moods.

episodic memory
Memory pertaining to past events. Examples of episodic memory might include recalling what you heard on the radio yesterday, or recalling a quarrel with your music teacher in the ninth grade. See also memory, echoic memory.

equal temperament
Any set of discrete pitches in which the interval of an octave is divided into a whole number of equal divisions. In traditional Western-European practice, an equally tempered system employing twelve intervals (called semitones) is used.

experiment
A formal method used in empirical research.

empirical
Related to knowledge from observation. See also induction.

exposure effect
The tendency to become more attracted to another person or stimulus due to repeated exposure. Also called the familiarity effect.

expressive aphasia
A neurological disorder which causes a complete or partial loss of the ability to speak. Also known as Broca's aphasia. Contrast with receptive aphasia. See also agnosia, agraphia, alexia, amusia, anomia, aphasia, aprosodia.

expressive aprosodia
A neurological disorder which causes a complete or partial loss of the ability to speak with appropriate prosodic cues. Prosodic elements of speech include pitch inflections and other features that indicate emotional tone -- such as anger, contempt, joy, parody, etc. Contrast with receptive aprosodia. See also agnosia, agraphia, alexia, amusia, anomia, aphasia.

extrospection
The process of observing the behavior of others. Compare introspection.

F
familiarity effect
The tendency to become more attracted to another person or stimulus due to repeated exposure. Also called the exposure effect.

fault listening

A presumed listening mode that arises when the listener is mentally keeping a leger of faults or problems. A high-fidelity buff may note problems in sound reproduction. A conservatory teacher may note mistakes in execution, problems of intonation, ensemble balance, phrasing, etc. A composer is apt to identify what might be considered lapses of skill or instances of poor musical judgment.

Fault listening tends to be adopted as a strategy under three circumstances: (1) where an obvious fault has occurred, the listener switches from a previous listening mode and becomes vigilant for the occurrence of more faults (this is a type of signal listening); (2) where the role of the listener is necessarily critical -- as in tutors, conductors, or music critics; or (3) where the listener has some a priori reason to mistrust the skill or integrity of the composer, performer, conductor, audio system, etc. See distracted listening, tangential listening, metaphysical listening, signal listening, sing-along listening, lyric listening, programmatic listening, allusive listening, reminiscent listening, identity listening, retentive listening, feature listening, innovation listening, memory scan listening, directed listening, distance listening, ecstatic listening, emotional listening, kinesthetic listening, performance listening. See also listening mode, cognitive style.


feature listening
A presumed listening mode that is is characterized by the listener's disposition to identify major "features" that occur in the work -- such as motifs, distinctive rhythms, instrumentation, etc. The listener identifies the recurrence of such features, and also identifies the evolutions or changes which the features undergo. The "feature listening" mode may be considered superficially to be a creative union of two other listening modes: retentive listening (identification and remembrance of features), and signal listening (recognition of previously occurring features). See distracted listening, tangential listening, metaphysical listening, signal listening, sing-along listening, lyric listening, programmatic listening, allusive listening, reminiscent listening, identity listening, retentive listening, fault listening, innovation listening, memory scan listening, directed listening, distance listening, ecstatic listening, emotional listening, kinesthetic listening, performance listening. See also listening mode, cognitive style.

finalis
1. The pitch that ends a melody or piece. 2. The pitch that most frequently terminates the phrases of a melody or piece. Compare tonic, drone, most common pitch.

focal stimulus

The epitome of a prototype. A focal stimulus is the single best examplar of something. Levitin (1996) has shown that possessors of absolute pitch do not perceive pitches categorically. When asked: what is the best A4, AP-possessors will judge a frequency of 440 Hz as better than 435 Hz or 445 Hz. As the frequency of the stimulus more closely approaches 440 Hz, AP-possessors judge the tone as "a better `A'". Focal stimuli are "ideal" examples of something.

See also prototype.

forward masking
See masking.

frequency
Rate of occurrence or rate or repetition. Frequency is measured in hertz (abbreviated Hz), where one hertz is defined as a single cycle per second. Frequencies which are audible to the human ear (frequencies roughly between about 20 Hz and 20,000 Hz) are often called audio frequencies. Compare pitch.

frisson
An experience, commonly associated with especially moving or ecstatic listening moments, where a sensation of "shivers" occurs. The frisson experience begins as a flexing of the skin in the lower back, rising upward, inward from the shoulders, up the neck, and sometimes across to the cheeks and onto the scalp. The face may become flush, hair follicles flex the hairs into standing position, and goose bumps may appear (piloerection). Frequently, a series of `waves' will rise up the back in rapid succession. The experience lasts no more than four or five seconds. The listener feels the music to have elicited an ecstatic moment and tends to regard the experience as involuntary. See also ecstatic listening, topical behaviors.

functional music
A generic name given to commercial closed-circuit or restricted-broadcast music whose purpose is to achieve specific goals, such as enhancing worker productivity in office and industrial establishments. The best-know functional music is Muzak -- a Seattle-based company founded in 1936. Other providers of commercial functional music include Rowe International, Ditchburn, Tape-Athon, Magnetronics, Audio Environments, Yesco and the 3M Corporation.

Functional music has been designed to increase worker productivity; to reduce anxiety in elevators, hospitals, and aircraft; to mask noises and contribute to a pleasant atmosphere in retail and restaurant environments. There are even special functional music programs intended to be used in stables in order to calm race horses. See also crowding perceptions, Muzak for workplaces.

fundamental frequency
The principal frequency component of a complex harmonic or pseudo-harmonic tone; the basic cycle of repetition for a periodic waveform. The fundamental frequency is common (though not always) associated with the perceived pitch of a tone.

G
gap fill
A proposed psychological tendency for listeners to expect a missing scale tone to be played, especially when a large leap skips over the missing pitch. For example, a hypothetical pitch sequence A-C is thought to cause the listener to expect the skipped pitch (B) to appear soon. The concept of "gap fill" was proposed by Leonard Meyer in Emotion and Meaning in Music (1956). Contrast with registral return.

gross behavior
Any behavior that entails movement or change of body posture. Examples of gross behaviors associated with music would include playing an instrument, going to a concert, toe-tapping, shifting body posture, and notating music. Compare metabolic behavior, and verbal behavior.

H
habituation
The process of decreasing responsiveness to a recurring stimulus. The simplest form of learning. Habituation is known to depend on four factors: (1) the rate of stimulus repetition, (2) the regularity of repetition, (3) the magnitude of the stimulus, and (4) the history of past cycles of habituation and spontaneous recovery. See also dishabituation, dishabituation paradigm.

harmonic
(Adjective:) The relationship between two frequencies such that one frequency is an integer multiple of the other (e.g., the frequencies 101 Hz and 303 Hz are harmonically related since 101 x 3 = 303).

(Noun:) Harmonically-related (or nearly harmonically related) frequencies are called harmonics. Harmonics are of special interest because of some unique auditory properties. Many natural vibrators oscillate such that they produce several harmonics simultaneously. For example, if the first harmonic (or fundamental) of some complex tone is of frequency 200 Hz, subsequent harmonics might be of frequencies 400, 600, 800, 1000, 1200 Hz, etc. -- called the harmonic series. Compare inharmonic, pseudo-harmonic.

harmonic series
Any numerical sequence of ascending frequencies where successive numbers are integral multiples or share a large common divisor. For example: the sequence 100, 200, 300, 400, ... represents a harmonic series, as does 29, 58, 87, 116, ... The sequence 500, 700, 930, 1190 ... is not a harmonic series, while 100, 150, 200, 250, ... is considered an incomplete harmonic series because of the missing first harmonic component (50). The frequency components of naturally occuring complex tones often conform to the harmonic series. See also harmonic, inharmonic, pseudo-harmonic. inharmonicity, Fourier analysis. inharmonic, Contrast with reductionism.

heart rate
(abbrev. HR) The speed of the beating heart measured in beats per minute. A number of acoustical factors are known to influence the heart rate of listeners. Sounds that are associated with fear or concern tend to produce an increase in heart rate. Sounds that command our attention tend to evoke a momentary decrease in heart rate, followed by a brief increased in heart rate. This latter response is characteristic of the orienting response. See also passive attention, bradycardia, tachycardia, personality.

hertz
The unit of frequency, defined as the number of cycles or complete oscillations per second. The unit is named after the German scientist Heinrich Hertz. It is abbreviated using an upper-case initial letter (Hz) and is written in full using an lower-case initial letter (hertz).

heterophony
One of four classic musical textures in which the music is based on two or more versions of a melody or line played concurrently. Heterophony is often likened to a musical "braid" in which several different renditions of the same melody are sounded simultaneously. Commonly, a heterophonic texture is created by a single vocalist and one or more instrumentalists embellishing the same musical line. Heterophony is uncommon in Western music. Many examples can be found in the music of north Africa and the Middle East. See also monophony, homophony, polyphony.

Hick-Hyman Law
A classic law of perceptual learning. Research has shown that response times are related to familiarity with the stimulus. The greater the past exposure, the faster the response times. For example, suppose we display a series of photographs of people's faces and ask whether the person is looking to the left or to the right. Viewers will respond faster for photographs of well-known politicians and actors, than for unfamiliar faces.

Simpson and Huron (1994) showed that musicians posessing absolute pitch respond in a way consistent with the Hick-Hyman law. When asked to respond as quickly as possible, the fastest responses times are for notes like C and G (which occur frequently in music), and more slowly for notes like F and B (which occur less frequently in music). The slowest responses occur for rarely occuring pitches, like A# and D#. The response time is proportional to the information content of the pitches -- indicating the absolute pitch is a learned phenomenon. See absolute pitch.

holism
The explanation of phenomena where complex wholes are regarded as being greater than the sum of its parts (a process dubbed synergism) and that there are "emergent properties." A holist assumes that complex phenomena cannot be explained merely in terms of simpler processes. Contrast with reductionism.

homophony
One of four classic musical textures in which the music is based on a succession of block chords or sonorities. Examples of homophonic textures include four-part hymns, and strummed guitar chords. See also monophony, polyphony, pseudo-polyphony, heterophony.

humanism
A belief in spirit and consciousness as fundamental, and not reducible to mechanical descriptions. Contrast with mechanism.

I
identity listening
A presumed listening mode that arises when a listener is engaged in asking any "what is" question regarding the music. Typical "what is" questions are: What is this instrument I am listening to? Is that a Neapolitan sixth chord? What is the meter signature? What language are the lyrics in? Who might the composer be? What is the style of this music called? etc. Identity listening often employs allusive listening as a problem-solving tactic. See distracted listening, tangential listening, metaphysical listening, signal listening, sing-along listening, lyric listening, programmatic listening, allusive listening, reminiscent listening, retentive listening, fault listening, feature listening, innovation listening, memory scan listening, directed listening, distance listening, ecstatic listening, emotional listening, kinesthetic listening, performance listening. See also listening mode, cognitive style.

image
The mental representation associated with some sensory experience. See stream, auditory streaming.

imperfect consonances
In music theory, those intervals that are neither perfect nor dissonant. Specifically, the intervals of the major and minor third, the major and minor sixth, and their compound equivalents (major and minor tenths, etc.).

Imperfect consonances typically exhibit low
tonal fusion and low sensory dissonance. See also consonance, perfect consonances, dissonances, tonal fusion.

imprinting
A social attachment to some object or individual, formed during a critical period of development. A form of learning.

induction
Knowledge claim based on generalizing from specific examples. For example, a research might study 1,000 people of varying ages and find that the younger people in this sample prefer faster tempos than the older people in the sample. The result may only be true of the 1,000 people studied, yet we often presume that, if the sample is randomly obtained, the result is true of the larger population. Philosophers have long recognized that it is logical untenable to generalize from specific examples. However, such inductive reasoning is very often correct.

See also
auditory induction.

inharmonic
A partial is considered "inharmonic" when its frequency is not an integer multiple of a given fundamental frequency. Two- and three-dimensional vibrators (such as plates, drumheads, bells and gongs) typically produce inharmonic partials. Inharmonic is used both as an adjective and as a noun. Compare harmonic, pseudo-harmonic. See also inharmonicity.

inharmonicity
Partial components of a complex tone may be characterized according to the degree to which their frequencies conform with the harmonic series of overtones. harmonics; partials that vaguely correspond are called pseudo-harmonics; partials that are clearly different are called inharmonics. Inharmonicity is a descriptive term applied to the cumulative effect of inharmonic components -- the greater the inharmonicity, the greater the "clangorousness" of the sound.

inner ear
One of three conceptual anatomical divisions for the organ of hearing, including also the outer ear and the middle ear. The inner ear consists of a snail-shaped fluid-filled bony structure also known as the cochlea. The cochlea receives vibrations conveyed from the small bones of the middle ear and the resulting neural impulses are communicated to the auditory nerve. See also middle ear, outer ear.

innovation listening
A presumed listening mode that is a variant of allusive listening. Where allusive listening is based on the recognition of similarities to previous compositions, innovation listening is based on the identification of significant musical novelty. Innovation listening is characterized by a vigilant listening-in-readiness for a musical feature, gesture, or technique that is unprecedented in the listener's experience. Composers may be especially prone to engage in innovation listening: Stravinsky is reported to have claimed that the art of composition is the subtle art of disguising novel ideas `stolen' from others. See distracted listening, tangential listening, metaphysical listening, signal listening, sing-along listening, lyric listening, programmatic listening, allusive listening, reminiscent listening, identity listening, retentive listening, fault listening, feature listening, memory scan listening, directed listening, distance listening, ecstatic listening, emotional listening, kinesthetic listening, performance listening. See also listening mode, cognitive style.

instinct
An innate, goal-directed behavior often characterized by a strong compulsion or motivation.

intertone
The subjectively perceived tone resulting when two (primary) tones of nearly equal frequency, produce beats. The pitch of this compromise or intertone lies between the two primary tones. (American National Standards Institute, Psychoacoustical Terminology, S3.20 (1973) p.23). See also pitches.

interval

The distance between two pitches, usually labelled using one of the following systems: (1) the ratio of two frequencies, (2) in semitones,, (3) in cents, or (4) according to the diatonic/chromatic interval system of traditional Western music theory.

Burns and Ward (1978) showed that for Western musicians, pitch intervals are perceived categorically.


intimacy
The quality of an acoustic signal in which a listener's impression is of a small, close, or intimate space. A term used in architectural acoustics to denote the time interval which elapses between the arrival of the direct sound and the arrival of the first reflection from the nearest wall or ceiling. Intimate sounds tend to have a significant first reflection less that 20 milliseconds after the arrival of the direct sound. See also proximity, reverberation, reverberation time. (L.L. Beranek, Music, Acoustics & Architecture, 1962, p.63).

introspection
The process of mental self-observation or self-examination. See phenomenology, cognitive penetrability. Compare extrospection.

ipsilateral
The anatomical arrangement by which some nerves originating on one side of the body are connected to the cerebral hemisphere on the same side of the body. For example, nerves which connect the left ear (left cochlea) to the left hemisphere of the brain are said to be ipsilaterally connected. Contrasts with contralateral.

J
James-Lange theory
A theory of emotion which argues that emotional stimuli endender physiological responses, and that emotions arise from the experience of these physiological states. For example, the James-Lange theory claims that one feels sad because one is crying -- in contrast to the view that one crys because one feels sad.

jitter
The variability in frequency as measured from cycle to cycle. A type of pseudo-periodic modulation of frequency that is typically faster, narrower, and less controlled than vibrato. Increased jitter is associated with increased emotionality. Note that vocal jitter tends to increase with age, hence older people sometimes speak in a way which makes them appear to be in a state of heightened emotion. See also frequency modulation, pseudo-periodic, shimmer.

JND
Just noticeable difference. Perceptual limen.

K
kinesthetic listening
A presumed listening mode that is characterized by the auditor's compulsion to move. Feet may tap, hands may conduct, or the listener may feel the urge to dance. The experience is not so much one of `listening' to the music, as the music `permeating' the body. Kinesthetic listening is best described as `motivation' rather than `contemplation'. See distracted listening, tangential listening, metaphysical listening, signal listening, sing-along listening, lyric listening, programmatic listening, allusive listening, reminiscent listening, identity listening, retentive listening, fault listening, feature listening, innovation listening, memory scan listening, directed listening, distance listening, ecstatic listening, emotional listening, performance listening. See also listening mode, cognitive style.

Krumhansl and Kessler key profiles
Carol Krumhansl and Ed Kessler used the probe tone technique to study the nature of tonality. Krumhansl and Kessler (1982) played a key-defining context consisting of an ascending (major or harmonic minor) scale, or a key-defining chord progression. After each repetition of the key-defining passage, a different tone was played and listeners were asked to judge how well the tone fit. Krumhansl and Kessler found a distinctive and stable pattern of response for the major and minor keys. In both modes, the tonic pitch was rated most highly, and non-scale tones were rated the lowest. More specifically, a four-level hierarchy was evident for both the major and minor keys: (1) the most important pitch is the tonic, (2) followed by the remaining tones of the tonic triad (i.e. dominant and mediant pitches), (3) followed by the other notes belonging to the scale, (4) followed by the non-scale tones.

The "key profiles" can be used estimate the key of a passage. See Krumhansl and Schmuckler algorithm. See also Butler's diads, schema.

See also probe tone technique, anchoring.

Krumhansl and Schmuckler algorithm
A technique for estimating the key of some arbitrary musical passage. The technique makes use of the Krumhansl and Kessler key profiles.

The algorithm works as follows. Without regard for enharmonic spellings, all pitch-classes in the passage are counted resulting in 12 values. For example, a passage may contain 14 C's, 2 C#'s, 8 D's, and so on. These 12 values are then correlated with the major key profile where C is deemed the tonic. Similarly, the 12 values are then correlated with the minor key profile where C is deemed the tonic. The process is repeated for all possible tonics: C-sharp/D-flat, D, D-sharp/E-flat, E, etc. After correlations have been calculated for all 24 major and minor pitch-class keys, the estimated key for the passage is given by the largest positive correlation.

The key estimations arising from the Krumhansl and Kessler algorithm tend to reflect tonality judgements made by listeners hearing the same passage. The algorithm appears to be about 85% correct for common musical passages.

See also probe tone technique.

L
label
In some cases, listeners attach conscious labels to perceptual categories or cognitive states. Examples include mentally identifying a chord as major or minor, identifying the size of a musical interval, etc. In most cases, listeners will experience such stimuli without evoking a conscious label. See also categorical perception.

listening mode
A way of listening to music. A distinctive perceptual or cognitive approach to music listening. Listeners often exhibit preferred or habitual ways of listening to music. These include distracted listening, tangential listening, metaphysical listening, signal listening, sing-along listening, lyric listening, programmatic listening, allusive listening, reminiscent listening, identity listening, retentive listening, fault listening, feature listening, innovation listening, memory scan listening, directed listening, distance listening, ecstatic listening, emotional listening, kinesthetic listening, performance listening. See also cognitive style.

loudness
The subjective psychological correlate of amplitude or sound intensity. Perceived loudness depends on many factors, including frequency, timbre, amplitude, duration, etc. To a certain degree perceived loudness is also dependent on experience and learning. See primary auditory phenomena.

lullaby
A lullaby (or cradle song) is a song intended to lull or pacify an infant by reducing the infant's level of arousal. Lullabies exhibit many of the features found in infant-directed (ID) speech. Unyk, Trehub, Trainor and Schellenberg (1992) carried out a study in which 28 recorded lullabies from a wide variety of cultures were matched with 28 non-lullaby songs from the same cultures. Unyk et al found the average pitch of the lullabies to be higher, and the number of changes of direction in pitch contour to be fewer. In addition, compared with the non-lullaby songs, the lullabies tended to employ a greater proportion of descending pitch intervals -- consistent with the descending pitch contours prevalent in "soothing speech."

lyric listening
A presumed listening mode. In music containing lyrics, a listener may pay special attention to "catching" the lyrics and attending to their meaning. Lyric listening is possible only when the music contains lyrics in a language which is understood by the listener. Where the lyrics of a work are well known to a listener, the lyrics themselves may act as mnemonics for a form of "sing-along listening." See distracted listening, tangential listening, metaphysical listening, signal listening, sing-along listening, programmatic listening, allusive listening, reminiscent listening, identity listening, retentive listening, fault listening, feature listening, innovation listening, memory scan listening, directed listening, distance listening, ecstatic listening, emotional listening, kinesthetic listening, performance listening. See also listening mode, cognitive style.

M
masking
The difficulty or impossibility of hearing one sound due to the presence of another sound. Masking commonly results when a loud (masker) sound occurs concurrently with a quieter (masked) sound. Masking may also occur even when the masker and masked sounds don't sound concurrently: if the masking sound follows after the masked sound in time, the effect is know as backward masking; when a masking sound appears prior to the masked sound it is called forward masking. See also critical band, crowding perceptions.

McGurk Effect
A demonstration of the primacy of visual information over auditory information in speech. McGurk edited videotapes of people speaking syllables such as /ba/, /da/, /va/, /tha/ and added a perfectly synchronized sound-track that conveys the syllable /ga/. Instead of reporting the syllable /ga/, subjects will report hearing the syllable corresponding to what they see. In other words, when subjects are provided with close-up visual information of a moving mouth, the visual information tends to take precedence over the auditory information.

mechanism
In philosophy, a belief in a mechanical conception of life and consciousness. A belief that there is no essential mystery or enigma -- there is only our ignorance of how things work. Contrast with humanism.

medial cause
The short- or medium-range cause of something. See also proximate cause, distal cause.

melodic anchoring
See anchoring.

melodic arch
A marked tendency for melodic phrases to (on average) rise and then fall in pitch over the course of the phrase. The following graph shows an average pitch contour for over six thousand 7-note phrases from European folksongs. The X-axis indicates the average pitch height (in semitones above middle C) for successive note positions.



Further information is available regarding the
melodic arch. See also declination.

memory
Those mental functions that allow a person to recall, or act on the basis of past events or experiences. See associative memory, short-term memory, primacy, recency, memory scan listening.

memory scan listening
A presumed listening mode that is possible when a listener knows a work by memory. An auditor may approach a memorized work with a question concerning the occurrence of a certain event: For example, the auditor may be interested in knowing whether the composer has used timpani in a given work; or does the word "but" occur in the lyrics to "Row Row Row Your Boat?" The scan listener will mentally execute a speedy rendition of a work in order to answer a given question. What distinguishes scan listening from signal listening is that the auditor tends to be impatient: the tempo of the music can be doubled or quadrupled to advantage for the scan listener. See distracted listening, tangential listening, metaphysical listening, signal listening, sing-along listening, lyric listening, programmatic listening, allusive listening, reminiscent listening, identity listening, retentive listening, fault listening, feature listening, innovation listening, directed listening, distance listening, ecstatic listening, emotional listening, kinesthetic listening, performance listening. See also listening mode, cognitive style.

metabolic behavior
Metabolic behaviors include internal physiological changes, such as changes of heart-rate, depth and rate of breathing, electroencephalographic changes (i.e. "brain waves"), changes of hormone levels, and so forth. In addition, metabolic behaviors can be deemed to include so-called "topical" changes -- that is, changes to the surface of the skin, such as goose bumps (piloerection) and weeping. Compare gross behavior, verbal behavior, and topical.

metaphysical listening
A presumed listening mode similar to distracted listening insofar as the listener may not be especially attentive to the on-going perceptual experience. But the listener may be engaged in thinking about questions of some importance related to the work, such as: what motivated the composer to write this work? what does this music mean? why do I find this work so appealing? etc. See distracted listening, tangential listening, signal listening, sing-along listening, lyric listening, programmatic listening, allusive listening, reminiscent listening, identity listening, retentive listening, fault listening, feature listening, innovation listening, memory scan listening, directed listening, distance listening, ecstatic listening, emotional listening, kinesthetic listening, performance listening. See also listening mode, cognitive style.

middle ear
One of three conceptual anatomical divisions for the organ of hearing, including also the outer ear and the inner ear. The air-filled ear cavity located behind the eardrum or timpanic membrane. The middle ear contains three small bones ossicles. that connect the timpanic membrane to the oval window of the cochlea. The cavity can be vented to the outside world via the eustachian tube.

millisecond
Unit of time equivalent to one thousandth of a second.

mnemonic
Easy to remember.

mnemonics
Conscious techniques or strategies used to aid memory.

modulation
The process of shifting from one key or key area to another within a single musical work or passage. Modulations typically move to closely related keys as defined by the circle of fifths or by the key torus. See also tonal closure. Krumhansl and Kessler key profiles.

monaural
Pertaining to a single ear, as in the monaural presentation of musical stimuli to a listener. Contrasts with binaural. See also binaural, diotic, dichotic. monophonic, stereophonic.

Mondegreen Effect
The phenomenon of mis-hearing something -- often caused by invoking an incorrect or inappropriate schema.

The phenomenon was dubbed the Mondegreen Effect by Jon Carroll who misheard the lyrics for the folk ballad "The Earl O'Moray:"
Oh, ye highlands and ye lowlands,
Oh, where have ye been?
They have slain the Earl of Moray
And Lady Mondegreen.
In fact, the correct lyrics for the final two lines are:
They have slain the Earl of Moray
And laid him on the green.
Steven Pinker (1994) has identified a number of other examples of the Mondegreen effect, including:
A girl with colitis goes by. [A girl with kaleidoscope eyes. From the Beatles song "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds."]

He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes are wrapped and stored. [... grapes of wrath are stored. From "The Battle Hymn of the Republic."]
It is likely that Mondegreen effects also occur in mis-hearing rhythms, meters, timbres, and harmonies. However, most listeners are unaware of situations where they are hearing a musical passage in a way that departs from how the composer (or other listeners) hear the passage.

monophonic
A method of sound reproduction based on a single channel for recording and playback. Contrasts with stereophonic. Not to be confused with monophony. See also monaural, binaural, diotic, dichotic, stereophonic.

monophony
One of four classic musical textures in which the music is based on a single melody or single line of sound. Monophony is typically performed by a single vocalist or instrumentalist, or by a group of vocalists/instrumentalists performing in unison. See also homophony, polyphony, pseudo-polyphony, heterophony.

mood
A background feeling that extends over a length of time and which appears to have no specific cause or origin. (Contrast emotion and temperament.) Examples of moods include feeling tired, feeling grumpy, feeling agitated, feeling contented, or feeling energized. Moods are accessible to introspection so we can describe how we feel.

While many cultural differences are evident, listeners nevertheless show a cross-cultural similarity when characterizing the moods evoked by various musical works -- including sadness, exhuberance, etc.

Mood regulation (i.e. changing or enhancing moods) is possibly the most common "use" of recorded or broadcast music. Thayer (1996) found that roughly 50% of respondents use music to temper or eliminate a bad mood. See Thayer's model of moods.

most common pitch

The most common pitch occurring in a musical piece, passage, or melody. The modal pitch (in the statistical sense of that word).

When exposed to any scale system, listeners tend to experience the most common pitch as the most most stable pitch. With exposure, the most common pitch tends to to be heard as a tonic. In music from many cultures, the final pitch of a melody also tends to be the most common pitch. Compare finalis, drone, tonic.


Muzak
A company founded in 1936 to provide commercial functional music. Muzak products include Muzak for workplaces.

Muzak for workplaces
A type of music designed to increase worker productivity in office and manufacturing environments. This is achieved by manipulating the arousal levels of listeners without attracting the listener's attention. The stimulus level of the music is manipulated over the course of the work day to compensate for typical changes of tonic arousal. Specifically, the stimulus levels are chosen to compensate for the Burris-Meyer and Cardinell fatigue curve.

N
Nakamura's experiments
Nakamura (1980, 1982, 1987) showed that crescendos (continuous increased of loudness) are more easily recognized by listeners than equivalent diminuendos (decreasing loudness). This is true for both musical and non-musical passages. See also attention, and ramp archetype.

nicotine
See stimulants.

noradrenaline
See norepinephrine.

norepinephrine
A hormone released by the adrenal glands (located above the kidneys) associated with increased arousal. Norepinephrine is delivered diffusely throughout the brain with particularly elevated amounts being delivered to the sensory regions of the brain surface or cerebral cortex. It raises the sensitivity of the sensory systems and is commonly released as part of the fight-or-flight response. arousal, epinephrine.

numerosity
The subjective impression of the number of concurrent sound sources. Numerosity is related to the degree of tonal fusion, and the number of auditory streams. See also primary auditory phenomena.

O
octave
A musical term denoting an interval of pitch between two pitches whose frequencies are related in the approximate ratio of 2:1. Since exact octaves are frequently not always precisely related by a 2:1 frequency ratio, psychoacousticians have also defined the octave as the pitch interval between two tones such that one tone is perceived as duplicating the basic musical import of the other tone at the nearest possible higher or lower pitch. (American National Standards Institute, Psychoacoustical Terminology, S3.20, 1973; p.34). See also cent, semitone.

octave-spaced tones
A complex tone consisting of only octave partials. Typically, all audible octave partials are included in such tones. For example, an octave-spaced tone might consist of pure tones at the following frequencies: 50 Hz, 100 Hz, 200 Hz, 400 Hz, 800 Hz, 1,600 Hz, 3,200 Hz, 6,400 Hz, and 12,800 Hz. Similarly, an octave-spaced tone might consist of pure tones tuned to the following pitches: C#1, C#2, C#3, C#4, C#5, C#6, C#7, C#8, C#9, C#10.

Octave-spaced tones are often used as a simple way of approximating Shepards tones. Octave spaced tones differ from Shepards tones in that the amplitudes for all of the partials are equivalent. See also Shepards tone.

onset
The initial porition of a sound envelope. For most natural sounds, the onset is typically complex. The onset of a sound is often (though not always) perceptually important for identifying sounds.

orienting response
An involuntary response indicative of passive attention. Our best hearing and vision occur when stimuli are located directly in front of us, so orienting in the direction of the stimulus facilitates gathering information. The gross orienting response entails moving our head (or eyes) in the direction of a stimulus. However, less evident orienting responses can be observed by characteristic metabolic changes. This include: increased skin conductance (due to perspiration), pupil dilation, heart rate deceleration, (bradycardia), cephalic vasodilation, peripheral vasoconstriction, electromyographic effects, and electroencephalographic effects (P3). See also attention, dishabituation. Compare with arousal.

ossicles
The three small bones located in the middle ear, including the hammer (malleus), anvil (incus), and stirrup (stapes). See also cochlea, oval window, timpanic membrane.

outer ear
One of three conceptual anatomical divisions for the organ of hearing, including also the middle ear and the inner ear. The outer ear consists of the exterior ear or pinna, plus the tube-shaped ear canal. The outer ear terminates at the eardrum or timpanic membrane.

overtone
1. Any simple sine tone (not necessarily harmonic) which exists above a fundamental frequency and which fuses with other components to form a single complex tone; any partial that occurs above the perceived pitch of a complex tone. Contrast with undertone.

2. The term overtone has frequently been used interchangeably with harmonic -- meaning a simple frequency component of a complex tone which is an integer multiple of some given fundamental frequency. The fundamental frequency (or simply "fundamental") is also called the first harmonic, but is not called an overtone. The second harmonic is referred to as the first overtone, the third harmonic is called the second overtone, and so on.

P
P3
A feature found in the auditory evoked potential as measured in an electroencephalogram. When a sound is heard, the near simultaneous firing of millions of neurons can be recorded. The fluctuations of voltage display a stereotypic behavior for the first half second or so. The first positive peak in the electroencephalogram is referred to as "P1"; The first negative trough in the electroencephalogram is referred to as "N1". The third positive peak (P3) occurs roughly 300 milliseconds after the onset of the sound. P3 has been shown to correlate with important subjective phenomena. When P3 occurs especially soon (so-called "early P3"), it has been shown that listeners are more likely have paid attention to the sound. That is, occurrences of early P3 indicate orienting responses characteristic of moments of passive attention. See auditory evoked potential.

P300
Same as P3.

partial
Any simple sine tone component that fuses perceptually with other components to form a complex tone. Partials need not be harmonics and may occur either above or below the fundamental frequency. harmonics, overtones undertones and inharmonics are all types of partials.

passive attention
The condition where a stimulus attracts our mental consideration. Passive attention arises when a stimulus itself grabs a peron's attention. In contrast to active attention, passive attention is involuntary. Passive attention is often signalled by an orienting response. See also attention. Compare with arousal.

perception
The process by which sensations are assembled into a mental representation of the external world. See also cognition, sensation.

perfect consonances
In music theory, the intervals of the unison (P1), fourth (P4) and fifth (P5), plus their compound equivalents (octave, twelfth, etc.).

Perfect consonances typically exhibit high
tonal fusion and low sensory dissonance. See also consonance, imperfect consonances, dissonances, tonal fusion.

perfect pitch
See absolute pitch.

performance listening
A presumed listening mode. When performers listen to works that are part of their own repertoire, they may experience a form of vicarious performance. For conductors, instrumentalists, and vocalists, arms, fingers, and vocal cords may subliminally re-create the gestures and performance actions involved during actual performance. In such cases, listening may be mediated by an acute awareness of the listener's body. For example, musical passages that are difficult to execute may evoke a heightened sense of tension -- whether or not the sonic gesture conveys some musical tension. See distracted listening, tangential listening, metaphysical listening, signal listening, sing-along listening, lyric listening, programmatic listening, allusive listening, reminiscent listening, identity listening, retentive listening, fault listening, feature listening, innovation listening, memory scan listening, directed listening, distance listening, ecstatic listening, emotional listening, kinesthetic listening, See also listening mode, cognitive style.

period
The elapsed time between the beginning and end of a single cycle of a periodic waveform. The period of a sound is inversely proportional to its frequency.

periodic
Any simple or complex function is described as periodic if it has an identifiable cycle of identical repetition. When the rate of recurrence or frequency of repetition lies within the range of human hearing, the resulting sound will convey a sense of pitch. (Note: All pitched sounds are not necessarily periodic, and only periodic sounds which lie in the audible range are pitched.) Complex periodic functions may be analyzed into simple periodic components by the process of fourier analysis. Functions which are not periodic are referred to as aperiodic or non-periodic. See also pseudo-periodic, cycle, complex tone, waveform, frequency.

peripheral vasoconstriction
A general decrease in the diameter of the blood vessels in the limbs and extremeties (fingers & toes) -- often as part of the defense reflex or fight/flight response.

peripheral vasodilation
A general increase in the diameter of the blood vessels in the limbs and extremeties (fingers & toes) -- often as part of the orienting response.

personality
The temperament or characteristic qualities of a person.

Extroverts are known to experience
acrophase later in the day than introverts.

When exposed to a simple 80 dB sine tone, individuals who score high on non-socialized sensation seeking are more likely to respond with bradycardic heart response. By contrast, those individuals who score low on non-socialized sensation seeking are more likely to experience a tachycardic heart response.

phase
Two periodic functions may be identical in all respects except that corresponding points of their cycles are offset in time. The amount of offset may be measured in seconds or milliseconds, however phase offsets are more commonly measured in radians or degrees, where 2 radians or 360 degrees is considered one full cycle. When the phase offset of two identical functions is 180 degrees, they are said to be out of phase. Their summation will result in total cancellation of the sound function.

phasic arousal
Short-lived changes of arousal arising from environmental stimuli or from various thoughts. Phasic arousal levels may arise in response to unexpected stimuli -- such as when a door is slammed shut by the wind. In general, arousing sounds are those sounds that imply either threat or opportunity. Typically, arousing sounds display one or more of the following properties: (1) loud sounds, (2) physically close sounds, (3) approaching sounds, (4) unexpected sounds, (5) sounds that have a learned association with danger, (6) sounds that have a learned association with opportunity, (7) sounds that are intended for us or addressed to us, and (8) sounds that indicate a high level of emotionality. See also arousal, tonic arousal. arousal, tonic arousal.

phenomenology
A formal method used in introspection. One approach to observation-based (or empirical) knowledge. See also cognitive penetrability, extrospection.

pink noise
A type of broad-band noise. Pink noise may be considered a unique type of white noise. Like white noise, pink noise contains all frequencies within a specified range (usually the entire audible range). However, the noise within each musical interval (for example, within the interval of an octave) is present in equal amplitudes. Hence the total amplitude for the range 100 Hz to 200 Hz is the same as for the range 800 Hz to 1600 Hz. Compared with white noise, pink noise has greater power in the lower frequency range.

pinna
The exterior visible part of the ear. A component of the ear which, with the ear canal and timpanic membrane (eardrum) is antomically considered to be part of the outer ear. The shape of the pinna is known to facilitate sound localization. See also cochlea, basilar membrane.

pitch
The mental sensation of "highness" or "lowness" of a tone; a psychological/musical term denoting the mental correlate of frequency. Although the perception of pitch is purely a psychological phenomenon, pitch is usually expressed by a physical correlate -- frequency (expressed in hertz -- Hz).

Psychoacoustic and phenomenological evidence indicates that pitch consists of two components: pitch height and pitch chroma.

A proposed psychological unit for pitch named the mel has failed to be widely adopted.

See also absolute pitch, pitch salience, pitch weight, pitch unit, residue pitch, virtual pitch, toneness, primary auditory phenomena.

For further details, see Ernst Terhardt's article Definition of pitch.

pitch chroma
The "circular" dimension of pitch by which tones an octave apart may be deemed to be interchangeable. The sense of "C"-ness, "D"-ness, "F#"-ness, etc. See also Shepards tone, pitch class. Contrast with pitch height.

pitch class
A music-theoretic term equivalent to pitch chroma. The class of all "C", "D", "F#", etc.

pitch height
The psychological dimension of pitch independent of pitch chroma. Two tones may share the same pitch chroma (e.g. both C#), but differ in their perceived "height" (e.g. C#4 versus C#5).. Two factors influence pitch height -- the fundamental frequency implied by some harmonic series, and the center of spectral energy. See spectral centroid, pitch.

pitch weight
The mental sensation of pitch clarity. Evoked pitches may diffuse and poor quality (such as a breathy whistle), or clear and focussed (such as a note played on the oboe). Tones exhibiting clear pitches are said to have a high pitch weight. Very low frequencies tend to sound like vague rumbles. Similarly, frequencies above about 5,000 Hz tend to sound like indistinct "sizzles" devoid of pitch. For pure tones, the greatest pitch weight occurs near 700 Hz. For complex tones, the greatest pitch weight occurs near 300 Hz (i.e., near D4 immediately above middle C). In general, complex tones evoke clearer pitch sensations than pure tones of the same fundamental frequency.

pitch salience
The noticeability of a given pitch. Often the greatest pitch salience occurs for the pitch with the greatest pitch weight. Note that complex tones always evoke more than one possible pitch.

pitch unit
Unit of pitch (abbreviated p.u.) in Ernst Terhardt's model of pitch perception. A 1000 p.u. tone is the perception evoked by a tone whose frequency is 1000 Hz at a specified intensity. See pitch. pitch weight.

polyphony
One of four classic musical textures in which the music is based on two or more concurrent independent melodies or lines of sound. Examples of polyphony include traditional fugues. See also stream, monophony, homophony, pseudo-polyphony, heterophony.

positivist fallacy
If an experience results in no observable behavior, then there is nothing to study. If a phenomenon results in no observable behavior, then a researcher may be tempted to wrongly conclude that no mental activity has taken place.

primacy
The tendency for a listener to better recall the first items presented in a sequence. See also recency.

primary auditory phenomena
Eight basic subjective phenomena associated with auditory perception. The primary auditory phenomena include: (1) loudness, (2) pitch, (3) timbre, (4) toneness, (5) apparent location, (6) auditory streaming, (7) numerosity, and (8) sensory dissonance.

priming
The tendency for a stimulus to facilitate the processing of some related ensuing stimulus. For example, when previously presented with the word "red," a subject will respond faster to most tasks involved in processing the subsequent word "blue." That is, the prior presentation of "red" is said to prime the representation for "blue." In associative memory models, priming is interpreted as a spread activation of a network of related concepts. See also associative memory.

probe tone technique
A technique by which a listener's musical experience can be probed at a particular moment in time. A musical context is presented -- such as several chords or the initial notes of a melody. Following the context, a single tone or chord is played, and the listener is asked to judge the tone or chord according to some criterion. Often, the listener is asked to judge how well the tone or chord "fits" with the preceding musical context. The contextual passage is then repeated and a different probe tone or chord is played. Following each presentation, the listener is asked to judge how well the new tone or chord fits with the preceding context.

In probe-tone experiments, a dozen or more repetitions of the contextual passage may be presented -- each presentation followed by a different probe. In this way, a detailed picture can be assembled concerning the listener's musical judgement at that moment.

In some cases, exhaustive experiments are carried out to trace the changes in the listener's experience as the music progresses. For example, the first three notes of a melody may be played, followed by a probe tone. This procedure is repeated until a large number of continuation tones have been probed. Then the first four notes of the melody are played, again followed by one of several probe tones. This procedure continues for the first five notes, six notes, and so on.

The probe-tone technique has been used to trace in detail such phenomena as how a modulating chord progression begins to evoke a different tonal center. The probe-tone technique was devised by
Roger Shepard and has been extensively used by Carol Krumhansl. See also Krumhansl and Kessler key profiles.

programmatic listening
A presumed listening mode. While listening to music, many listeners imagine certain situations or visualize certain scenes -- such as rolling waves, mountain vistas, city streets, and so forth. In programmatic listening the listening experience is dominated by such forms of non-musical referentiality. Musical works that are overtly programmatic in construction may be assumed to enhance or promote such a listening mode. However, programmatic listening may arise even in the case of ostensibly non-programmatic works. See distracted listening, tangential listening, metaphysical listening, signal listening, sing-along listening, lyric listening, allusive listening, reminiscent listening, identity listening, retentive listening, fault listening, feature listening, innovation listening, memory scan listening, directed listening, distance listening, ecstatic listening, emotional listening, kinesthetic listening, performance listening. See also listening mode, cognitive style.

prosody

Those features of spoken language that pertain to the quality or character of the voice, and that often convey emotional or intentional cues apart from the lexical and grammatical aspects of langauge. Prosodic elements are usually considered to include variations in the pitch, amplitude, and tempo of the speech. Prosodic features include raising the pitch of the voice to express surprise, signal uncertainty, or designate a question; lowering the pitch of the voice to stress significant words or convey seriousness of purpose; increasing the amplitude to signal anger; decreasing the amplitude to suggest intimacy; increasing the tempo to convey excitement; or decreasing the tempo to imply lethargy or depression, etc. Prosody is often characterizes as "the music of speech."

See also
aprosodia.

prototype

A stimulus is said to be prototypic when it is perceived as an especially good representative of a certain class of stimuli (Posner & Keele, 1968, 1970). For many people, robins and sparrows are prototypic birds, whereas ostriches, falcons and pigeons are not prototypic.

Compared with non-prototypic stimuli, prototypic stimuli are more easily learned, remembered, and recalled. When presented with a sequence of stimuli (such as a list of birds), subjects are more likely to recall the pesence of a prototypic stimulus, are more likely to (falsely) report that an absent prototype was present, and are more likely to (falsely) report that a present non-prototype was absent. In addition, subjects are likely to judge that a non-prototypic stimulus is more similar to a prototypic stimulus than vice versa. For example, people tend to judge the color pink as being highly similar to red; however, people tend to judge the color red as being less similar to pink.

Listeners may well hold mental images of prototypic sounds -- such as the sound of a flute. A flute is capable of producing a wide variety of sounds -- such as a harsh sound, flutter-tonguing, key-clicks, wide vibrato, very high pitches, etc. However, when we imagine a flute, we tend to conjure up a sound that is somewhat sweet, with a light vibrato, centered in the middle or lower registers. Listeners also hold similar prototypic images for other instruments, such as the trumpet, violin, piano, etc.

Compare with focal stimulus.

proximate cause
The most immediate cause of something. See also distal cause, medial cause.

pseudo-harmonic
Overtones for many naturally occuring sounds are often not exactly harmonic, but nearly so. For example, a fundamental frequency of 100 Hz might have overtone components at (say) 202 Hz, 298 Hz, 406 Hz, etc. Such overtones are referred to as "pseudo-harmonically related", or as "pseudo-harmonics". Compare harmonic, inharmonic.

pseudo-periodic
A function is described as pseudo-periodic when the period changes (slightly) between successive cycles. That is, a pseudo-periodic function changes frequency slightly over time. Pseudo-periodicity can arise due to vibrato or jitter and is often associated with increased emotionality. See also periodic, non-periodic, jitter, vibrato, cycle. Compare time variant.

pseudo-polyphony
The phenomenon of creating two or more concurrent lines of sound (or streams) using a sequence of single-sounding tones. Pseudo-polyphony is produced by rapid alternations of pitches separated by comparatively large musical intervals. The best known example of pseudo-polyphony is yodelling where a single voice is able to give the impression of multiple concurrent parts. Pseudo-polyphonic textures are also commonly found in Baroque music, such as in the solo violin partitas by J.S. Bach. Also known as compound melodic line. See also stream, polyphony, Wessel's illusion. (See Dowling, 1967.)

psychoacoustics
The study of the perceptual aspects of audition. There are many acoustical features to which the human auditory system is insensitive and conversely there are several acoustical factors to which humans are critically atuned. Psychoacoustic research helps to define the framework of auditory/perceptual significance. See also critical band, loudness, masking, pitch, Shepards tone.

psychoaesthetics
A term coined by Daniel Berlyne (1971) to refer to experimental approaches in the study of art, its psychological origins and effects.

pupil dilation
An increased size of the pupil of the eyes -- often as part of the orienting response.

pure tone
See sine tone.

Q
R
ramp archetype
The dynamics in many musical genres are organized according to a "ramp pattern" in which crescendos tend to be longer than diminuendos. That is, musical dynamics are typically organized so that they build in a gradual way, but subside relatively quickly. Huron has showed that such dynamic gestures are consistent with the conditions for evoking a continuous succession of orienting responses. In short, many musical genres exhibit dynamic gestures that are consistent with the goal of attracting and maintaining the listener's passive attention.

Musical genres that do not exhibit this pattern include background Muzak whose purpose is not to attract the listener's attention. See Huron (1990a), Huron (1990b), Huron (1991), Huron (1992). See also Nakamura's experiments.

recency
The tendency for a listener to better recall the last (most recent) items presented in a sequence. See also primacy.

receptive aphasia
A neurological disorder which causes a complete or partial loss of the ability to understand spoken language. Contrast with expressive aphasia. See also agnosia, agraphia, alexia, amusia, anomia, aphasia, aprosodia.

receptive aprosodia
A neurological disorder which causes a complete or partial loss of the ability to recognize appropriate prosodic cues in speech sounds. Prosodic elements of speech include pitch inflections and other features that indicate emotional tone -- such as anger, contempt, joy, parody, etc. Contrast with expressive aprosodia. See also agnosia, agraphia, alexia, amusia, anomia, aphasia.

reductionism
The explanation of complex phenomena as merely the interaction of simpler underlying phenomena; explanation proceeds by accounting for complex wholes in terms of simpler components. Contrast with holism.

registral return

The tendency, in melodies, for large pitch intervals to be followed by a change of melodic direction. For example, a large upward leap (sometimes defined as 6 or more semitones) tends to be followed by a downward pitch motion. This notion has been described by music theorists since the Renaissance. The term "registral return" was introduced by Eugene Narmour.

Studies of large musical samples from around the world have shown that there is indeed a tendency for large intervals to be followed by a change of direction. However, Von Hippel and Huron (2000) demonstrated that this phenomenon arises simply from constraints on melodic range or tessitura. Skips tend toward the extremes of a melody's tessitura, and from those extremes a melody has little choice but to retreat by changing direction. See also gap fill.


reminiscent listening
A presumed listening mode where the music serves to remind the listener of past experiences or circumstances in which the music was previously heard or encountered. The reminiscent listener's primary focus of attention is on the remembrance of past events -- or more particularly, on the remembrance of emotions experienced in conjunction with the past events. See distracted listening, tangential listening, metaphysical listening, signal listening, sing-along listening, lyric listening, programmatic listening, allusive listening, identity listening, retentive listening, fault listening, feature listening, innovation listening, memory scan listening, directed listening, distance listening, ecstatic listening, emotional listening, kinesthetic listening, performance listening. See also listening mode, cognitive style.

repression
definition goes here

resonance
The acoustic disposition of physical bodies and enclosures to promote energy at one or more frequencies or bands of frequencies. The resonance characteristics of bodies (for example violins or oboes) are important features by which listeners are able to identify these instruments. Resonances may be emulated through the use of filters.

retentive listening
A presumed listening mode whose goal is to remember what is being heard. Retentive listening is most commonly encountered when music students perform ear training or dictation exercises. Unlike many other modes of listening, retentive listening is very much a problem-solving behavior. A composer in the process of improvising might use retentive listening skills to recall a fleeting passage or an appealing juxtaposition of notes. See distracted listening, tangential listening, metaphysical listening, signal listening, sing-along listening, lyric listening, programmatic listening, allusive listening, reminiscent listening, identity listening, fault listening, feature listening, innovation listening, memory scan listening, directed listening, distance listening, ecstatic listening, emotional listening, kinesthetic listening, performance listening. See also listening mode, cognitive style.

reverberation
A type of continuing aura surrounding acoustic events; in nature this is due to the "reservoire-like" properties of enclosures with respect to acoustic energy. In natural acoustic environments, single echoes are not exact repetitions of the direct sound, but are modified in timbre due to the absorptive properties of the exposed structural materials and furnishings. Multiple echoes are experienced as reverberation if they fuse perceptually.

S
schema
A mental preconception of the normal course of events. Schemas may be viewed as mental templates or scenarios that influence how an individual perceives and interprets current events. A schema can be likened to an archetypal "story" (such as love stories, tragedies, horror, comedies, etc.). Schemas are learned through previous experiences in like situations. Schemas lead to unconscious intuitions about what is likely to happen next. For example, love stories always have some impediment that must be overcome in order for the lovers to get together. Both action films and comedy films tend to have a chase scene near the end. See, for example, Krumhansl and Kessler key profiles.

schematic expectation
An expectation that arises due to the existence of a mental schema. When a listener has a general expectation for the leading-tone to be followed by the tonic, the expectation may be regarded as schematic. Contrast with veridical expectation.

self-actualization
A term associated with the work of psychologist Abraham Maslow. According to Maslow, humans have a hierarchy of needs beginning with basic biological needs (such as food and warmth), to psychological needs (such as love), culminating in higher needs (such as spiritual fulfillment and creative self-expression). The goal of each person is to realize our individual potentials by catering to our innate needs and impulses in non-destructive ways.

semitone
Unit of pitch distance (or interval) corresponding to the smallest scale distance used in Western music. There are 12 semitones in an octave). One semitone corresponds to a frequency ratio of the 12th root of 2. See also cent.

sensation
The psychophysiological processes by which sensory input is acquired and assembled. Sensation is associated with peripheral neurophysiological structures, and the assembled sensory information is often presumed to carry little interpretation. See also cognition, perception.

sensory dissonance
A theory of dissonance which proposes that maximum unpleasantness arises between two pure tones when their points of maximum excitation on the basilar membrane of the cochlea are separated by roughly 0.4 millimeters (or 40% of a critical band). The unpleasantness drops to zero as the two tones approach unison; in addition, unpleasantness drops to a minimum as the frequency difference between the tone pure tones exceeds a critical band. The overall sensory dissonance for any sonority is the aggregate sum of the interactions between all of the concurrent partials.

The theory was first proposed by Donald Greenwood (1961) and was independently advanced by Reiner Plomp and Pim Levelt (1965). See also masking, consonance, dissonance.

Shepards illusion
The illusion of either constantly increasing or constantly decreasing pitch. Using Shepards tones, it is possible to create a perpetual glissando of apparently infinitely increasing or infinitely decreasing pitch. The illusion arises due to pitch proximity as Shepards tones circle about the chroma circle without changing pitch height.

Originally, the illusion was thought to demonstrate the intransitivity of pitch perception. However, the illusion is now regarded as a demonstration of the independence of pitch height and pitch chroma in pitch perceptions.

See also Shepards tone, octave-spaced tones, Deutsch Tritone Effect, pitch height, pitch chroma.

Shepards tone
A complex tone which evokes a sensation of pure pitch chroma. A specially constructed tone that contains all audible octave partials. The amplitudes of the partials are weighted so that the extreme high and low partials have the least energy. Typically, the most energy is assigned to the partial nearest to the spectral dominance region for complex tones (i.e., near D#4).

For example, a Shepards tone might consist of pure tones at the following frequencies: 50 Hz, 100 Hz, 200 Hz, 400 Hz, 800 Hz, 1,600 Hz, 3,200 Hz, 6,400 Hz, and 12,800 Hz. The most intense of these partials would be the 400 Hz component; the amplitude for other partials decreases as the frequency increases or decreases from 400 Hz.

A series of Shepards tones can be constructed so that each has the same pitch height, and differs only with respect to pitch chroma. The tones permit a variety of illusions, such as the Shepards illusion of constantly increasing of constantly decreasing pitch.

The tones are named after Roger Shepard who discovered them in 1964. See also octave-spaced tones.

shimmer
The variability in amplitude as measured from cycle to cycle. Increased shimmer is associated with increased emotionality. See also amplitude modulation, tremolo, jitter.

signal listening
A presumed listening mode. Barry Truax (1985) has coined the term "listening-in-readiness" to denote the state of a listener waiting for some expected auditory event. For example, rather than laboriously count hundreds of bars of rest, an orchestral percussionist may recognize a certain musical passage as a cue or "alarm" -- signaling the need to prepare to perform. In effect, the music may be heard in terms of a set of signals or sign-posts. Similarly, a dance couple may wait for a dance tune with a desired tempo before proceeding on to the dance floor. A more sophisticated example of signal listening is the listening behavior of an auditor listening to a work known or assumed to be in sonata-allegro form; the listener will wait for features in the music that signal the advent of the next structural division, such as the advent of the development section, or the beginning of the second theme in the recapitulation. See distracted listening, tangential listening, metaphysical listening, sing-along listening, lyric listening, programmatic listening, allusive listening, reminiscent listening, identity listening, retentive listening, fault listening, feature listening, innovation listening, memory scan listening, directed listening, distance listening, ecstatic listening, emotional listening, kinesthetic listening, performance listening. See also listening mode, cognitive style.

sine tone
A single audible frequency, also known as a "pure tone" or "simple tone" in contrast to a complex tone. The sine tone takes its name from its distinctive waveform which may be derived from sinusoidal trigonometry (Note: sinus is Latin for "fold" or "curve".) One might expect sine tones to sound "simple" or "pure"; however, sine tones are better described as "dull" sounding. Psychoacoustical Terminology, S3.20, 1973; p.12)

sine wave
The waveform of a sine tone.

sinusoidal
Pertaining to a sine wave or sine tone.

sing-along listening

A presumed listening mode which is characterized by the listener mentally "singing-along" with the music. This mode of listening presupposes that the listener is already familiar with the work. Distinctive of this listening approach is a highly linear conception of the work in which a replay of memory is synchronized with an actual rendition. The listener's behavior is not unlike that of a recording which, when started at any given point in the music, can continue forward to the end of the work.

Where a work is particularly well known to a listener, sing-along listening may occur as a purely mental activity without the mnemonic assistance of an actual performance. (See, for example, the work of Andrea Halpern.) See distracted listening, tangential listening, metaphysical listening, signal listening, lyric listening, programmatic listening, allusive listening, reminiscent listening, identity listening, retentive listening, fault listening, feature listening, innovation listening, memory scan listening, directed listening, distance listening, ecstatic listening, emotional listening, kinesthetic listening, performance listening. See also listening mode, cognitive style.


spectrum
A graphic display or other representation of the frequency content of a signal. Two-dimensional graphic spectra usually plot amplitude (vertical axis) versus frequency (horizontal axis). there are two general types of spectra. A partial spectrum portrays discrete frequencies and is suitable for graphic descriptions of harmonics. A continuous spectrum portrays bands of contiguous frequencies and is suitable for graphic displays of noise bands. See also frequency domain, frequency distribution, Fourier analysis, timbre, white noise, pink noise.

spontaneous recovery
The process of re-sensitising following a period of habituation to a recurring stimulus. Unlike dishabituation, spontaneous recovery occurs during a period when the stimulus is absent.

stereophonic
A method of sound reproduction based on two channel recording and playback. Contrasts with monophonic. See also monaural. binaural, diotic, dichotic, monophonic.

stimulants
A group of drugs that raise a person's arousal level. The most common stimulants include caffeine, nicotine, amphetamines, cocaine, and appetite suppressants. Stimulants tend to increase a listener's heart rate, increase blood pressure, pupil dilation, and increased body temperature. Caffeine and nicotine likely affect music listening through a preference for higher energy music (see arousal compatibility preference). See also depressants, arousal, epinephrine.

stream
The auditory experience of a "line of sound". The mental image evoked when successive sounds appear to originate from the same sound-generating source or activity. Most monophonic melodies are experienced as a single stream. Polyphonic music tends to evoke multiple concurrent streams. See also auditory streaming, auditory induction, image.

subcortical
Anatomical term designating areas of the brain located below the cortex. Spots of gray matter (called nuclei) are found at various points throughout the central (white) region of the brain. These points of gray matter are typical examples of "subcortical" structures. See also cortex, electroencephalography.

subharmonic
A simple sine wave component which is located below a fundamental frequency or pitch, and which fuses with other components to comprise a single complex tone. The frequency of a subharmonic is an integer divisor of the fundamental frequency. Subharmonics are partials which occur below the perceived pitch of a complex tone, and so are types of undertones.

sublimation
definition goes here

synesthesia
A rare neurological condition where stimuli in one sensory mode (vision, audition, taste, tactile, etc.) evokes sensations in another mode. For example, a certain smell may cause an individual to see a particular color, or feel a particular shape.

The most common type of synesthesia is non-associational
colored hearing where auditory stimuli evoke visual experiences (Cytowic, 1993; p.49). According to Cytowic, true synesthesia has the following properties:
  1. the evoked responses are stable and replicable,
  2. the evoked responses are always simple percepts such as colors or simple geometric shapes (rather than complex images),
  3. the relationship between the stimulus and the experience is unique to the individual,
  4. the evoked responses are extremely vivid,
  5. the synesthetic experience can be enhanced by administering depressants such as amyl nitrite or alcohol.
  6. the synthesthetic experiences are often accompanied by strong emotions or convictions.
See also association.

T
tachycardia
A momentary increase in heart-rate -- commonly evoked by some stimulus. Tachycardic changes of heart-rate are associated with a defensive or fear response. See also arousal, heart rate, personality. Compare bradycardia.

tactus
The perceived basic pulse or beat. Fraisse (1982) proposed that listeners have a preference to hear a tactus in the range of between 500 and 700 ms. This represents the preferred range for tapping in time to music. When the tempo is slowed, listeners tend to tap to a subdivision of the former beat; conversely, when the tempo is increased, listeners tend to omit beats so the tactus remains within this preferred range. Studies have shown that tapping in this preferred range coincides with a minimum of tapping variability (Essens, 1995; Essens & Povel, 1985). See also tatum.

tangential listening
A presumed listening mode similar to distracted listening except that the listener is engaged in thought whose origin can be traced to the music, but the thought is largely tangential to the perceptual experience itself. An auditor is engaged in tangential listening when preoccupied with thoughts such as: why did the concert organizers program me this work? Isn't that the oboist who played at the last chamber music concert? I wonder how much money the guest artist makes in a year? Tangential listening behaviors may occasionally approach what might be called metaphysical listening: See distracted listening, metaphysical listening, signal listening, sing-along listening, lyric listening, programmatic listening, allusive listening, reminiscent listening, identity listening, retentive listening, fault listening, feature listening, innovation listening, memory scan listening, directed listening, distance listening, ecstatic listening, emotional listening, kinesthetic listening, performance listening. See also listening mode, cognitive style.

tatum
Temporal atom: the shortest duration in a notated musical work (or MIDI performance) that can be used as a divisor for all other durations. For example, if all nominal durations in a work are divisible into sixteenth durations, and the sixteenth duration is the largest such divisor, the sixteenth value is deemed the tatum for the work. The term tatum was coined at the Center for New Music and Audio Technologies at the University of California, Berkeley in 2000, and was named to evoke the rapid-fire piano playing of jazz keyboardist, Art Tatum.

testosterone
An androgen -- commonly associated with men, but also produced in lower quantities in women. Testosterone levels are strongly correlated with aggression and also mediate libido or sexual arousal. In addition, lower levels of testosterone are related to higher levels of sociability. Fukui (1996) showed that listening to preferred music typically causes a reduction in testosterone levels (in both men and women). It is widely expected (though not yet shown) that highly arousing/aggressive music evokes higher levels of testosterone in listeners.

texture
A term used to denote the general sonic character of a musical work or passage. Four classic musical textures are distinguished: monophony, homophony, polyphony and heterophony. A monophonic texture is characterized by a single melody or single line of sound -- often played in unison. A homophonic texture is based on a succession of block chords, such as evident in four-part hymns. A polyphonic texture exhibits two more more concurrent perceptually independent lines of sound. A heterophonic texture consists of several variant renditions of the same musical line played concurrently -- creating a sort of musical "braid." Other types of textures include tune & accompaniment, yodelling (pseudo-polyphony), and close harmony (such as barbershop quartets). See monophony, homophony, polyphony, pseudo-polyphony, heterophony.

Thayer's model of moods
A two-factor model of mood consisting of energy and stress. Four quadrants can be identified: calm-energy (e.g. exuberance, euphoria), calm-tiredness (e.g. serenity, contentment), tense-energy (frantic, fight/flight), and tense-tiredness (crankiness, disphoria).

Thayer's Model of Mood

There is good evidence that stress and arousal are physiologically distinguishable. Stress is associated with high cortisol levels. Energy is associated with high epinephrine levels.

Using Thayer's model of mood, it is possible to characterize musical passages according to the dimensions of energy and stress/tension. For example, the exposition from Rossini's William Tell Overture might be characterized as exuberant and triumphant. J.S. Bach's Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring might be characterized as serene and content. The music from the shower scene in Hitchcook's film Psycho might be characterized as anxious or frantic. And the opening of Stravinsky's Firebird might be characterized as ominous and foreboding. See also epinephrine levels. (Contrast temperament.) See mood.

timbre
(Pronounced tam-bur.) Timbre, "tone color" or "tone quality" are catch-all terms that denote those properties of a sound -- other than pitch and loudness -- which combine to produce an overall auditory identity or character. The notion of timbre is closely associated with the "identifiability" or "distinguishability" of a sound, or class of sounds. Musicians will thus speak of the timbre of a violin, or the class of "brassy" timbres. See also waveform, time-variant, voice and primary auditory phenomena.

time variant
Any function is described as time variant if it has an identifiable cycle of inexact repetition. When the rate of recurrence or frequency of repetition lies within the range of human hearing, time variant sounds typically evoke an evolving timbre or tone-color. An example of a time variant sound is a dipthong such as the vowel AW-OO in the word `ouch'. See also periodic, non-periodic, cycle.

tonal fusion
The propensity for two or more tones to fuse and sound as a single tone. Tonal fusion typically arises when the fundamental frequencies for the tones are related by simple integer ratios -- and so are consistent with a possible harmonic series. In musical contexts, tonal fusion most arises with the interval of a unison. Tonal fusion is next most likely at the interval of an octave, followed by the perfect fifth.

Formerly, it was thought that tonal fusion contributed to the consonance of a sound. Contemporary evidence suggests that this view is false.

tonal closure

For musical works that modulate through one or more key areas, the special sense of finality or closure evoked by returning to the original key in which the work began.

Cook (1987) carried out an experiment where musical works were re-composed to end in a different key. For listeners without absolute pitch Cook found that a heightened sense of closure occurred only for relatively short pieces. For works longer than about 2 minutes, musician listeners were unaware that the work ended in a foreign key, and did not perceive the coherence, pleasure, expressiveness or closure as any less than the untransposed versions. See closure, tonality.


tonal hierarchy
See Krumhansl and Kessler key profiles.

tonality
  1. A system of relating pitches or chords.
  2. In Western music, a system of relating scale-degree functions, such as tonic, supertonic, mediant, etc.
  3. An organizing principle, where an important aspect of music construction is the preeminence of a central pitch or tonic.
  4. Synonymous with key -- where a piece is considered to be governed or organized with respect to a single key.
  5. A system of relating keys or key areas for works that modulate, and where tonal closure is deemed important.
See also tonic, finalis, drone, most common pitch, Butler's diads, Krumhansl and Kessler key profiles.

toneness
The subjective sensation of how "tone-like" a sound is. Noises evoke low toneness, whereas individual complex tones evoke high toneness. A useful measure of toneness is provided by pitch weight. See also primary auditory phenomena.

tonic
1. The pitch in a scale that sounds most stable. 2. The first scale degree in the Western major or minor scales. 3. The harmonic function associated with the most stable scale degree -- as in the tonic triad or I chord. The end of a musical work frequently ends on the tonic. Compare finalis, drone, most common pitch.

tonic arousal
Slow changes of base-level arousal. Such changes may arise due to the daily cycle of sleep and wakefulness, or due to consumption of stimulants (such as caffeine) or depressants (such as alcohol). See also arousal, phasic arousal.

topical
Related to the skin. Topical changes in response to music might include perspiring, blushing, goose flesh (piloerection), and weeping. See also frisson.

tracking error
In music, it is common to have multiple concurrent lines, parts or voices. Listeners are limited in their abilities to track multiple concurrent lines simultaneously. For textures consisting of identical timbres, even expert listeners have difficulty hearing more than three concurrent lines at the same time. Beyond three-voice textures, tracking confusions are commonplace.
The above graph shows tracking errors for three expert musicians listening to Baroque polyphony. Solid columns: average error when judging how many polyphonic voices are present. Shaded columns: average error when identifying the entries of new voices added to an existing texture. After Huron (1989). See also stream and polyphony.

tremolo
(1) A rapid rearticulation of a note, often notated in music for strings.

(2) A type of amplitude variation, occasionally found in instrumental performance. commonly found in instrumental and vocal performance, that adds warmth or emotional intensity to a given sound. Tremolos can be described as fast or slow, shallow or sharp. See also
amplitude modulation and shimmer. Compare jitter, and vibrato.

U
unconscious
That part of our mental life that remains largely hidden from our direct awareness. The unconscious manifests desires and instincts that may be in conflict with social norms of behavior -- norms that may be accepted at a conscious level. The unconscious nevertheless affects our conscious thoughts and actions. Even when we think we are being our most logical, controlled, rational, and dispassionate self, unconscious motives and instincts continue to underlie our thoughts and actions. Our biological origins and animal desires are not far from the surface of thought.

V
verbal behavior
Any behavior involving spoken or written utterances. Verbal behaviors may be informal "gasps" or exclamations, formal written analyses, or oral reports of what a person has experienced. Compare gross behavior, and metabolic behavior.

veridical expectation
An expectation that arises due to knowledge about a specific stimulus, such as familiarity with a given musical work. When a listener expects a certain note in a well-known song, the expectation may be regarded as veridical. By contrast, when a listener exhibits a general expectation for the leading-tone to be followed by the tonic, the expectation is regarded as a schematic expectation.

vibrato
A type of pitch variation, commonly found in instrumental and vocal performance, that adds warmth or emotional intensity to a given sound. Vibratos can be described as fast or slow, shallow or deep. See also frequency modulation. Compare jitter, shimmer, and tremolo.

W
waveform
The specific shape or contour of a single cycle or a periodic sound function as represented by a two-dimensional graph. Waveforms other than sine waves are considered "complex", since they contain more than one simple frequency component (see Fourier analysis.) The shape of the waveform is partly dependent on the harmonic content of the sound -- hence, waveform is sometimes erroneously equated with timbre. See also cycle, sine wave, harmonic, timbre, and Fourier analysis.

waveshape
Synonymous with waveform.

Wessel's illusion
A demonstration of the influence of timbre on auditory streaming. Wessel's illusion involves playing an ascending sequence of three pitches where the timbre is alternately switched between two distinctive tone colors. As the tempo of the repeated pattern is increased the perception of a rising pitch sequence is replaced by two falling pitch sequences.
See also stream, pseudo-polyphony.

white noise
By analogy to "white light", white noise consists of all frequencies within a specified range of frequencies (usually the entire audible range). Each frequency is present in equal amplitude. For example, the total amplitude for the range 100 Hz to 200 Hz is the same as the range 5100 Hz to 5200 Hz. Hence, white noise is especially rich in high frequency components. Contrast with pink noise.

X
Y
Yerkes-Dodson Law
For any given task, there exists a rough optimum arousal level. If the tonic arousal is too low or too high, then performance of the task tends to become less efficient. Yerkes and Dodson showed that the optimum tonic arousal level depends on the complexity of the task. The Yerkes-Dodson Law states that, for simple tasks, performance is best when the tonic arousal is high; for complex tasks, performance is best when the tonic arousal is lower. For example, complicated mathematical reasoning is best done in a state of relatively low arousal compared with (say) calculating sums. Similarly, washing a car is performed best in a relatively higher state of arousal, compared with (say) a police officer directing traffic. In each of these comparisons, the amount of physical exertion may be the same, but the increase the more complex task is best done in a lower state of arousal.

Z

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© Copyright David Huron, 1999, 2000.
This document is available at http://csml.som.ohio-state.edu/Music838/glossary.html