Functional anatomy of musical processing in listeners with absolute pitch and relative pitch

Abstract We used both structural and functional brain imaging techniques to investigate the neural basis of absolute pitch (AP), a specialized skill present in some musicians. By using positron emission tomography, we measured cerebral blood flow during the presentation of musical tones to AP possessors and to control musicians without AP. Listening to musical tones … Read more

How the human ear works — the science of hearing for musicians     Understanding how the human ear works is essential for musicians, as it enables them to appreciate and manipulate sound effectively. Here’s an overview of the science of hearing relevant to musicians: 1. **Outer Ear**: Sound waves are collected by the outer ear, which consists of the pinna (visible part of the ear) … Read more

Human Acoustics and the Telephone Network

Abstract   By classifying according to their mode of excitation, speechsounds can be broken into three distinct classes of phonemes, where a phoneme is defined as the smallest unit of speech that distinguishes one utterance from another. The three classes of phonemes are voiced, unvoiced, and plosives. Voiced phonemes are considered deterministic in nature. They … Read more

On the Fallacy of “Limited Bandwidth” in Guitar Amplification

Content Malcolm Moore explains why limitations are not preferable “For a guitar, the audio spectrum needs are wide. …The lower open E string has a fundamental of about 128 Hz, and significant harmonics are the second, fourth, sixth and eighth meaning the spectrum here extends to 1024 Hz. On the twelfth fret on the upper … Read more

Fear across the senses: brain responses to music, vocalizations and facial expressions

Abstract   “…subject-specific amygdala responses to fearful music and vocalizations were correlated, consistent with the proposal that the brain circuitry involved in the processing of musical emotions might be shared with the one that have evolved for vocalizations. Overall, our results show that processing of fear expressed through music, engages some of the same brain … Read more

Musical rhythm spectra from Bach to Joplin obey a 1/f power law

Much of our enjoyment of music comes from its balance of predictability and surprise. Musical pitch fluctuations follow a 1/f power law that precisely achieves this balance. Musical rhythms, especially those of Western classical music, are considered highly regular and predictable, and this predictability has been hypothesized to underlie rhythm’s contribution to our enjoyment of … Read more

Contribution of active hair-bundle motility to nonlinear amplification in the mammalian cochlea

Abstract   The cochlea’s high sensitivity stems from the active process of outer hair cells, which possess two force-generating mechanisms: active hair-bundle motility elicited by Ca2+ influx and somatic motility mediated by the voltage-sensitive protein prestin. Although interference with prestin has demonstrated a role for somatic motility in the active process, it remains unclear whether … Read more

Simplified Model to Demonstrate the Energy Flow and Formation of Traveling Waves similar to those found in Cochlea

The hearing nerves of vertebrates have their endings on the basilar membrane. The total length of this membrane in man is 35 mm. Its width varies continuously from 0.04 to 0.5 mm., and accordingly the stiffness of the membrane decreases over its length one hundred fold. The whole membrane is imbedded in fluid, and, when … Read more

The basis of musical consonance as revealed by congenital amusia

Some combinations of musical notes sound pleasing and are termed “consonant,” but others sound unpleasant and are termed “dissonant.” The distinction between consonance and dissonance plays a central role in Western music, and its origins have posed one of the oldest and most debated problems in perception. In modern times, dissonance has been widely believed … Read more

Sight over sound in the judgment of music performance

The concept of “sight over sound” in the judgment of music performance refers to the tendency for visual cues to influence or even override auditory perceptions when evaluating a musical performance. This phenomenon highlights the complex interaction between visual and auditory stimuli in shaping our perception of music. Research in psychology has shown that visual … Read more

Long-term music training tunes how the brain temporally binds signals from multiple senses

Practicing a musical instrument is a rich multisensory experience involving the integration of visual, auditory, and tactile inputs with motor responses. This combined psychophysics-fMRI study used the musician’s brain to investigate how sensory-motor experience molds temporal binding of auditory and visual signals. Behaviorally, musicians exhibited a narrower temporal integration window than nonmusicians for music but … Read more

Soloist evaluations of six Old Italian and six new violins

Claudia Fritz, Joseph Curtin, Jacques Poitevineau, Hugues Borsarello, Indiana Wollman, Fan-Chia Tao, and Thierry Ghasarossian PNAS 2014 111 (20) 7224-7229; published ahead of print April 7, 2014, “Soloist evaluations of six Old Italian and six new violins” conducted by Claudia Fritz, Joseph Curtin, Jacques Poitevineau, and Fan-Chia Tao. This research was published in the … Read more

MP3 vs. Uncompressed audio null test

When you subtract a mp3 file from its comparatively uncompressed origin, the result is surprisingly musical.  It is shocking how much information is lost between original and digitally-compressed mp3.  When played, what has been removed is shockingly song-like…almost like a twin has been removed.     An MP3 vs. uncompressed audio null test is an … Read more

The high-bandwidth requirement of guitar amps

Malcolm Moore has done extensive research into guitar pickups. SOURCE   The high-bandwidth requirement of guitar amplifiers is a crucial aspect that impacts their performance and the overall sound quality they deliver. In the context of guitar amplification, “bandwidth” refers to the range of frequencies the amplifier can accurately reproduce. For electric guitars, this encompasses … Read more

Sound Quality in Car Audio

What is “sound quality”? Measurement Mania Not long ago, and presently in many circles, sound quality (“SQ”) was said to be best represented by audio systems amplifying with the lowest Total Harmonic Distortion (“THD”) measurement. Overlapping the THD focus was realization and consideration of Transient Intermodulation Distortion (“TIM”, AKA Slew-Induced Distortion “SID”), also a quantitative measurement said to … Read more