Re: indefinite pitch

Subject: Re: indefinite pitch
From: miriam clinton (iriXx) (
Date: Fri Oct 07 2005 - 07:04:02 EDT

on a slightly related note, last month(?)'s Scientific American ran a
story on the background radiation of the universe and how it compares to
these indefinate pitches - the diagrams looked awfully familiar to the
shapes of the nodes produced by timpani.

Eldad Tsabary wrote:

> Hello all,
> I would like your input regarding a terminology issue.
> When discussing a (definite) pitch sound object, with the use of
> correct terminology it is very easy to distinguish between the
> object’s physical quality (fundamental frequency and partials - most
> prominently those belonging to the fundamental’s integer-multiple
> frequencies) and its perceived quality (pitch). Describing a note as
> having a higher FREQUENCY than another is unmistakably understood as
> having two sound objects – one vibrating faster than the other (a
> physical phenomenon). Saying it has a higher pitch, on the other hand,
> is understood as a note being PERCEIVED higher.
> However, in the case of, let’s say, a cymbal – we understand it to
> have a range of prominent frequencies – sort of a cluster – instead of
> a single fundamental (physical description). Would we consider a
> brighter cymbal to be PERCEIVED as a higher INDEFINITE PITCH
> (describing perceptual qualities rather than physical)? Do you find
> the term “indefinite pitch” somewhat deceptive (a sound object either
> has pitch or doesn’t?)
> If we accepted the term “indefinite pitch” when would it not be
> applicable anymore? For example in white noise there is obviously no
> pitch of any kind. What about two different band-limited white noises?
> Does it make sense to refer to one being perceived higher in
> indefinite pitch than the other? Or would we simply use a term such as
> brighter (again, avoiding description of its physical qualities for now).
> Eldad
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99% of aliens prefer Earth

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