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Resolvability of components in complex tones and implications for theories of pitch perception
Moore, B.C.J., & GOCKEL, H.E.
Hearing Research, 276 (1-2), 88-97
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This paper reviews methods that have been used to estimate the resolvability of individual partials in harmonic and inharmonic complex tones and considers the implications of the results for theories of pitch perception. The methods include: requiring comparisons of the pitch of an isolated pure tone and a partial within a complex tone as a measure of the ability to “hear out” that partial; considering the magnitude of ripples in the calculated excitation pattern of a complex tone; using a complex tone as a forward masker and using ripples in the masking pattern to estimate resolvability; measuring sensitivity to the relative phase of the components within complex tones. The measures are broadly consistent in indicating that harmonics with numbers up to about five are well resolved, but that resolution decreases for higher harmonics. Most measures suggest that harmonics with numbers above eight are poorly, if at all, resolved. However, there are uncertainties associated with each method that make the exact upper limit of resolvability uncertain. Evidence is presented suggesting a partial dissociation between resolution in the excitation pattern and the ability to hear out a partial. It is proposed that the latter requires information from temporal fine structure (phase locking).