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Module 2 - Psychoacoustics

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Psychoacoustics  ::   Hearing  ::   Loudness  ::   Pitch  ::   Harmony  ::   Scales


Psychoacoustics is the science that deals with the perception of sound. Sound arrives at our ears as pressure waves which are processed and converted into the perception of sound. Whereas physical sound can be measured the same by different individuals, the perception of sound will vary from one individual to another.

This module is divided into four lessons. The first lesson introduces the hearing function which includes the anatomy of the ear and the role of the central nervous system in hearing. It also includes an introduction to logarithms, since our hearing is logarithmic. The second lesson discusses how we process sound energy to develop the perception of loudness.

It begins with the measurement of physical sound energy then proceeds to our perception of that energy. The third lesson deals with our perception of sound frequencies as pitch and timbre (or tone quality). It also suggests variations in the perception of pitch due to amplitude, time envelope and spectrum. The fourth lesson discusses special effects produced by combining more than one pure tone or complex tone. These effects produce beats difference tones that are the source of musical dissonance.

Copyright 2008, by the Contributing Authors. Cite/attribute Resource . admin. (2005, January 25). Module 2 - Psychoacoustics. Retrieved January 07, 2011, from Free Online Course Materials — USU OpenCourseWare Web site: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License Creative Commons License