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Module 2 - Psychoacoustics

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


A violinist playing a song is joined by another violinist who together play the piece in perfect sync. If both play their violins at the same loudness will their combined loudness be double that of just one violin playing?

In this chapter you will learn how sound is measured, and how frequency, complex tones, and masking have an effect on the perception of loudness.

To successfully complete this chapter you should...

  • Read chapter 6 in your text book (pages 53 - 62).
  • Carefully study the important concepts.
  • Given pressure, power, or intensity, be able to calculate sound pressure, power, or intensity levels.
  • Determine the effects of frequency, complex tones, masking, and duration on the perception of loudness.

Important Concepts

Measuring Acoustic energy
Sound pressure level
Frequency response
Sound power level
Sound intensity level
Inverse square law
Multiple sources
Perception of acoustic energy
Loudness level (phons)
Loudness of pure tones (sones)
Loudness of complex tones
Musical dynamics
Forward masking
Backward masking
Central masking
Partial masking
White noise
Pink noise

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