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Modelling Perceptual Dimensions of Saxophone Sounds

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In the past, musical instruments were developed over long periods of time by skilled craftsmen. Today, most instruments are mass-produced. Design of musical instruments as mass-produced products requires using strategies which make it easier to identify customer needs and develop exact specifications. To develop useful specifications it is necessary to convert general descriptions into something which can be commonly understood and also be interpretable in terms of acoustic metrics. In this study, methods for analysis and specification of steady state parts of alto saxophone sounds were developed. Saxophonists' use of verbal descriptions of saxophone sounds was investigated. Sound stimuli were binaurally recorded. Judgements upon perceived qualities were made by saxophonists and non-saxophonists using the method of verbal attribute magnitude estimation. Perceptual dimensions were identified using principal component analysis of listening test data. Three prominent dimensions were found and described using the verbal attributes: 1) warm/soft, 2) back vowel analogues and 3) sharp/rough. The perceptual dimensions were modelled as linear functions of acoustic metrics. The results were validated through listening tests with new subjects and new stimuli. Based on the findings, the method was seen as an approach which can enhance the musical instrument design process.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2009-05-01

More about this publication?
  • Acta Acustica united with Acustica, published together with the European Acoustics Association (EAA), is an international, peer-reviewed journal on acoustics. It publishes original articles on all subjects in the field of acoustics, such as general linear acoustics, nonlinear acoustics, macrosonics, flow acoustics, atmospheric sound, underwater sound, ultrasonics, physical acoustics, structural acoustics, noise control, active control, environmental noise, building acoustics, room acoustics, acoustic materials, acoustic signal processing, computational and numerical acoustics, hearing, audiology and psychoacoustics, speech, musical acoustics, electroacoustics, auditory quality of systems. It reports on original scientific research in acoustics and on engineering applications. The journal considers scientific papers, technical and applied papers, book reviews, short communications, doctoral thesis abstracts, etc. In irregular intervals also special issues and review articles are published.
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