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A Tristimulus Method for the Specification of Musical Timbre

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A tristimulus method is described that shows graphically the time-dependent behaviour o) musical transients. Following analysis of the sound by a sampled filter method, the data are converted into 1/3 octave filter band loudness values at 5 ms intervals. The loudness values are then converted into three coordinates, based on the loudness of (i) the fundamental, (ii) a group containing partials 2 … 4, and (iii) a group containing partials 5…n, where n is the highest significant partial. This procedure allows a graph to be drawn that shows in a simple manner the time-dependent behaviour of the starting transient in relation to the “steady state”. Examples show the tonal evolution of a number of musical sounds.


Es wird eine spektrale Methode beschrieben, welche ermöglicht, das Zeitverhalten transienter musikalischer Klänge graphisch darzustellen. Nach der Analyse des Schalls durch ein Abtast- und Filterverfahren werden die Daten in terzbandbreite Lautheitswerte von 5 ms Länge umgeformt. Die Lautheitswerte werden anschließend in drei Koordinaten aufgeteilt, und zwar in die Lautheit von (i) Grundton, (ii) einer Gruppe, die die Partialtöne 2 bis 4 enthält und (iii) einer Gruppe, die die Partialtöne 5 bis n enthält, wobei n der höchste signifikante Partialton ist. Dieses Verfahren gestattet eine graphische Darstellung, welche in einfacher Weise das zeitabhängige Verhalten von Einschwingvorgängen in Relation zu den eingeschwungenen Zuständen zeigt. Beispiele zeigen die tonale Entwicklung einer Reihe von musikalischen Klängen.


On décrit une méthode dite «à trois Stimuli», qui fournit des graphiques montrant le comportement temporel des transitoires en musique. A la suite d'une analyse du son par la méthode du filtre échantillonné, on convertit les données en valeurs de sonie par bandes filtrées en tiers d'octaves à des intervalles de 5 ms. Ces valeurs de sonie sont ensuite converties selon trois composantes: 1°) sonie du fondamental, 2°) sonie des partiels 2 à 4, 3°) sonie des partiels 5 a n, n désignant l'ordre du dernier partiel significatif. Cette façon de procéder permet de tracer des graphiques qui mettent en évidence d'une manière simple l'évolution temporelle des transitoires d'attaque par rapport à l'état «permanent». Des exemples sont fournis, qui montrent l'évolution tonale d'un certain nombre de sons musicaux.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 1982

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  • 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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