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Rearrangement of Timbre Space Due To Background Noise: Behavioural Evidence and Acoustic Correlates

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Studies of timbre are usually conducted in a "vacuum" of perfect silence. However, in the real-world, sounds are mostly heard in the presence of competing background noise. A series of pairwise dissimilarity listening tests on musically trained participants demonstrated how different levels of background noise can cause rearrangement of timbre spaces. Furthermore, it was shown that while spectral acoustic descriptors (e.g. spectral centroid or tristimulus values) seem robust under the presence of background noise, descriptors representing deviations from purely harmonic characteristics (e.g. inharmonicity) lose their salience for the higher noise level. Such results suggest that studies of timbre may need to take background noise into account in order to enhance their validity for real world applications.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 March 2017

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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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