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Über die ungelösten Probleme in der Theorie der Tonempfindungen

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1. The classical theory of the sensation of pitch is briefly given.

2. The observations of v. Békésy of wave movements along the basilar membrane are discussed from the point of view of their derivation from the anatomy of the inner ear.

3. The localisation of displacement is not very selective. The selectivity improves for the first derivative of the basilar membrane wave and still more for its second derivative.

4. As the ear can detect, on the one hand, temporal changes of only 1/30 s and on the other frequency differences of 3 c/s, it must on the uncertainty principle contain either an adaptable analyser or two frequency meters.

5. The rhythmic property of nerve impulses provides for the possibility of such a double frequency measurement.

6. If the time period is shorter than the refractory period, a single nerve fibre can only be excited every other period. This gives a physiological basis for the appreciation of consonant intervals even when the two tones are sounded one after the other.

7. At low frequencies and sufficient intensities additional impulses may be excited and may be responsible for the well known steeper increment of loudness at low frequencies.

8. Many psychological experiments show that the fundamental may be heard by the rhythmic action of the nerve impulse. The twofold estimation of pitch can give a physiological basis for our double system of musical symbols, e. g. c and c1.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 1951

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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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