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Sharpness as an Attribute of the Timbre of Steady Sounds

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A factorial investigation on verbal attributes of timbres of steady sounds had shown that the attribute sharpness represented the factor carrying most of the variance (v. Bismarck [3]). In the present experiment, sharpness was scaled by several standard psychophysical methods in order to test its consistent measurability. Sharpness of both noise and harmonic complex tones, which were nearly equal in pitch and loudness and differed e. g. in the limiting frequencies and slopes of their spectral envelopes, could be determined quantitatively with different methods. Doubling, halving and directly comparing sharpness yielded internally consistent results. Sharpness increased with the upper and lower limiting frequency as well as the slope of the spectral envelope. The fine structure of the spectrum showed a comparatively small effect on sharpness.

Exploratory experiments were aimed at scaling the sharpness of sounds differing strongly in loudness and pitch. Although some of these measurements revealed large scatter in the responses, sharpness appeared as an attribute distinguishable from pitch and loudness. The observed relations between sharpness and the investigated sound parameters could be approximated by a weighted first moment of the loudness-critical band rate-pattern.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 1974

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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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