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Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Ear - Illusory continuity of Tones


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

An ascending tone is interrupted by a noise burst, but is perceptually continuous.

The illusory continuity of tones is the auditory illusion caused when a tone is interrupted for a short time (approximately 50ms or less), during which a narrow band of noise is played. Whether the tone is of constant, rising or decreasing pitch, the ear perceives the tone as continuous if the 50ms (or less) discontinuity is masked by noise. Because the human ear is very sensitive to sudden changes, however, it is necessary for the success of the illusion that the amplitude of the tone in the region of the discontinuity not decrease or increase too abruptly.


Most probably, this happens because of the way that the human ear adapted to filter out the background noise from signals (visual, acoustic, tactile,...) in order to show one signal disturbed by noise as one event, not several. A longer change in the signal could mean a different event.

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The above is possibly one of the (several) reasons also a medium trained ear recognize as "true" an instrument and as a "copy" its recording, but - someway/anyway - prefere to self-convince itself and brain to, simply, "enjoy" without over-empathisizing any embarassing comparisons...

The uninterrupted, new-born, let's call it: "primitive", music naturally flowing from any instrument has none of the delays and assorted "lacking of involvement" so often experienced during sound reproduction at home.

Maybe it's the "unfiltered", uncorrupted quality and nature of "primitive" musical sound which is so much less tiring for the ear and brain...

And the listener understand it, and naturally grateful, enjoy...

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