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The Harmonic Centroid as a Predictor of String Instrument Timbral Clarity

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Spectrum is an important factor in determining timbral clarity. An experiment where listeners rate the changes in timbral clarity resulting from spectral equalization (EQ) can provide insight into the relationship between EQ and the clarity of string instruments. Overall, higher frequencies contribute to clarity more positively than lower ones, but the relationship is program-item-dependent. Fundamental frequency and spectral slope both appear to be important. Change in harmonic centroid (or dimensionless spectral centroid) correlates well with change in clarity, more so than octave band boosted/cut, harmonic number boosted/cut, or other variations on the spectral centroid.

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