AES Journal Forum

Effect of Spectral Centroid Manipulation on Discrimination and Identification of Instrument Timbres

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Spectral centroid and attack time are universally recognized as the two most important perceptual features of acoustic instrument tones. By measuring the strength of higher harmonics relative to lower harmonics, spectral centroid strongly correlates with a tone’s perceptual brightness. Spectral tilting can control the centroid. This study systematically investigates the influence of the spectral centroid on subjective judgments about instrument tones. Subjective tests explored the ability of listeners to detect changes in centroid, the identification of instruments with two types of tilting, and what listeners are hearing with spectral tilting. Discrimination and identification are related.

JAES Volume 62 Issue 9 pp. 575-583; September 2014
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