Audition: Pitch Perception

Pitch is a subjective attribute of sound that allows one to enjoy a musical melody, differentiate between talkers, and identify many different sound sources. Sound itself does not have a pitch. However, without an ability to perceive pitch, speech would be Morse code (only changes in the loudness or duration of a sound could be used to convey language), music would be only drum beats, and the sound from most sources would go unrecognized. This entry examines the physical dimensions of sound, discusses how pitch is measured, and describes some of the relationships between the physical dimensions of sound and perceived pitch.


Sound has the physical dimensions of frequency, level, and time. Sound is caused by objects that vibrate and send out sound waves. Frequency refers ...

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