Science of Sound and Auditory Perception


This is a place to share research and scientific articles related to either the science of sound or the science of auditory perception – and any resulting discussion. A title description on your posts would be helpful. Older information that you find interesting is good too.


Human auditory perception is found to be ‘strobed’ and not continuous.

The alternation side to side is really interesting. One sixth of a second is 360 BPM. This is pretty much a reasonable max rhythm – perhaps that’s why. I wonder if the one sixth of a second rate ever change and how, or is it steady? I also wonder if it is different for different people?

Does a persons hearing strobe synch to a beat? Then could the perceiving ear be switched with a phase shift (syncopation) of 1/12 or maybe 1/24 of a second? If there is a synchronization (or phase lock), how quickly does that lock in? Could you lock in to 330 BPM, or some other beat?

The lowest perceived pitch is ~20 cps or about 1/3 the time of an auditory perception beat – three vibrations per perception strobe.


A couple of fun videos involving the physics of sound waves.

Here’s the first one, a two dimension flame grill with two audio sources, a 2-D Rubens’ tube:


And the second one on projecting a Bowditch curve (aka a Lissajous curve) using a rubber sheet over a speaker, with a tiny mirror and a laser:

This doesn’t look like it would be too hard to do.


Music Prosthetic Technology:

OK this is technology – but i think it fits the topic.
Perhaps you’ve seen the videos with this same guy playing the drums a few years back.


What would alien music sound like?!

Actually this article is more about the structure and process with the brain designed to process music. But to do this the author generates his version of alien music.

This summary report gets pretty complicated, but it’s easier to approach than the original paper in Scientific Report.

Original Paper

My question to you: Do you ever make ungrammatical music?
I do!


I like this thread… :smiley: Good stuff @Jukka


There’s a neat max4live plugin that does this.

It’s not free, but it’s fairly cheap.



Interesting thread - been meaning to update my last thesis (comparative analysis of audio spatialization techniques using surround sound headsets) with a proper statistical analysis but I’m a wee bit lazy…


For those that have access to nature publishing group, this is a good review article:



Overtone acoustic guitar-string synthesis

This guy is modifying the overtones on a guitar string with electronics and an electromagnet. Skip in about a minute and the choice of overtones chosen changes, and becomes ones that are normally less prominent.

This video is from this Synthtopia article.


Sound Design Ideas

Francis Preve presents a ‘course lecture’ on sound design. He goes through this all in a very scientific way, which fits well in this thread. The really informative part is 23 minutes long, there is an interview section after to fill an hour, so save this off and play it when you have 20 minutes or so to concentrate.

ADDED: Book mentioned by Francis Preve – “This is Your Brain on Music” by Daniel Levitin (About the neuroscience behind music.)


Well, in the 90’s I was into some Fringe Science.
I also played Bass and a Polysix in a Jazz band.
Trying to hypnotize an audience with Biaural Beats was… wrong, but that’s Jazz.