Pitch and timbre are closely interrelated. Both determine the perception of complex tones. Both pitch and timbre variations characterize realistic signals. Particularly via diphthongs, pitch and timbre changes occur simultaneously and continuously.


The slow (e.g. 0.5/s) and triangle frequency modulations (range: 1 octave) of a harmonic sound with the fundamental frequency of 220 Hz produces a specific pitch phenomenon. If one of the resolved partials is accentuated by a sharp onset, this partial gives rise to a temporary spectral pitch according to its position on the frequency continuum. At the same time, the pitch movement of the complex tone continues. After a short transition period of approxiamety 100 ms the partial loses its accentuated spectral pitch and is completely integrated into the timbre and pitch movement of the complex sound.


The purpose of the present pilot study was to explore starting points for the determination and explanation of a new pitch glide transition and pitch ambiguity effect which occurs when a continuous varying pitch percept of a complex tone is interrupted by onset transients of emerging harmonic partials in successive order, followed by momentarily dominating spectral pitches of the corresponding harmonics. Immediately after the appearance of the initial spectral pitch dominance, which is in concurrence to the pitch of the complex tone, the latter is reinstalled by integrating the harmonic into timbre in a smoothly gliding manner.


PACS: 43.66.Hg; Pitch perception.