Extra_Credit_1 Illusions in Music and Speech By Gaurav Bansal

I attended a few of the lectures from the Sound and Science Symposium, and one of the more interesting ones was the Illusions in Music and Speech presented by Diana Deutsch. She explores illusions that people perceive from particular types of sounds. There we a few interactive examples she gave to the audience, and some of them were really interesting.

The first example that I thought was interesting a sound file that repeated the words “hi” and “low” over and over again in different ears. I was unable to find the audio file online but she claimed that each person will hear different things. When the sounds file was played, as she said, everyone heard different things, a lady next to said she heard “Think How” and Deutsch said that some people hear the phase “Die Now,” I was able to focus in on the “Hi Low,’ but I think it was because I was trying to. However, in all of her examples, it seems like she is trying to force the result. In this case, the phase was repeated at a very high rate, had it been slower everyone would have heard it.

The next audio example that she played was a series of four two tone tests for the audience. Each person will think a different tone is louder. When the audience was polled, the majority picked one, but there were a people who heard differently. Deutsch conducted this test in different areas around the world and showed that different regions hear the tones differently amongst other regions, but there was a majority vote for each tone within the regions.

http://philomel.com/mp3/musical_illusions/Tritone_paradox.mp3

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The last example was the one that cause the most commotion. Deutsch is trying to explore phases that create illusions in the way people listen.

http://ccrma.stanford.edu/realsimple/mus_illus/strangely.wav

After someone listens to this phrase, they begin to hear it as melody, even though the woman is saying it normally. I happen to hear it as a melody the first time it was played since she explained what was going to happen before we listened to it. Again, I think she was forcing an answer from this phrase because it was apparent that she was following the melody when she said the phrase out loud. In any case, she is very interested in exploring phrases that produce this illusion. So far, she has been unable to discover another phrase that produces the same result. Taking this into account, I believe this is just a coincidence of syllables that produces this affect. During the Q&A, someone asked if the audio spacing of each word was made uniform whether the same affect is produced, and she said no.

It seems there are a lot of interesting unpredictable things that can come of sound, but I think if people try too hard, false result can be produced, or a normal result will be over thought into a meaningful result.

By Gaurav Bansal

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