Spectral Fusion and the Creation of Auditory Images

  • Stephen McAdams


The auditory system participates in the forming of images evoked by acoustic phenomena in the world around us. An important aspect of the imaging process is the distinguishing of different sound sources. Since the peripheral auditory system performs a spectral analysis on the incoming composite signal, mechanisms must exist to group spectral components according to their respective sources and to affect a kind of perceptual fusion of spectral components arising from the same source. There may be innate mechanisms and mechanisms acquired through experience in the world that have criteria for “deciding” whether a particular constellation of dynamic acoustic elements is likely to constititute a sound source. Of particular interest for music composition are the ways in which these mechanisms operate with respect to ambiguous acoustic information, the ways a listener can be beckoned beyond the boundaries of established patterns of perceiving. These have implications for the realms of “possible” perception.


Source Image Auditory System Musical Instrument Complex Tone Harmonic Series 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen McAdams
    • 1
  1. 1.Stanford University School of Medicine and Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics Department of MusicStanford UniversityStanfordUSA

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