Pitch Perception

W. A. Yost

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


The major subjective perceptual attribute of sound is its pitch. Pitch is a subjective attribute of many simple and complex sound sources ranging from music, to speech, to most of the sounds of everyday life. The pitch of the sound from a source is related to both the sound's physical temporal properties and to its physical spectral properties. References to pitch perception have existed throughout recorded time and several theories of pitch processing have been developed over the past 150 years. Such theories fall into three categories: those based on the temporal properties of a sound's waveform, those based on the structure of a sound's frequency spectrum, and those that combine spectral and temporal processing. The spectral structure of sound that can be resolved by the auditory periphery forms the major component of spectral theories of pitch. Temporal theories of pitch depend on the temporal amplitude envelope of a complex sound or on a sound's temporal fine structure. Autocorrelation is often used in temporal models of pitch processing. A wealth of perceptual and neural data have been collected to support each theory of pitch processing and each theory continues as valid predictors of pitch perception.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAudition
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages22
ISBN (Print)9780123708809
StatePublished - Jan 1 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Autocorrelation
  • Dominant region for pitch
  • Envelope
  • Frequency
  • Iterated rippled noise
  • Missing fundamental pitch
  • Musical pitch
  • Pitch
  • Pitch-shift of the residue
  • Resolved and unresolved spectral components
  • Spectral theories of pitch
  • Temporal fine structure
  • Temporal theories of pitch
  • Tonal harmonic complex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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