Psychoacoustics Vocab

This is a Free Service provided by Why Fund Inc. (a 501 C3 NonProfit) We thank you for your donation!

(1. Click on the course Study Set you wish to learn.) (2. If you wish you can click on "Print" and print the test page.) (3. When you want to take a on anyone of the tests for that Study Set.) (4. Click on "Check Answers" and it will score your test and correct your answers.) (5. You can take all the tests as many times as you choose until you get an "A"!) (6. Automated college courses created from lecture notes, class exams, text books, reading materials from many colleges and universities.)


Long-Term Learning

Learn efficiently and remember over time.

Start Long-Term Learning

Get personalized study reminders at intervals optimized for better retention.
Track your progress on this set by creating a folder
Or add to an existing folder

Add this set to a folder

  • psychoacoustics

    the study of the perception of sound


    the cognitive process of assigning meaning to aural sensory input

    critical band

    area on the basilar membrane that displaces in response to a particular frequency, usually encompasses 3-4 frequencies

    periodicity pitch theory

    theory of pitch perception based on pattern recognition set by the pattern of return of the fundamental frequency . . . the quality of something recurring regularly


    a school of psychology emphasizing pattern recognition and grouping of sensory input into the unified whole

    law of common fate

    a gestalt principle stating that when events occur together, we learn to perceive them as a unit.


    the tendency of something to recur at regular intervals


    the ability to perceive differences in sensory input

    difference limen

    the number of frequencies you need to say there is a different pitch sounding 50% of the trials (if you can tell the difference between 440 and 444 50% of the time, you have a ______________ of 4)

    perfect pitch

    the ability to name the pitch of a tone without having to compare it to a standard or comparison tone - also involved the ability to produce a specific pitch on demand (aka "absolute" ______

    combination tone

    occurs when two loud tones are sounded together, a third tone is heard that is not actually present in the audible sound.


    perception of amplitude (intensity)


    when one audible sound by itself can become inaudible in the presence of another sound


    the apparent size of extensity of sound (tuba has more _______ than flute)


    apparent compactness or diffusion of sound


    parameter of sound that distinguishes one tone from another even if the two tones have the same frequency and amplitude

    tone quality

    related to timbre and is variations that can occur within a timbre range


    any component of a complex tone, including the fundamental


    areas of resonance in an instrument


    rapid frequency modulation; periodic variation of the tone (amplitude also changes, adds to timbre)


    sound that is generally considered to be pleasing or stable


    sound that is generally considered to be unpleasant, disturbing, discordant, or rough


    space between notes; expressed in ratio relationships


    a pattern of audible frequencies arranged in any ascending or descending order


    refers to precise relationship between frequency being played and a standard for comparison


    adjustment of tones and intervals to make a simpler, more practical scale

    Pentatonic Scale

    a five-note scale, which is a natural outgrowth of the fourth and fifth that was seen in early Greek musical theory as the most consonant


    individual frequency in the scale arrangement

    Pythagorean Scale

    early Greek musical scale created by projecting an ascending series of pure fifths and then dropping an octave to create stepwise movement until a chromatic scale was completed.

    Pythagorean comma

    the interval between the chromatic and diatonic semitones in the pythagorean scale

    just intervals

    simple, whole number interval ratios

    syntonic comma

    interval between the major and minor third in the pythagorean scale


    in equal temperament when a sharp and a flat are the same pitch, ex - g sharp and a flat

    Just intonation

    scale based on consonant note pairs

    Meantone Intonation

    tuning system considered unequal temperament and created by sacrificing the pure perfect fifth in favor of one size for each interval

    Equal Temperament

    tuning system created by dividing the octave into twelve equal semi-tones


    successive combinations of tones placed in a temporal sequence


    the overall shape in space of the pattern of up and down movement when considering pitch relationships within the melody


    relative closeness of tones, proximity


    "loyalty" to a primary tone or tonic


    simultaneously sounding individual tones, vertical pitch structure


    the temporal pattern that tonal stimuli follow

    rhythmic unit groups

    basic rhythmic units; building blocks of musical rhythms (iamb, trochee, dactyl, anapest, amphibrach, single beat, tremolo)











    single beat




    rhythmic line

    two or more rhythmic units combined

    rhythmic pattern

    combinations of rhythmic lines


    the pulse; underlying structural component of rhythm


    pattern of grouping of regularly recurring beats


    occurs when beats are accentuated apart from the regular metrical pattern


    speed or pace at which the beat occurs


    emphasis of a beat

    personal tempo

    rate of speed of spontaneous rhythmic movements, unique to each individual


    belief that no human ability or behavior was learned or gained from interaction with the environment

    musical mind

    Seashore's factors of musical talent

    Please allow access to your computer’s microphone to use Voice Recording.

    Having trouble? Click here for help.

    We can’t access your microphone!

    Click the icon above to update your browser permissions above and try again


    Reload the page to try again!


    Press Cmd-0 to reset your zoom

    Press Ctrl-0 to reset your zoom

    It looks like your browser might be zoomed in or out. Your browser needs to be zoomed to a normal size to record audio.

    Please upgrade Flash or install Chrome
    to use Voice Recording.

    For more help, see our troubleshooting page.

    Your microphone is muted

    For help fixing this issue, see this FAQ.

    Star this term

    You can study starred terms together

    ! Voice Recording

    This is a Plus feature