The effect of fundamental frequency on the brightness dimension of timbre

Jeremy Marozeau, Alain de Cheveigne

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The dependency of the brightness dimension of timbre on fundamental frequency (F0) was examined experimentally. Subjects compared the timbres of 24 synthetic stimuli, produced by the combination of six values of spectral centroid to obtain different values of expected brightness, and four F0's, ranging over 18 semitones. Subjects were instructed to ignore pitch differences. Dissimilarity scores were analyzed by both ANOVA and multidimensional scaling (MDS). Results show that timbres can be compared between stimuli with different F0's over the range tested, and that differences in F0 affect timbre dissimilarity in two ways. First, dissimilarity scores reveal a term proportional to F0 difference that shows up in the MDS solution as a dimension correlated with F0 and orthogonal to other timbre dimensions. Second, F0 affects systematically the timbre dimension (brightness) correlated with spectral centroid. Interestingly, both terms covaried with differences in F0 rather than chroma or consonance. The first term probably corresponds to pitch. The second can be eliminated if the formula for spectral centroid is modified by introducing a corrective factor dependent on F0. (c) 2007 Acoustical Society of America.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)383-387
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Acoustics
  • Humans
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Music
  • Pitch Perception
  • Acoustic emissions
  • Correlation methods
  • Natural frequencies
  • Spectrum analysis
  • Acoustic waves
  • analysis of variance
  • article
  • auditory discrimination
  • auditory stimulation
  • controlled study
  • experimental study
  • female
  • hearing
  • human
  • human experiment
  • male
  • multidimensional scaling
  • normal human
  • priority journal
  • scoring system
  • sound detection
  • sound intensity
  • spectroscopy
  • Corrective factor
  • Fundamental frequency (F0)
  • Multidimensional scaling (MDS)
  • Spectral centroid
  • AUDIO frequency
  • T
  • brightness dimension
  • fundamental frequency
  • pitch difference
  • spectral centroid
  • synthetic stimulus
  • timbre dimension
  • Primates Mammalia Vertebrata Chordata Animalia (Animals, Chordates, Humans, Mammals, Primates, Vertebrates) - Hominidae [86215] human common female
  • 20004, Sense organs - Physiology and biochemistry
  • Sensory Reception


Dive into the research topics of 'The effect of fundamental frequency on the brightness dimension of timbre'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this