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Learning metrics on spectrotemporal modulations reveals the perception of musical instrument timbre

Abstract : Humans excel at using sounds to make judgements about their immediate environment. In particular, timbre is an auditory attribute that conveys crucial information about the identity of a sound source, especially for music. While timbre has been primarily considered to occupy a multidimensional space, unravelling the acoustic correlates of timbre remains a challenge. Here we re-analyse 17 datasets from published studies between 1977 and 2016 and observe that original results are only partially replicable. We use a data-driven computational account to reveal the acoustic correlates of timbre. Human dissimilarity ratings are simulated with metrics learned on acoustic spectrotemporal modulation models inspired by cortical processing. We observe that timbre has both generic and experiment-specific acoustic correlates. These findings provide a broad overview of former studies on musical timbre and identify its relevant acoustic substrates according to biologically inspired models.
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-03033757
Contributor : Baptiste Caramiaux <>
Submitted on : Monday, January 25, 2021 - 2:35:17 PM
Last modification on : Saturday, May 1, 2021 - 3:46:54 AM

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Etienne Thoret, Baptiste Caramiaux, Philippe Depalle, Stephen Mcadams. Learning metrics on spectrotemporal modulations reveals the perception of musical instrument timbre. Nature Human Behaviour, Nature Research 2020, ⟨10.1038/s41562-020-00987-5⟩. ⟨hal-03033757⟩

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