Can temporal fine structure represent the fundamental frequency of unresolved harmonics?

Andrew J. Oxenham, Christophe Micheyl, Michael V. Keebler

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    62 Scopus citations


    At least two modes of pitch perception exist: in one, the fundamental frequency (F0) of harmonic complex tones is estimated using the temporal fine structure (TFS) of individual low-order resolved harmonics; in the other, F0 is derived from the temporal envelope of high-order unresolved harmonics that interact in the auditory periphery. Pitch is typically more accurate in the former than in the latter mode. Another possibility is that pitch can sometimes be coded via the TFS from unresolved harmonics. A recent study supporting this third possibility [Moore (2006a). J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 119, 480-490] based its conclusion on a condition where phase interaction effects (implying unresolved harmonics) accompanied accurate F0 discrimination (implying TFS processing). The present study tests whether these results were influenced by audible distortion products. Experiment 1 replicated the original results, obtained using a low-level background noise. However, experiments 2-4 found no evidence for the use of TFS cues with unresolved harmonics when the background noise level was raised, or the stimulus level was lowered, to render distortion inaudible. Experiment 5 measured the presence and phase dependence of audible distortion products. The results provide no evidence that TFS cues are used to code the F0 of unresolved harmonics.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)2189-2199
    Number of pages11
    JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
    Issue number4
    StatePublished - 2009

    Bibliographical note

    Funding Information:
    This work was supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health (Grant No. R01 DC 05216). We thank Brian Moore, Daniel Pressnitzer, one anonymous reviewer, and the associate editor, Richard Freyman, for numerous helpful comments on previous versions of this paper. 1

    Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Can temporal fine structure represent the fundamental frequency of unresolved harmonics?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this