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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000428.txt from 2001/02

From: David Glenn <>
Subj: [kl] Combination tones
Date: Mon, 12 Feb 2001 07:00:06 -0500

Tony Pay wrote:

> On Sat, 10 Feb 2001 14:31:50 -0800 (PST), said:
> > I do agree that the ear is non-linear. It is logarithmic. In being
> > logarithmic it can receive audio energy over a much wider range than
> > if it was linear. However, I am convinced that the ear is not
> > non-linear in the way that would generate difference tones. To put it
> > in musical terms, if I hear a trombone and a trumpet separately or
> > together I can still recognize them as a trombone and a trumpet. There
> > is no third tone. I would expect that if our ears were sensitive to
> > difference tones we would all have headaches from the noise.
> The fact that the non-linearity of the ear doesn't interfere with that
> ability is indeed a miracle, and one that isn't fully understood.
> (I hasten to point out that my own degree of understanding of it is very
> much less than what is currently understood.)
> -- snip --

> Would this be by addition, multiplication, or what?
> Tony


I've enjoyed the avalanche of fascinating comments (though the math is too
high for me) which my question about the tuner caused - even though my
question hasn't been answered...

But as for combination tones: does *everybody* hear them? Or are there some
"combination-tone-deaf" people around like there are color-blind people?


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