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Re: FDL vs F0DL

Dear José,

I did a similar study with Bob Peters and Rob Milroy in 1983, but we used a simple randon melody task to ensure that the listeners were using pitch rather than a spectral position cue. You can do the task with 2-3 periods of a complex tone whereas it takes about 7 periods of the fundamental on its own. In the paper, we interpret this as meaning that the pitch is stronger for the complex tones.  The reference is

Patterson, R.D., Peters, R.W. and Milroy, R. (1983). "Threshold duration for melodic pitch," In R. Klinke and R. Hartmann (Eds.), Hearing - Physiological Bases and Psychophysics, Proceedings of the 6th International Symposium on Hearing. Berlin: Springer-Verlag, 321-326.

A pdf of the paper is available at the bottom of my golden oldies web page


It is also available at


Best regards,


On 28/02/2012 08:38, José Ignacio Alcántara wrote:
Dear List Members,

According to Flanagan & Sadlow (1958), Pitch discrimination for synthetic vowels, J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 30: 435-442, F0DLs are slightly smaller than FDLs for a sinusoid with a frequency equal to that of the lowest frequency component of the complex tone.  This implies that the (residue) pitch of the complex tone is stronger than that of the sinusoid, as long as there are resolvable low-frequency harmonics in the complex tone (e.g., harmonic numbers 3 to 5).  I'm assuming that this is due to the integration of information from different resolvable harmonics to determine the residue pitch.

My question is simply: does anyone know of any other more-recent studies that have replicated this finding?  

There's plenty in the literature on pitch perception of tones vs complex tones, which I know about; however, I cannot find any other studies that have explicitly compared sensitivity to pitch changes of pure tones vs complex tones, when the frequency of the sinusoid is equal to the F0 component of the complex tone?

Best wishes,

Dr José Ignacio Alcántara

Department of Experimental Psychology
University of Cambridge
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Fellow of Fitzwilliam College
Cambridge, UK
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Roy Patterson
Centre for the Neural Basis of Hearing
Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience
University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge, CB2 3EG
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