Influence of frequency modulations on the recognition of vocals and instruments

Influence of frequency modulations on the recognition of vocals and instruments

Influence of frequency modulations on the recognition of vocals and instruments

In music perception, the human voice holds a unique role among other auditory signals, possessing several distinct advantages that set it apart from other instruments. It exhibits faster and more accurate recognition compared to other instruments and stands out in musical mixtures due to its salience. However, the underlying basis for the voice's unique role remains largely unexplained. In our previous experiments, we explored the salience of vocals and instruments in pop music samples. We discovered that vocals not only attracted significant auditory attention but also that the presence of frequency micro-modulation (FMM) in vocals played a crucial role in creating this salience. Therefore, this study aims to investigate the impact of frequency micro-modulations on the recognition of vocal and instrumental sounds, both in isolation and when accompanied by a distractor sound.

In three experiments, a series of short sounds were presented to listeners and the listeners were instructed to respond either to vocal or instrument sounds. The sounds were vocal or instrumental sounds taken from orchestral samples (Vienna Symphonic Library) or excerpts of popular music extracted from the MedleyDB database. Half the time the target sounds were modified in such a way that the FMM was elimniated. In a blockwise presentation, the sounds were either presented in isolation or accompanied by a piano distractor.

 

Isolated sounds

Alto U Soprano A Bassoon Trumpet Cello Violin


Sound with Piano

Alto A Soprano U Bassoon Trumpet Cello Violin

 

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