Networked_Music_Review

Auditory Illusions

dn13355-1_250.jpgAs part of the New Scientist’s February issue on music, Daniel Levitin has written The Music Illusion, which looks at auditory illusions and how they can help us understand the workings of the human brain. Here are five of the most striking auditory illusions discovered so far. You can hear examples of each by going to the The Music Illusion.

1. Barber’s shop illusion, which is a demonstration of the stereo effect and how we can figure out where a sound is coming from.

2. Phantom words. I loved this one. My nephew, who I almost never see or hear from, has a unique name, “Milby”, and as I listened, I heard “Milby” loud and clear and then, “no breath” over and over again, making me wonder if I should call and see if he’s all right.

3 Temporal induction of speech — or how we fill in gaps in data. Here a cough interrupts a spoken sentence — a word is actually removed — but you hear it anyway.

4 Scale illusion demonstrates how our brains group similar notes together.

5 Phantom melodies are melodies that occur when high-speed arpeggios or other repeating patterns are played fast enough.

All very interesting and worth listening to.


Feb 27, 2008
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  1. Links for 3.1.08: Beatles’ run, pi’s sound, “phantom words”… « the listenerd:

    […] *Listen up: In the New Scientist’s most recent issue, they cover music. Read/listen to this article on auditory illusions. PHANTOM WORDS. [networked music review] […]


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