Discrimination of musical intervals by humans and chickadees: Cue salience modulated by timbre

  • Author / Creator
    Vilinsky, Lee M
  • Musical consonance/dissonance, roughly defined by its characteristic stability/instability, has been shown to be a relatively salient feature of sound. The extent to which the salience of this property varies as a function of timbre, a property that distinguishes two sounds of the same pitch and loudness, is currently unknown. A Go/No Go operant task was employed to test how humans (Experiment 1) and black-capped chickadees (Experiment 2) discriminate synthetic and piano musical intervals of varying consonance/dissonance. Humans that discriminated synthetic intervals had proportionally higher error rates for intervals where the upper notes were close in pitch whereas humans that discriminated piano stimuli had more errors to stimuli related by consonance. Chickadees showed a similar trend for synthetic intervals but not for piano intervals. Taken together, these findings suggest that timbre modulates the salience of consonance/dissonance for auditory discrimination tasks but that the relative salience varies across species.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2013
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Paszkowski, Cynthia (Biology)
    • Hurd, Peter (Psychology)
    • Treit, Dallas (Psychology)