Diana Deutsch is Professor of Psychology at the University of California, San Diego.
She is internationally known for the musical illusions and paradoxes that she discovered; these include the octave illusion, the scale illusion, the glissando illusion, the tritone paradox, the cambiata illusion, the phantom words illusion and the speech-to-song illusion, among others. She also explores memory for music, and how we relate the sounds of music and speech to each other. In addition she studies absolute pitch – why some people possess it, and why it is so rare.
Deutsch has over 200 publications, including Musical Illusions and Phantom Words: How Music and Speech Unlock Mysteries of the Brain (2019), The Psychology of Music, (1st edition, 1982; 2nd edition (1999), 3rd edition (2013) and the compact discs Musical Illusions and Paradoxes (1995) and Phantom Words and Other Curiosities (2003). She has been elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Acoustical Society of America, the Audio Engineering Society, the Society of Experimental Psychologists, the American Psychological Society (renamed the Association for Psychological Science), and the American Psychological Association. She received the Rudolf Arnheim Award for Outstanding Achievement in Psychology and the Arts from the American Psychological Association, the Gustav Theodor Fechner Award for Outstanding Contributions to Empirical Aesthetics from the International Association of Empirical Aesthetics, the Science Writing Award for Professionals in Acoustics from the Acoustical Society of America, and the Gold Medal Award from the Audio Engineering Society for “lifelong contributions to the understanding of the human hearing mechanism and the science of psychoacoustics.” https://deutsch.ucsd.edu/psychology/pages.php?i=101
In listening to this broadcast, you enter the curious and paradoxical world of illusion. The sounds as they appear to you are not only different from those that are really present, but they sometimes behave so strangely as to seem quite impossible. The illusions also show that people can differ strikingly in the way they hear very simple musical patterns. These disagreements do not reflect variations in musical ability or training. Even the finest musicians, on listening to the stereo illusions featured here, may disagree completely as to whether a high tone is being played to their right ear or their left. And the most expert musicians, on listening to the tritone paradox, can engage in long arguments as to whether a pattern of only two tones is moving up or down in pitch. How do we explain these striking perceptual discrepancies? In the case of the stereo illusions, disagreements tend to arise between righthanded and lefthanded listeners, indicating that they reflect variations in brain organization. In contrast, the way the tritone paradox is perceived varies with the geographical region in which listener grew up, so differences here are related to the languages or dialects to which people are exposed. The illusions and paradoxes we shall be exploring lead us to wonder what other curiosities of music perception might exist that have not yet been discovered. But using the principles that generate these illusions, we can now produce music that sounds radically different from one listener to another, and even from one audience to another.
01. Introduction. 0’52
02. Short octave illusion and commentary. 2’20
03. Long octave illusion. 2’28
04. Commentary. 0’32
About the descending Shepard scale- Roland Kuit.
A Shepard tone, named after Roger Shepard, is a sound consisting of a superposition of sine waves separated by octaves. When played with the bass pitch of the tone moving upward or downward, it is referred to as the Shepard scale. This creates the auditory illusion of a tone that seems to continually ascend or descend in pitch, yet which ultimately gets no higher or lower. Changing of the volume works as an audial mask. The masking of frequencies creates this audial illusion.
About the extended Barbers pole – Roland Kuit.
This expample has multi Shepards glissandi on different scales. This produces a repeated feeling of falling and rising mass.
About Descending Modular Coagulation – Roland Kuit.
NASA scientist John C. Shepard created this Shepard Scale as a technique for rating the intensity of sensory input in 1962. It is a mathematical representation of how the human ear perceives sounds.
In this work, Kuit lowers the pitch each new phase of the Shepard Glissando. Because of this, we experience a much deeper descending. It is a tribute to Earth’s gravity. This work was sent into space on board of NASA asteroid-study and sample-return mission OSIRIS-REx September 8, 2016.