Archives of Acoustics, 37, 4, pp. 571–582, 2012

Combination Tones in the Model of Central Auditory Processing for Pitch Perception

Institute of Manufacturing Engineering, West Pomeranian University of Technology

This work addresses the problem of difficulties in classical interpretation of combination tones as non-
linear distortions. One of the basic problems of such an interpretation is to point out the sources of these
distortions. Besides, these kinds of distortions have numerous “anomalies” which are difficult to explain
on the grounds of physics or physiology. The aim of the model presented in this paper is to show that
combination tones phenomenon can be explained as an effect of central mechanisms. Most of existing
theories of pitch perception focus mainly on virtual pitch perception and do not take into account com-
bination tones as an element of the same mechanism. The proposed model of central auditory processing
for pitch perception allows one to interpret in a coherent way both virtual pitches and combination tones
phenomena. This model is of a demonstrative nature and gives an introduction to more advanced model.
It belongs to the class of spectral models and it will be shown that such a model can be in a simple way
extended to spectral – time model which is partially consistent with autocorrelation models.
Keywords: combination tone; virtual pitch; pitch perception; central auditory processing
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