Audio illusions, what you see is what you hear, but not really

Thursday, 7 January, 2010

The way a musician plays an instrument can alter our (and even their) perception of a piece of music, leading us to believe some notes are longer or shorter in duration than they really are.

Using videos of a world-renowned percussionist Michael Burritt, Schutz found that the length of the physical gesture – the up-down motion used to strike a percussion instrument – has no effect on acoustic duration of musical notes. In other words, notes produced using long and short motions are acoustically indistinguishable. But when study participants were watching the gestures as well as listening, the notes sounded long or short due to their brains’ integration of auditory and visual information.

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