In a study by Deutsch (1991), a large and highly significant difference in perception of the tritone paradox was found between a group of subjects who had grown up in California and a group who had grown up in the south of England: In general, where the Californian group tended to hear the pattern as ascending the English group tended to hear it as descending, and vice versa. The present paper documents some further geographical correlates that are derived from the data obtained by Deutsch (1991). The strength of the relationship of pitch class to perceived height was found to depend on the overall heights of the spectral envelopes under which the tones were generated. However, the direction of this dependence differed significantly depending on the subject population. For subjects showing a "Californian pattern" (i. e., whose overall peak pitch classes were in the range moving clockwise from A#–B to D#–E), this relationship was more pronounced for tones generated under lower spectral envelopes, and so when the tones were perceived as lower in overall height. In contrast, for subjects showing an "English pattern" (i. e., whose overall peak pitch classes were in the opposite region of the pitch-class circle), this relationship was more pronounced for tones generated under higher spectral envelopes, and so when the tones were perceived as higher overall instead. Given the literature on the pitch of speech as a function of linguistic community, these findings provide further evidence that perception of the tritone paradox is related to the processing of speech sounds.
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Diana Deutsch; The Tritone Paradox: Some Further Geographical Correlates. Music Perception 1 October 1994; 12 (1): 125–136. doi: https://doi.org/10.2307/40285758
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