We investigated perception of virtual pitches at missing fundamentals (MFs) in musical chords of three chromas (simultaneous trichords). Tone profiles for major, minor, diminished, augmented, suspended, and four other trichords of octave-complex tones were determined. In Experiment 1, 40 musicians rated how well a tone went with a preceding chord; in Experiment 2, whether the tone was in the chord. Mean ratings for nine non-chord tones were compared with predictions of four models: MFs, diatonicity, 5th-interval relations, and tones that complete familiar tetrachords (e.g., 7th chords). Profiles were accounted for by all four models in Experiment 1, and two (MFs, 5th relations) in Experiment 2. Overall, effect size was largest for MFs. In Experiment 3, listeners heard a chord and chose a matching tone from 12 possibilities. Profile peaks were predicted by pitch models (usually, the lower tone of a perfect 5th). Participants who more likely attended to MFs in isolated harmonic complex tones (fundamental listeners) were not more sensitive to MFs in chords, suggesting their responses instead depended on statistical properties of familiar music. We propose a speculative, psychohistoric explanation: MFs influenced the historical development of musical structure, which in turn influenced the perception of enculturated modern listeners.

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