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Music, Cognition and Computerized Sound: An Introduction to Psychoacoustics Paperback – 18 Apr 2001

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Music, Cognition and Computerized Sound: An Introduction to Psychoacoustics + Master Handbook of Acoustics + Acoustics and Psychoacoustics
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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: MIT Press; Pap/Cdr edition (18 April 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262531909
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262531900
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 1.8 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 917,544 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"The book can be highly recommended for instructors who are teaching a course on musical acoustics or music perception. The book contains a number of insightful observations, especially on scales, tonality, and the pitches of complex tones. The chapters on the human voice, memory, and haptics by the junior authors seemed particularly fresh and interesting." - William M. Hartmann, Music Perception"

About the Author

Perry R. Cook is Assistant Professor in the Department of ComputerScience at Princeton University, with a joint appointment in Music.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Audio303 on 18 Sept. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The best book I have read in a long time, absolutely fascinating and a good grounding in psychoacoustics from the structure of the ear, pitch perception to cognitive behaviours. A good read just for fun or as a course text book and authored by some of the best known people in audio research such as Max Matthews (developer of the first computer music program) and John Chowning (inventor of FM synthesis). Also includes lab experiments to go with each chapter.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book because I write music using computer software. The book is an OK introduction to psychoacoustics. I only say OK because there are numerous parts where the explanation is insufficient. The author makes jumps in logic that I, a relatively experienced musician, cannot follow. The graphs/images used to explain the text are super pixelated and overall very unpleasing to the eye. Finally, there is very little coordination between the individual chapters. Concepts in one chapter are repeated in another one.

So, even though I have to praise the book for providing a selection of short essays on individual topics, allowing the reader to pick and choose what they want to read, the book has done a bad job at condensing information and making it accessible. I know, it's a difficult subject to explain to initiates, but that's why we buy books, and by this criteria, the book has mostly failed.

The problem is that the only alternative I know of are overly complex psychoacoustics textbooks which require a significant investment in time. If anyone knows something in between - please let me know!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 8 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
A great place to start. 14 Mar. 2000
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Simply a great book to "start" your research. Excellent bibliography, and very very important contributors (those who have made the history of CM). I have bought another couple of books on this subject, however this is the most balanced one. Make sure you read the book by Bregman and Fastl & Zwicker (if your a tech head) once you're finished with this one.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Great intro to the subjective human perception of sound 9 Dec. 2006
By calvinnme - Published on
Format: Paperback
Developed from a series of lectures at the Stanford Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA), this book offers a coherent panorama of the field of psychoacoustics as it pertains to music and computerized sound. The authors-among them Max Mathews, Roger Shepard, John Chowning, and John Pierce-are recognized authorities in the field of computer synthesized sound and the nature of acoustical and musical perception. The CD-ROM contains audio samples for each chapter, plus source code for all the samples.

Although it is specifically intended as a course book for psychoacoustics, with a closing chapter on the effective design of experiments and an appendix of exercises, this book should prove valuable to a wide audience. Computers provide what seems the ultimate level of control over sound synthesis, but it is often hard to know where to begin. Anyone who has ever confronted the problem of determining which parameters of a synthesized sound are acoustically perceptible or meaningful will appreciate the clarity with which the introductory chapters distinguish the physical parameters of sound from the perception of sound. Building on established research into the fundamentals of acoustic perception, the book proceeds to more complex issues of voice articulation and synthesis, perceptual streaming, musical memory, and the haptics of sound production. Computer musicians will find material to suggest diverse directions for experimentation. Multimedia artists working with sound will discover new methods for generating sounds, with the potential for weaning themselves from straight playback of sampled sound and working with real time synthesis. Some of the perceptual effects documented in the text and audible on the CD are remarkable in themselves, such as Shepard and Risset tones, or the complex effects of perceptual streaming. The level of detail of many of the chapters is sufficient, particularly when supplemented by the source code, to get you started in a variety of sound synthesis techniques. The brief list of bibliographic references at the end of each chapter will lead you onwards.

While this book is most valuable as a guide to the uses of state-of-the-art technology for acoustic research, it also sheds light on how human cognitive abilities shape musical structures. Choices of rhythm, melodic variation, chord structure, timbre, orchestration, and even the evolution of musical styles over time have some of their reasons in the nature of the human auditory system. A welcome result of reading this book may be that the reader learns to hear natural and musical sounds with a new appreciation of the complex dynamics of sound production, sound perception, and the inner logic of music.

If you are interested in the signal processing end of psychoacoustics, I recommend you read "Signals, Sound, and Sensation" by Hartmann after you finish this book.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Superficial and dangerously incomplete 8 Jan. 2008
By Telstar - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book has not had a sufficient editorial vision of the whole book, nor control of the content of the individual chapters. The timbre chapter is among the most incomplete and superficial in existence. This could be said of many entries here.

There is absolutely no doubt these are people of authority, but the whole is far, far less than the sum of the parts.

Most importantly, almost no chapter explains how the entire set of concepts connects specifically to *computerized* sound.

Howard and Angus "Acoustics and Psychoacoustics" is a far more cogently structured, complete, yet introductory, approach to these topics.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Fantastic 25 Feb. 2005
By 6.00 AM - Published on
Format: Paperback
Very enjoyable, very entertaining and an interesting reading. The opening chapter by Max Mathews is a lovely opener puts he reader at ease immeadiately. My first book on physco-acoustics and to be honest I am glad. I have read other books on the subject since then but this is still my favourite. Well worth the money.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Self-Study in Psychoacoustics 10 Oct. 2004
By Huck Hodge - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book is great for self-study in psychoacoustics or for reviewing the basics of related fields. One of the best parts is the list of recommended experiments in the back of the book. These really help to keep the information in the respective sections from the realm of abstract pendanticism. This is the book that is assigned to the Psychoacoustics course at CCRMA (Stanford) and is laid out in an easy-to-follow, instructive way. One of the best entry-level texts on the subject.
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