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Musical Illusions with Dr. Diana Deutsch

Diana Deutsch Musical Illusions

I was thrilled to talk with Dr. Diana Deutsch, a pioneer in the field of music perception and psychology (she literally wrote the book on music psychology). Diana has discovered a number of famous musical illusions. Prepare to have your mind blown by the octave illusion, the scale illusion, the tritone paradox, the mysterious melody, and the speech-to-song illusion “Sometimes Behave So Strangely,” made popular by Radiolab. Diana also explains how composers can benefit from studying these perceptual illusions.

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Right click to download Ep. 29, or open in iTunes.

I highly recommend checking out more about these musical illusions on Diana Deutsch’s website.

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Want to try out this Tritone Paradox experiment? Listen to the following audio track on speakers or headphones with a flat frequency response (not too bassy, not to tinny). Take note of whether you hear each pitch pair as going up or down, and record your responses below.

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2 comments

  1. Robert Weber says:

    Curious how (or if) the results of the tritone paradox test would change if tones that were not so rich in harmonics (like sine tones) were used instead. These sounded like a hammond organ with several on the bars pulled out.

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