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Topic: 5 -20 Second Auditory Memory (Read 11829 times) previous topic - next topic
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5 -20 Second Auditory Memory

Quote
........our memory for actual sound is on the order of 5-20 seconds. After that, all we remember about the music are abstractions like the tune, the beat, the words


Can anybody expand on that? Does it mean "sound" rather than "music"? Can anybody point me to some sources?

5 -20 Second Auditory Memory

Reply #1
Can anybody expand on that? Does it mean "sound" rather than "music"? Can anybody point me to some sources?


Where's the quote from?

5 -20 Second Auditory Memory

Reply #2
Well, I have to disagree with the quote. I can hear my favourite songs in whole and with all the details in my head, if I concentrate. And it can pass some time from when I have listened to them. So...
lame -V 0

5 -20 Second Auditory Memory

Reply #3
I agree with psycho. Certain pieces are such favorites of mine that I have listened to one version many many times. When I hear a version by a different orchestra the subtle differences are so jarring that in my head I keep hearing the favorite version over top of the new version. It makes it pretty hard to listen to.

5 -20 Second Auditory Memory

Reply #4
The quote is from this thread.

I agree with Mr. Krueger. Yes, I guess you could say it's remembering the sound (i.e. parts of the actual waveform or its spectrum) rather than the content. Which is exactly what you want to do when doing a blind listening tests to assess, for example, lossy coding artefacts. For me, the time frame of remembering - or at least being able to compare - two waveforms is about 3 seconds. Which is why I usually create 3-second loops in blind tests.

Chris

P.S.: Yes, for two versions played by different orchestras, the differences in the spectra and time envelopes is actually huge, so there's a high chance that you can identify such differences even after months.
If I don't reply to your reply, it means I agree with you.

5 -20 Second Auditory Memory

Reply #5
Quote
........our memory for actual sound is on the order of 5-20 seconds. After that, all we remember about the music are abstractions like the tune, the beat, the words


Can anybody expand on that? Does it mean "sound" rather than "music"? Can anybody point me to some sources?


Yes, it implies minute details about sound quality -- not music. I often hear various numbers like this quoted but would be interested in knowing the scientific studies on which these numbers are based.

Years ago, someone asked me the point at which the time gap between switching among speakers reduces the reliability of listeners' ratings due to limitations in auditory memory I didn't know the exact answer so I wrote a software program that measured listeners' absolute detection threshold of added resonances with a parameter that allows you to vary the time gap between presentation of A/B where A or B can be the same (resonance or no resonance condition) or different (either A or B contains the resonance). I could vary the the time gap between a fraction of a second up to several seconds. I only used myself as a subject - but I recall that the detection threshold of the resonance tended to be higher when the time gap was either very short (< 1 sec) or  very long (> 4 sec) and relatively constant between 1-4 seconds.  When it's too short the stimulus A tends to have masking or residue effect on stimulus B, and vice versa. When the time gap is too long auditory memory comes into play. I never completed the experiment -- but I wish someone would.

Cheers
Sean Olive
Director of Acoustic Memory
R&D Group
Harman International

5 -20 Second Auditory Memory

Reply #6
Quote
........our memory for actual sound is on the order of 5-20 seconds. After that, all we remember about the music are abstractions like the tune, the beat, the words


Can anybody expand on that? Does it mean "sound" rather than "music"? Can anybody point me to some sources?


Please delete this post since it is a duplicate of my previous post. Thanks

Sean

5 -20 Second Auditory Memory

Reply #7
Thanks for your replies.

I assumed the statement didn't relate to our ability to remember things like our favourite songs, but I wanted to be more clear on what it does or doesn't relate to, under what conditions and so on.

5 -20 Second Auditory Memory

Reply #8
Quote
........our memory for actual sound is on the order of 5-20 seconds. After that, all we remember about the music are abstractions like the tune, the beat, the words


Can anybody expand on that? Does it mean "sound" rather than "music"? Can anybody point me to some sources?



I have no idea what it means. Primary partial loudness memory has about a 200 millisecond persistance at best.  Featurememory is a few seconds. Auditory object memory can be persistant.
-----
J. D. (jj) Johnston

5 -20 Second Auditory Memory

Reply #9
I can hear my favourite songs in whole and with all the details in my head, if I concentrate.

Songs we don't even like. I have heard this called a "song wedgie". Can't get it out of your head even if you want to.

I once remarked to a friend in college (30 years ago) that there was always something playing in my head. He tested me on this once by asking me at random what I was playing in my head. It was a commercial jingle.

I think I can probably play the entire album Yessongs in my head in complete detail.

5 -20 Second Auditory Memory

Reply #10
I think I can probably play the entire album Yessongs in my head in complete detail.
I used to be able to do that with a lot of albums I loved. Now I keep myself so submerged in new music that it would probably take a bit of refamiliarization to do that.

5 -20 Second Auditory Memory

Reply #11
Quote
........our memory for actual sound is on the order of 5-20 seconds. After that, all we remember about the music are abstractions like the tune, the beat, the words


Can anybody expand on that? Does it mean "sound" rather than "music"? Can anybody point me to some sources?


Source?

Several books I read, the most recent of which was "This is Your Brain on Music" by Daniel Levitin. Seems well-documented, there are about 30 pages of Bibliographic notes.

5 -20 Second Auditory Memory

Reply #12
Well, I have to disagree with the quote. I can hear my favourite songs in whole and with all the details in my head, if I concentrate. And it can pass some time from when I have listened to them. So...


When you say "I can hear my favourite songs in whole", does that mean that you could ABX good MP3 coders with high reliablity based on just this kind of memory?

Both the original ABX TTL comparator, and the PCABX software comparator had a feature for adjusting the mute time between samples.

Many of us found that you could take mute time out to 1 second or a little more without hurting listener performance for small differences appreciably. Someplace 5 or 10 seconds out, listener sensitivity dropped into a hole when the comparison related to small differences that were  audible under ideal conditions. 

IME, if the differences are pretty gross like a 1 dB level shift, then the time delay would matter far less or not at all.

5 -20 Second Auditory Memory

Reply #13
Well, I have to disagree with the quote. I can hear my favourite songs in whole and with all the details in my head, if I concentrate. And it can pass some time from when I have listened to them. So...


When you say "I can hear my favourite songs in whole", does that mean that you could ABX good MP3 coders with high reliablity based on just this kind of memory?


I'm sorry to dig up this thread, but I stumbled upon it and saw that I never replied.

I have some songs in my mind that I am pretty sure I can ABX against MP3s. In fact it happened to me with "Victorious March" by "Amon Amarth". Of course, I didn't ABX my memory against the MP3 (it was 160kbps LAME 3.97). I used WAV vs. MP3, but first I heard the difference, which inspired me to do the ABX test afterwards. The ABX test confirmed that MP3 had artifacts.
lame -V 0

5 -20 Second Auditory Memory

Reply #14
That's different though.

It's possible to spot mp3 artefacts in something that you've never heard before - both because humans have an internal template of "normal" sounds - and most of us here will have another internal template of typical mp3 artefacts.

You can determine which template a given sound matches best, even if you've never heard that sound before. Even if you'd never heard an mp3 before in your life, you could recognise a bad one as something different from the "normal" sound that you were used to.


It might just be me, but one aspect of my long-term auditory memory (i.e. the memory that lets me hear/play songs in my head) is in mono. I can't make it stereo, no matter how hard I try.

Cheers,
David.

5 -20 Second Auditory Memory

Reply #15
In all my years there is only one piece that I can reproduce in my head in stereo. There is one track on Sgt. Pepper that ends with a fox hunt traveling from left to right, and I can hear that clearly in my head. I also had occasion to be in a music store once when that was playing, and theirs traveled from right to left. 

5 -20 Second Auditory Memory

Reply #16
 Stereo memory is an interesting topic. I've never thought about it, but I agree, there must be a clear stereo separation in order to be able to remember it.

Chris
If I don't reply to your reply, it means I agree with you.

5 -20 Second Auditory Memory

Reply #17
I confirm that only the most distinct stereo separation is remembered. For instance some of the later Queen songs, etc. 
Otherwise, I remember other details better.
lame -V 0

5 -20 Second Auditory Memory

Reply #18
I confirm that only the most distinct stereo separation is remembered. For instance some of the later Queen songs, etc. 
Otherwise, I remember other details better.




I must point out that the details you remember are those you chose to focus on at the time you were listening.  There are a host of possible memories, cues, experiences possible when you listen, but your auditory system, as guided by the rest of your brain (I won't go into concious/subconcious stuff here), will filter the raw data to extract the features you are listening for at the time you're listening.

If you listen for spatial effects, you will remember them, albiet no more accurately than you remember anything else, which, in terms of fine detail, is "not that well, really".
-----
J. D. (jj) Johnston

5 -20 Second Auditory Memory

Reply #19
It's not that I can't remember them - I know what the stereo sound field of my favourite records sounds like - I can tell you - I just can't hear it in my head.

Cheers,
David.

5 -20 Second Auditory Memory

Reply #20
Quote
........our memory for actual sound is on the order of 5-20 seconds. After that, all we remember about the music are abstractions like the tune, the beat, the words


Can anybody expand on that? Does it mean "sound" rather than "music"? Can anybody point me to some sources?


Yes, it implies minute details about sound quality -- not music. I often hear various numbers like this quoted but would be interested in knowing the scientific studies on which these numbers are based.

Years ago, someone asked me the point at which the time gap between switching among speakers reduces the reliability of listeners' ratings due to limitations in auditory memory I didn't know the exact answer so I wrote a software program that measured listeners' absolute detection threshold of added resonances with a parameter that allows you to vary the time gap between presentation of A/B where A or B can be the same (resonance or no resonance condition) or different (either A or B contains the resonance). I could vary the the time gap between a fraction of a second up to several seconds. I only used myself as a subject - but I recall that the detection threshold of the resonance tended to be higher when the time gap was either very short (< 1 sec) or  very long (> 4 sec) and relatively constant between 1-4 seconds.  When it's too short the stimulus A tends to have masking or residue effect on stimulus B, and vice versa. When the time gap is too long auditory memory comes into play. I never completed the experiment -- but I wish someone would.


We first discovered this effect about the same time we built the first ABX comparators. Clark's JAES article mentions a means for varying the mute time of a hardware ABX comparator. I replicated this feature in the PCABX software comparitor. I personally found that after a few seconds, my abilities to reliably hear differences are in the sewer. Few if anybody who hasn't done reliable listening tests is likely to believe how fast our memories of subtle details goes away. Without bias controls, we tend to believe that we can hear everything and remember it forever.

I've most recently seen a very detailed discussion of this and many other effects in Daniel J. Levitin's "This Is Your Brain on Music", which includes a vast number of footnotes. If memory serves, the author describes a model of human perception of music in the book from both a physiological and psychologial standpoint, and describes the mechanisms and realms of their effects.

I think most of the previous comments pretty much agree with the book - when we listen our mind builds a number of models of the music with various levels of details. As time passes only the most highly summarized models survive, but what survives and how long depends on who we are and what are interests are. The level of detail that is detailed enough to accuratly and reliably cover small differences between audio products only survives a few seconds for most people. After a minute or two, we're still good to play "name that tune", but many details are gone.

5 -20 Second Auditory Memory

Reply #21
i thought the question referred to the length of sound one could intuit.  when you know a song well, i think you reason your way through your memory of it, but individual elements of the song, like the snare hit, is something you can recall in a single instance of thought--intuit.

so, how long is intuition?

i remember this thought experiment.  picture a triangle in your mind--you can visualize three sides and three angles.  now picture a 1,000 sided object.

a melody might be a triangle, but i think a song is closer to a 1,000 sided object.

i'm not trained in classical music, so i have a limited appreciation of it.  i can't remember a whole song in order to recall how each part relates to the other.  but if i knew more about the sonata form or other conventions, i'm sure i'd be able to "remember" each part better.

 
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