New paper suggests that musical pitch information is not adequately provided by temporal information for cochlear-implant or normal-hearing listeners.
We have a new paper out in Trends in Hearing. In this paper, we played a song (Happy Birthday) using temporal information only to both cochlear-implant (CI) and normal-hearing (NH) listeners. Both groups were insensitive to changes in tuning (i.e. if the melody was played in or out of tune) when played using only temporal information. However, listeners were highly sensitive to changes in tuning when played using pure tones (i.e. with both temporal and place information). These results suggest that temporal coding of pitch is insufficient to convey proper musical intervals. Furthermore, listeners with a CI in one ear and NH in the other performed like NH listeners with the NH ear and CI listeners with the implanted ear, suggesting that the limitations in CI performance are not related to CI listeners’ lack of familiarity with music perception.
Todd, A. E., Mertens, G., Van de Heyning, P., and Landsberger, D. M. (2017). "Encoding a Melody Using Only Temporal Information for Cochlear-Implant and Normal-Hearing Listeners," Trends in Hearing 21. pdf
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