Combination tones/Tartini pitch/the phantom fundamental psychoacoustic phenomena


sum tone – i.e. the first column
difference tones – the latter two

I came across this first in “Low End Theory” in the section on the history of organs. The principle was developed by the composer Tartini who used the theory in his composition and claimed that it had been “revealed to him in a dream by satan”. The theory much much later became the basis for developing sonic weaponry.

Sorge, author of ‘The Secretly Kept Art of Scaling Organ Pipes’ (1764) is also known for discovering the phenomena. Those who could not afford the massive organ pipes (the lower the pitch the bigger and heavier the pipe) could use the difference tones to produce the desired “phantom” pitch.

In considering my sound installation.. I’m interested in the relationship between the speakers/fq and what happens when the body – the ‘viewer’ is placed between these relationships. I will have no idea until the day of the exhibit what it actually feels like inside the installation. I’m working with guesses and hypothesis, which is a bit scary but also takes the pressure off in the sense that I can view the whole project as an experiment.

The spacial relationship between the speakers has been settled moving upwards from lowest fq to the highest – white noise.

I thought of it at first as one big chord which would modulate into periods of dissonance and harmony. I am now interested in using it to create low phantom fundamentals.. perhaps infrasonic.. I have only read around infrasound not sure what is known and unknown about it.

also the bass logic and the subwoofer boombox are the only two speakers capable of emitting real bass tones – and the logic not as much. I don’t know if I will be able to produce the volumes and intensities needed to stimulate the phenomena.



Combination tones/Tartini pitch/the phantom fundamental psychoacoustic phenomena

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