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Vassilakis, P.N. (2005a).  An improvisation on the Middle-Eastern mijwiz; auditory roughness profiles and tension/release patterns.  J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 117(4/2): 2476 (presented at the 149th meeting of the Acoustical Society of America / CAA, Vancouver, BC, Canada).

Abstract  (click here for an online version of the study, including video clips of the performance and study results, published by the American Institute of Physics Press Room online)
Within western musical tradition, auditory roughness constitutes one of the principle perceptual correlates of dissonance. A previous study [P. N. Vassilakis, Selected Reports in Ethnomusicology, Vol. 12 (in press)] addressed the musical significance of auditory roughness within western as well as three non-western musical traditions. It introduced a new roughness estimation model that predicts successfully roughness ratings of synthesized complex diatonic dyads. For the present study, an application was created that uses the aforementioned model to estimate the roughness of natural signals with arbitrary spectra, as well as roughness profiles of short musical pieces. The application was used to examine if and how the pattern of tension and release within a stylized improvisation on the Middle Eastern mijwiz (double clarinet) relates to roughness changes. Tension/release patterns were indicated by the Lebanese improviser and expert mijwiz player (Dr. A. J. Racy) and were also obtained by both musicians and non-musicians (American-raised) in a perceptual experiment. The results suggest that auditory roughness is a good predictor of the tension/release pattern indicated by the improviser. The patterns obtained by the subjects, although not very consistent, appear to be different overall, suggesting that musical tension and release may be culture-specific concepts.