What Is Tonality?

- Jun 19, 2018-

Tonality, also known as pitch, is the subjective assessment of the tone of the human ear. The pitch is mainly determined by the frequency. The higher the frequency is, the higher the pitch is; the lower the frequency is, the lower the pitch is. However, there is a certain relationship between the pitch and amplitude.

The ear's perception of pitch changes is not a linear relationship but a logarithmic relationship. That is, the pitch sensation is formed due to the relative change of the frequency, ie, regardless of the original frequency, the same multiple frequency change always produces the same pitch change feeling to the human ear. For example, if the frequency is doubled, for example, from 100Hz to 200Hz or from 1KHz to 2KHz, the pitch change is the same in auditory sense, that is, the so-called “octave” is increased, also called "octave". It is precisely because the logarithm (or multiple) of the change in pitch and frequency is proportional to the logarithm (or multiple), so in the graph representing the frequency, the frequency coordinate is often logarithmic scale, the center of the graphic equalizer often press "1/2 times the frequency The same is true for the "" or "1/3" setting.

Every time a musical instrument emits a sound, this sound has harmonics that are integral multiples of f0, in addition to the fundamental frequency f0. The pitch sensation of each tone is determined by f0, and each harmonic determines the timbre of the tone. Sometimes the amplitude of f0 is even smaller than the amplitude of the first few harmonics (such as f1, f2, f3, ...), but the effect of f0 on the pitch does not diminish at all.

The feeling of the human ear on the pitch is also affected by the amplitude. When the amplitude is large, the eardrum is subject to greater irritation and deformation, which affects the perception of the tone of the nerve. In general, when the loudness increases, the human ear feels that the tone is reduced, and the lower the frequency, the more the reduction is felt.



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