Terhardt, E. (1989). Characteristics of musical tones in relation to auditory acquisition of information. In: Proc. 1st Intern. Conf. Music Percept. Cogn., Kyoto, 191-196

The perception of musical tones is considered from the aspect of basic principles of auditory information acquisition. The latter typically is dependent on decision processes. It is shown that in a sensory system decision processes are equivalent to contourisation on various hierarchical stages. The structure of musical tones is established by the set of primary "contours" that are represented by spectral pitches. Virtual pitches and related musical sensations (root, tone affinity) are dependent to secondary contourisation processes. In this concept, basic and universal characteristics of music - in particular, tone affinity, harmonic root, and tonality - are readily explained. As an example, it is shown that the approach - including the theory of virtual pitch - allows for explaining the so-called tritone paradox.

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