NewScientist.com news service
As part of our special issue on music, Daniel Levitin has written The Music Illusion, which looks at auditory illusions and how they can help us understand the workings of the human brain. Here we have compiled five of the most striking auditory illusions discovered so far.
We had a big pool to choose from, from the mysterious quintina (fifth voice) heard in some types of throat-singing, to the saxophone break that isn’t on Lady Madonna (it’s actually the Beatles singing into their cupped hands – not to be confused with the actual sax solo) and the soaring guitar sound of Pink Floyd’s Dave Gilmour. Listen to our top 5 below, and read our explanations of the effects involved.
1 Barber’s shop illusion (Listen with headphones)
2 Phantom words (Listen through stereo separated loudspeakers, best placed some distance apart)
3 Temporal induction of speech
4 Scale illusion (Listen through stereo headphones, or stereo separated loudspeakers, best placed some distance apart)
5 Phantom melodies