[What's on the CD]

Deutsch's Glissando illusion

            The glissando illusion was first described and published by Deutsch on this CD. It  is produced by an oboe tone played together with a sine wave that glides up and down in pitch. These two sounds are repeatedly switched between left and right, such that whenever the oboe tone is to the left, a portion of the glissando is to the right, and vice versa.

            When heard through stereophonically separated loudspeakers, the pattern produces a number of different illusions. The oboe tone is heard correctly as jumping back and forth from ear to ear, whereas the segments of the glissando appear to be joined together quite seamlessly. People localize the glissando in a variety of ways. Righthanders most often hear it as traveling from left to right as its pitch glides from low to high, and then from right to left as its pitch glides back from high to low. However, lefthanders tend frequently to obtain different illusions.

For details including the sound example, see "The Glissando Illusion: A Spatial Illusory Contour in Hearing".


Deutsch, D. Musical illusions and paradoxes, Philomel Records, 1995.

Deutsch, D., Hamaoui, K., and Henthorn, T. The Glissando Illusion and Handedness. Neuropsychologia, 2007, 45, 2981-2988. [PDF Document]

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