A new blog, Illusion Songs, is curating a collection of auditory illusions, ear-disorienting audio samples. The collection is modest so far, but I hope it grows. I’ve never found a comprehensive resource. The Wikipedia page lists several, but there are many, many more. Some illusions, like the Shepard glissando, require no explanation: you can tell your brain is confounded. Others, like a collection from Al Bergman’s research group, are scientifically designed to reveal specific idiosyncrasies of hearing. And a few, like the tritone paradox, are the subject of some pretty dubious academic research that I’d love to see someone clear up. It looks like the blog will draw from Bergman’s collection and from performances on YouTube, particularly videos of ethnic music (“ethnic” in the musicological sense — outside the conventions of the Western tradition).

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