Tritone Paradox

In music theory, a tritone is the musical interval of three whole tones, equivalent to a diminished fifth (also called a half-octave). The tritone paradox is an auditory illusion discovered by Dr. Diana Deutsch in 1986 [1]. Some people hear the pattern going up in pitch and some hear it going down in pitch. Some studies have shown that people from different geographical regions perceive the tones differently. (The study compared listeners in the UK to listeners in California.) Furthermore, Dr. Deutsch also found that children and their mothers tend to perceive the tone in the same way. This suggests that dialect and language one hears in infancy could play a role in how one hears the tone and, possibly, music.
The user can select the frequency of the first tone and its duration. The "version" setter determines whether the second tone is a tritone higher ("up") or lower ("down") or a chord with both ("paradox").


  • [Snapshot]
  • [Snapshot]
  • [Snapshot]


[1] D. Deutsch, "Tritone Paradox." (Jan 29, 2016) deutsch.ucsd.edu/psychology/pages.php?i=206.
    • Share:

Embed Interactive Demonstration New!

Just copy and paste this snippet of JavaScript code into your website or blog to put the live Demonstration on your site. More details »

Files require Wolfram CDF Player or Mathematica.

Mathematica »
The #1 tool for creating Demonstrations
and anything technical.
Wolfram|Alpha »
Explore anything with the first
computational knowledge engine.
MathWorld »
The web's most extensive
mathematics resource.
Course Assistant Apps »
An app for every course—
right in the palm of your hand.
Wolfram Blog »
Read our views on math,
science, and technology.
Computable Document Format »
The format that makes Demonstrations
(and any information) easy to share and
interact with.
STEM Initiative »
Programs & resources for
educators, schools & students.
Computerbasedmath.org »
Join the initiative for modernizing
math education.
Step-by-Step Solutions »
Walk through homework problems one step at a time, with hints to help along the way.
Wolfram Problem Generator »
Unlimited random practice problems and answers with built-in step-by-step solutions. Practice online or make a printable study sheet.
Wolfram Language »
Knowledge-based programming for everyone.
Powered by Wolfram Mathematica © 2018 Wolfram Demonstrations Project & Contributors  |  Terms of Use  |  Privacy Policy  |  RSS Give us your feedback
Note: To run this Demonstration you need Mathematica 7+ or the free Mathematica Player 7EX
Download or upgrade to Mathematica Player 7EX
I already have Mathematica Player or Mathematica 7+