Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

Experimental Psychology: A Manual of Laboratory Practice, Vol. I: Qualitative Experiments, part 2: Instructor's Manual
Titchener, Edward B.
Auditory Perception 
§ 51. Tonal Fusion. — The doctrine of tonal fusion is very far 
from being a closed chapter. Indeed, one of the most recent 
writers on the subject, E. Buch, denies that there is any need 
of the term ‘fusion’ at all, and professes to reduce the phe¬ 
nomena of fusion to the ordinary laws of association (Philos. 
Studien, xv., 1900, 268 ; cf. M. Meyer, Zeits. f. Psych., xxii., 
1900, 460). It is necessary, then, at the outset, to have a clear 
definition of the word. 
“If twö tones whose pitch-numbers stand in the ratio 1 :2 
are sounded together, they can be but very imperfectly sep¬ 
arated {gesondert) as compared with two tones, given under the 
same conditions, whose pitch-numbers form the ratio 40:77” 
(Stumpf). This difficulty of separation depends upon “ an in¬ 
variable peculiarity of the sensation-material, which persists 
when all other obstacles to analysis have been removed.” In 
the one case the tones ‘come apart’ in sensation ; in the other 
they form a whole or total impression, nearly akin to the im¬ 
pression of the simple sensation. Fusion is, then, a phenome¬ 
non of sensation, a sinnliches Phänomen, not an hypothesis set 
up to explain the problems of tonal mixture. 
Stumpf defines fusion as “ that relation of two sensation con¬ 
tents in which they form not a sum but a whole ” ; “ that rela¬ 
tion of two sensations, in consequence of which (in its higher 
stages) the total impression approaches more and more closely 
to that of a single sensation, and is analysed with greater and 
greater difficulty.” The reader must be careful not to misun¬ 
derstand these statements. A definition is necessarily couched 
in logical terms, and there is a temptation to translate the terms 


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