I just found out about difference tones (Tartini tones) from a book by Simon Fisher. I am interested in understanding the physics. I have done some experiments in Audacity that only confuse me. Here are some of my results:
1) The Tartini tone is audible when the two tones are played through the same speaker but not when the two tones are played through different speakers; however, I could hear the Tartini tone on a recording of the two tones played through different speakers! How can that be explained?
2) I can't remove the Tartini tone by equalization that would remove a real tone at that frequency, nor will any sine wave at the Tartini tone frequency cancel the Tartini tone.
3) I can't find the Tartini tone on a spectral analysis.
4) When I play two open strings together on my violin, I can't hear the Tartini tone, but if I wear an over-the-ears hearing protector and bring the protector into contact with the violin, I immediately hear a prominent Tartini tone.
These observations lead me to think that the Tartini tone is purely perceptual, with no physical reality, in some way akin to the phenomenon of the missing fundamental. I'm also very curious why the hearing protector brings it out.
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