In English, we describe pitches as "high" and "low", as being "sharp" or "flat". A timbre can be "fat". At least one study suggests that there is a human tendency to perceive higher pitches as being higher in space and lower pitches to be lower in space.1
What additional evidence is there to suggest this type of correlation? Sound quality as having a spatial or other non-hearing descriptor that is part of our literal perception?
I have in mind two particular areas of evidence:
- Studies like Mudd's (see note) that demonstrate the literal associations (including whether the words reflect perception or vice-versa -- i.e., we develop a spatial sense because of the words used to describe).
- Linguistic/historical usage, such as terms used in other non-English languages/cultures, contemporary or historical. Do those terms show a consistency of perception across time and/or culture?
1 Mudd, S. A. (1963). Spatial stereotypes of four dimensions of pure tone. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 66, 347–352. Referenced in Diana Deutsch (2019). Musical Illusions and Phanton Words (Oxford University Press).