I was dabbling around on my keyboard and noticed a strange effect that I'd like to learn more about.
I'm sure this is a well-known effect that probably has a name, but it's a little hard to google this purely by its description.
I was playing the second inversion of G, followed by F in root position.
But even though all three "voices" went up (D -> F, G -> A, B -> C), the combined chords sound like they go down.
Here's a recording (one octave lower): chords.mp3
To my ear, it sounds like the most "prominent" notes, the ones that define "up/down" for me (I'm sure there's a word for this) are the B in the first chord and the A in the second chord, and therefore it sounds like it's going down.
Here are the same chords, followed by those two individual notes: chords-and-notes.mp3
I experimented a little more, and I noticed that this effect disappears at the high end of the keyboard. When I play the same thing two octaves higher, the second chord does sound higher than the first, as expected.
I also noticed that the effect disappears (or at least becomes less pronounced) when I play quieter.
Finally I noticed that this effect also does not happen if I modify the chords (e.g. if I play Fmin or Fsus4 instead of F major, there's clearly an upwards motion).
I tried different instrument samples and it still happens, so it seems it's not a quirk of that particular piano patch.
So my questions:
- Is this a universal thing, i.e. is everyone hearing this, or is it just me?
- Why does this happen?
- Does this effect have a name?