Is it possible to accomplish the same effect of the Shepard tone - something similar to ever ascending or descending sound - but instead of using scales, using arpeggios?

What I want is ever ascending or descending arpeggios without running out of audible notes.

I made a quick test in Aria Maestosa MIDI editor following the same principles of the Shepard tone, and of course it didn't work.

Couldn't find any reference linking "Shepard tone" with "arpeggios" either.

If this effect is possible I'd like to know how can I achieve it, and if it is not, why the Shepard tone effect works with semitone scales but not with other intervals.

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    'I made a quick test in Aria Maestosa MIDI editor' - perhaps post it on soundcloud or youtube and link it in here? – topo Reinstate Monica Jun 9 '18 at 9:19
  • @topomorto I could recreate the midi (I deleted it) and upload it somewhere I guess. I have no accounts on Soundcloud or Youtube. Is this like the Stack Overflow policy, show us your code first? :) – Rodia Jun 9 '18 at 9:32
  • There's no 'show us your music first' policy here :) I just thought It might be clearer what you could change if we heard an audio example... plus it's always nice to hear some actual sound on a music site :) – topo Reinstate Monica Jun 9 '18 at 10:56
  • @topomorto It would be a fun policy: "let us hear what you've tried first". Anyways, your comment proved to be useful, as my quick test was a bit too quick. A new test has shown way more interesting results. – Rodia Jun 9 '18 at 11:08

The effect works with continuous sounds as well as with scales, so it is at least somewhat robust against wider intervals. But you need a broader range of over- and undertones the greater the interval is.

Imagine doing a Shepard effect with octaves: if you reintroduced the new undertone an octave under the next one, then the first and second tone would sound identical and there would be no perception of an upward movement left. It follows that you'd need tone rows separated by at least two octaves, and it might be hard to keep them all in the audible range. But for arpeggios consisting mostly of thirds this should be doable.

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  • Thanks for answer. I was going to tell @topomorto that a lot less 'quick' test is working better now, but the effect is not that subtle as with scales. – Rodia Jun 9 '18 at 10:21

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