The predominant frequency RANGE or BAND which the bulk or body of a sound occupies. The term was introduced by Pierre Schaeffer as part of a TYPOLOGY of the SOUND OBJECT. The emphasis therefore is on mass as a perceptual or psychoacoustic variable. A sound's mass is what allows it to stay recognizable under transposition or transformation such as FILTERing.
See also: FORMANT, GRAIN, SOUND EVENT, SPECTRUM. Compare: TIMBRE, VOLUME.
Mass is further distinguished by Schaeffer as tonal, complex or varied. For a note of stable INTONATION, perceived mainly in terms of PITCH, the mass is said to be tonal, whereas for a fixed but extended frequency range, which cannot be identified by a single pitch, such as in a gong or BROAD BAND NOISE, the mass may be called complex. When the mass is variable in range, as with a GLISSANDO, it is termed varied.