In applications for which the fundamental frequency F0 must be measured very accurately in a periodic signal, the estimate obtained by the above algorithm can be refined using a gradient search which matches a so-called ``harmonic comb'' to the magnitude spectrum of an interpolated FFT :

where

Note that freely vibrating strings are not exactly periodic due to exponenential decay, coupling effects, and stiffness (which stretches harmonics into quasiharmonic overtones, as explained in §6.9). However, non-stiff strings can often be analyzed as having approximately harmonic spectra ( periodic time waveform) over a limited time frame.

Since string spectra typically exhibit harmonically spaced
*nulls* associated
with the excitation and/or observation points, as well as from other
phenomena such as recording multipath and/or reverberation, it is
advisable to restrict
to a range that does not include any
spectral nulls (or simply omit index
when
is
too close to a spectral null),
since even one spectral null can push the product of
peak amplitudes to a very small value. As a practical matter, it is
important to inspect the magnitude spectra of the data manually to
ensure that a robust row of peaks is being matched by the harmonic
comb. For example, a display of the frame magnitude spectrum overlaid
with vertical lines at the optimized harmonic-comb frequencies yields
an effective picture of the F0 estimate in which typical problems
(such as octave errors) are readily seen.

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Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA), Stanford University