In this paper, we focused on the identification of the perceptual properties of impacted materials to provide an intuitive control of an impact sound synthesizer. To investigate such properties, impact sounds from everyday life objects, made of different materials (wood, metal and glass), were recorded and analyzed. These sounds were synthesized using an analysis-synthesis technique and tuned to the same chroma. Sound continua were created to simulate progressive transitions between materials. Sounds from these continua were then used in a categorization experiment to determine sound categories representative of each material (called typical sounds). We also examined changes in electrical brain activity (using event related potentials (ERPs) method) associated with the categorization of these typical sounds. Moreover, acoustic analysis was conducted to investigate the relevance of acoustic descriptors known to be relevant for both timbre perception and material identification. Both acoustic and electrophysiological data confirmed the importance of damping and highlighted the relevance of spectral content for material perception. Based on these findings, controls for damping and spectral shaping were tested in synthesis applications. A global control strategy, with a three-layer architecture, was proposed for the synthesizer allowing the user to intuitively navigate in a "material space" and defining impact sounds directly from the material label. A formal perceptual evaluation was finally conducted to validate the proposed control strategy.
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