Already Helmholtz profoundly addressed the question how the nonlinearity of the human hearing sensor, the cochlea, might shape human sound perception. At his time, research was, however, obstructed by the lack of experimental data regarding the amplification properties of the inner ear. In the meantime, accurate measuring methods have permitted the comparison of models of the hearing sensor with empirical data, leading to a strong revival of the interest into Helmholtz’s original research questions. In our paper, we describe some recent theoretical and modeling advances in the understanding of the nature of human pitch perception. We reveal a number of to date unexplained human auditory percept effects to be direct consequences of the nonlinear properties of the mammalian hearing sensor. Our insights also demonstrate, as a by-note, the limitations of the present reverse engineering approach towards cochlear implants.