A Novel Instrument to Measure Acoustic Resonances of the Vocal Tract During Phonation

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Abstract
Acoustic resonances of the vocal tract give rise to formants (broad bands of acoustic power) in the speech signal when the vocal tract is excited by a periodic signal from the vocal folds. This paper reports a novel instrument which uses a real-time, non-invasive technique to measure these resonances accurately during phonation. A broadband acoustic current source is located just outside the mouth of the subject and the resulting acoustic pressure is measured near the lips. The contribution of the speech signal in the pressure spectrum is then digitally suppressed and the resonances are calculated from the input impedance of the vocal tract as a function of frequency. The external excitation signal has a much smaller harmonic spacing than the periodic signal from the vocal folds and consequently the resonances are determined much more accurately due to the closer sampling. This is particularly important for higher pitched voices and we demonstrate that this technique can be markedly superior to the curve-fitting technique of linear prediction. The superior frequency resolution of this instrument which results from external vocal tract excitation can provide the precise, stable, effective, articulatory feedback considered essential for some language-learning and speech therapy applications.
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Author(s)
Smith, John
Epps, Julien
Wolfe, Joseph
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Publication Year
1997
Resource Type
Journal Article
Degree Type
UNSW Faculty