Blog Archives

What about the “actor’s formant” in actresses’ voices?

Spectrographic analysis of male actors’ voices showed a cluster, the “actor’s formant” (AF), which is related to the perception of good and projected voice quality. To date, similar phenomena have not been described in the voices of actresses. Therefore, the objective of the current investigation was to compare actresses’ and nonactresses’ voices through acoustic analysis to verify the existence of the “AF” cluster or the strategies used to produce the performing voice. Thirty actresses and 30 nonactresses volunteered as subjects in the present study. All subjects read a 40-second text at both habitual and loud levels. Praat (v.5.1) was then used to analyze equivalent sound pressure level (Leq), speaking fundamental frequency (SFF), and in the long-term average spectrum window, the difference between the amplitude level of the fundamental frequency and first formant (L1 − L0), the spectral tilt (alpha ratio), and the amplitude and frequency of the “AF” region. Significant differences between the groups, in both levels, were observed for SFF and L1 − L0, with actresses presenting lower values. There were no significant differences between groups for Leq or alpha ratio at either level. There was no evidence of an “AF” cluster in the actresses’ voices. Voice projection for this group of actresses seemed to be mainly a result of a laryngeal setting instead of vocal tract resonances.

from the Journal of Voice

Spectral- and Cepstral-Based Measures During Continuous Speech: Capacity to Distinguish Dysphonia and Consistency Within a Speaker

Spectral- and cepstral-based acoustic measures are preferable to time-based measures for accurately representing dysphonic voices during continuous speech. Although these measures show promising relationships to perceptual voice quality ratings, less is known regarding their ability to differentiate normal from dysphonic voice during continuous speech and the consistency of these measures across multiple utterances by the same speaker. The purpose of this study was to determine whether spectral moments of the long-term average spectrum (LTAS) (spectral mean, standard deviation, skewness, and kurtosis) and cepstral peak prominence measures were significantly different for speakers with and without voice disorders when assessed during continuous speech. The consistency of these measures within a speaker across utterances was also addressed. Continuous speech samples from 27 subjects without voice disorders and 27 subjects with mixed voice disorders were acoustically analyzed. In addition, voice samples were perceptually rated for overall severity. Acoustic analyses were performed on three continuous speech stimuli from a reading passage: two full sentences and one constituent phrase. Significant between-group differences were found for both cepstral measures and three LTAS measures (P < 0.001): spectral mean, skewness, and kurtosis. These five measures also showed moderate to strong correlations to overall voice severity. Furthermore, high degrees of within-speaker consistency (correlation coefficients ≥0.89) across utterances with varying length and phonemic content were evidenced for both subject groups.

from the Journal of Voice

Acoustic and Long-Term Average Spectrum Measures to Detect Vocal Aging in Women

Along the normal aging process, voice tends to become weak, breathy, and loses projection, which may interfere in the communication process. One reliable way to evaluate voice quality is through acoustical analysis using, for instance, the long-term average spectrum (LTAS). The aim of this study was to identify acoustic measures, particularly LTAS’s, which characterize vocal aging in women without vocal complaints. For this purpose, 30 elderly and 30 young women were included in this study. All spoke standard Portuguese and none had a history of vocal and laryngeal alterations or respiratory diseases. On the basis of the reading task, in habitual and loud levels, the following parameters were assessed: the equivalent sound level (Leq), the speaking fundamental frequency (SFF) and, at the LTAS window, the difference between the levels of the regions of the first formant and fundamental frequency F0 (L1 − L0), alpha ratio, and the amplitude levels obtained at equal intervals of 160 Hz, ranging from 0 to 8 kHz. There were significant differences between young and old voices for SFF and Leq in both levels. In the LTAS window, amplitude levels were higher for young voices, comprising all frequencies except those in the regions between 4.6–6.7 and 4.8–6.5 kHz, in habitual and loud levels, respectively. There were also significant differences regarding L1 − L0 and alpha ratio between groups, in both levels.The observed differences in LTAS’s slopes, L1 − L0 measures, and even Leq and SFF measures, may be attributed, to some extent, to lower subglottal pressure or a glottal setting providing a slower glottal closing speed for the elderly group.

from the Journal of Voice

Differential diagnosis of muscle tension dysphonia and adductor spasmodic dysphonia using spectral moments of the long-term average spectrum

The results suggest that moment 2 of the LTAS provides respectable diagnostic precision by highlighting spectral noise differences between females with MTD and ADSD. Automated spectral moments analysis deserves further attention as a possible test for differential diagnosis.

from The Laryngoscope

Effects of Training on Time-Varying Spectral Energy and Sound Pressure Level in Nine Male Classical Singers

The male classical singing voice is a musical instrument that is very important in western culture. It has many acoustic features which should change and improve over the period in which the singer trains. In this study we compare nine singers in different stages of training, from university level students through to international soloists. Typically, Energy Ratio (ER; a measure of mean spectral slope) and mean sound pressure level (SPL) may be calculated to summarize an entire singing sample. We investigate an alternative approach, by calculating the time-varying ER and SPL. The inspection of the distribution of these descriptors over an aria’s time period yields a more detailed picture of the strategies for high-frequency energy production used by singers with different levels of training.

from the Journal of Voice