Estimating lower vocal tract features with closed-open phase spectral analyses
September 6, 2015
Previous studies have shown that, in addition to being speaker-dependent yet context-independent, lower vocal tract acoustics significantly impact the speech spectrum at mid-to-high frequencies (e.g 3-6kHz). The present work automatically estimates spectral features that exhibit acoustic properties of the lower vocal tract. Specifically aiming to capture the cyclicity property of the epilarynx tube, a novel multi-resolution approach to spectral analyses is presented that exploits significant differences between the closed and open phases of a glottal cycle. A prominent null linked to the piriform fossa is also estimated. Examples of the feature estimation on natural speech of the VOICES multi-speaker corpus illustrate that a salient spectral pattern indeed emerges between 3-6kHz across all speakers. Moreover, the observed pattern is consistent with that canonically shown for the lower vocal tract in previous works. Additionally, an instance of a speaker's formant (i.e. spectral peak around 3kHz that has been well-established as a characteristic of voice projection) is quantified here for the VOICES template speaker in relation to epilarynx acoustics. The corresponding peak is shown to be double the power on average compared to the other speakers (20 vs 10 dB).