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3 contrasts used to classify or analyze sound

1. simple/complex
2. periodic/aperiodic
3. transient/continuous

Sounds that appear in the real world

complex sounds

graphic representation of the time domain

waveform (a/t)

graphic representation of frequency domain

amplitude spectra

graphic representation that allows for a display of all 3 sounds

speech spectrogram

waveform axes and units of measurement


spectrogram axes and units of measurement

freq/time (w/ darkness representing the amp.)

frequency domain (spectrum) axes and units of measurement


mathematical analysis performed on complex sound to identify its frequency or spectral components

Fourier analysis

F0 definition

= fundamental frequency in periodic complex sound, also it's the 1st harmonic

harmonic definition

frequency components of periodic complex sound

how can we predict the harmonics above F0

multiply the number of the harmonic by the F0

what can we predict regarding the amplitude of harmonics above F0

amplitude decreases in intensity as harmonics increase in frequency

octave definition

twice or 1/2 of any frequency

resonant frequency definition

a particular frequency that passes best through an object - sets an object into vibration
*more mass = lower resonant freq.
*more stiffness = higher resonant freq.
*longer = lower resonant freq.

4 major types of acoustic filters

1. low pass
2. high pass
3. band reject
4. band pass

low pass filter definition

passes through frequencies and diminishes below the cut-off frequency

high pass filter definition

passes frequencies above cut-off frequency

band reject definition

rejects frequencies between 2 cut-off frequencies

band pass definition

filters freq. above a cut-off freq and below a cut-off freq

cut-off frequency definition

the freq values above, below or between which the filter passes the sinusoidal components w/o reducing their amplitudes *essentially, where attentuation begins

systems of speech production

1. respiratory system
2. laryngeal system
3. supralaryngeal system

respiratory system definition

power source (lungs)

laryngeal system definition

creates sound (vocal folds and glottis)

supralaryngeal system definition

shapes sound (articulators and resonators)


jaw, tongue, lips, velum (velopharyngeal port) - all direct sound into the resonating cavities and change their shape are size


pharyngeal cavity, oral cavity, chest cavity and nasal cavity - all shape the spectrum of the glottal source

complex periodic sounds

vowels, diphthongs, nasals, glides, liquids, voiced fricatives, voiced plosives and voiced affricates

complex aperiodic: noise

voiceless fricatives, voiceless affricates, voiced fricatives, voiced affricates

3 contributions to the acoustic speech product

1. glottal source
2. transfer function
3. radiated sound wave

glottal source definition

glottis and vocal folds

transfer function definition

filtering of the glottal source as a result of the vocal tract resonances

radiated sound wave

occurs at the lips

corresponding locations in the vocal tract

glottis, oral/nasal cavity and lips

12 dB/octave definition

rate at which harmonics decrease in amplitude from glottis

harmonics definition

a component frequency of a complex wave that is an integral multiple of the fundamental frequency

effect of tube length on resonance

longer tube = lower resonant frequency

formant definition

vocal tract resonances corresponding to peaks in the transfer function and radiated output spectrum (F1, F2, F3) - *a group of enhanced harmonics

F1 associated articulatory movements

mouth opening, jaw lowering or tongue lowering

F2 associated articulatory movements

location of tongue hump

F3 associated articulatory movements

location of tongue placement

F1 vowel class

high vowels have lower F1 and low vowels have higher F1

F2 vowel class

tongue to front have high F2 and vowels w/ tongue toward back have low F2

F3 vowel class

vowel place

diphthong definition

vowels that change in location and degree of constriction over the course of production - *2 vowels together that move rapidly from one to the other

nasal murmur definition

the addition of a resonance below 500 Hz

effect of anti-resonances on the amp of nasals

it decreases the amp of higher frequencies

resonant areas for nasal consonants

all non-nasal areas + nasal cavity and velopharyngeal port

how does F3 participate in consonant differentiation?

placement of tongue tip (fine tongue tip movement differences)

4 phases of articulation of stop/plosive

1. closing
2. hold
3. release
4. vowel

primary acoustic features on a stop/plosive

noise spike that occurs (on spectrogram) when sound "explodes" in sound production

roll-off definition

rate of attenuation

tube resonance relation to fundamental freq

the longer the tube (lip rounding) lowers the formants because tube is lengthened

SEMIVOWEL manner of articulation


NASAL manner of articulation


STOP manner of articulation


AFFRICATE manner of articulation


FRICATIVE manner of articulation


VOT (voice onset time)

duration (or time) between plosion/noise spike & onset of the vowel *is longer for voiceless plosives than for voiced plosives

simple sound definition

sound that is comprised of only one frequency (SHM, pure tone, sinusoid)

complex sound definition

sound that is comprised of more than one frequency

periodic sound criteria

-the freq content is specific
-the waveform repeats itself
-may be simple or complex

aperiodic sound criteria

-freq content may be random
-randomly distributed frequencies may appear within a specified range
-the waveform does not repeat
-always complex
-noise/white noise

transient noise criteria

-the signal has a beginning and an end
-acoustic results of suddenly stopping and starting are a splattering of the signal across a broad range of frequencies
-working definition - very brief acoustic signals
*usually a sound that is short in duration and when it stops there is a splattering of frequencies (ex: clap, /k/, /p/, /t/

continuous sound criteria

-definitions - the signal has no beginning or and end - the signal has "ramped" or shaped beginning and end points to avoid transient effects
-may be simple or complex
*starts and stops but not very fast; ramps up (ex: "sh" and "ah")


a resonator that modifies the freq of vibration

complex aperiodic: transient

voiceless plosives, voiceless affricates, voiced plosives, voiced affricates

vowels (acoustic features)

complex periodic sound

diphthongs (acoustic features)

complex periodic sound

nasals - m, n, ng (acoustic features)

complex periodic sound

glides/liquids - w, r, l, j (acoustic features)

complex periodic sound

voiceless fricatives - f, s, th, sh, h (acoustic features)

complex aperiodic: noise

voiceless plosives - p, t, k, (acoustic features)

complex aperiodic: transient

voiceless affricate - ch, (acoustic features)

complex aperiodic: noise and complex aperiodic: transient

voiced fricatives - v, th, zh (acoustic features)

complex periodic, complex aperiodic: noise

voiced plosives - b, g, d (acoustic features)

complex periodic (briefly), complex aperiodic: transient

voiced affricates - juh

complex periodic (briefly), complex aperiodic: noise and complex aperiodic: transient

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