Helen M. Hanson
Div. of Appl. Sci., Harvard Univ., Cambridge, MA 02138
Res. Lab. of Electron., Rm. 36-579, MIT, Cambridge, MA 02139
A previous study of vowels produced by female speakers showed substantial individual differences in acoustic parameters related to glottal characteristics [K. N. Stevens and H. M. Hanson, in Vocal Fold Physiology: Voice Quality Control (Singular, San Diego, 1995)]. Based on measurements taken on the speech signal or spectrum, inferences were made about glottal configuration during phonation and the nature of the glottal pulse. Subjects fell into two groups based on the acoustic measurements, group 1, assumed to have abrupt glottal closure and group 2, assumed to have nonsimultaneous closure. Results of a listening test have shown that members of group 2 are perceived to be breathier than members of group 1 [H. M. Hanson, Proc. ICASSP-95 (in press)]. The current study extends the earlier work in several ways. Physiological measurements have been made for four subjects, including inversed filtered airflow recordings and glottal images obtained by fiberscopy. Also, listening tests using synthesized speech have been carried out to study the role of glottal characteristics in speaker discrimination, and the usefulness of the acoustic measures for guiding the synthesis of natural sounding speech. The physiological and perceptual data are found to be consistent with the earlier interpretations of the acoustic measures of glottal characteristics.