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No evidence of notes in raw speech F0

Martin Braun wrote:
>In the pitch material of 2,400 sentences of Dutch I found a significant
>influence of our musical frequencies (based on A4=440 Hz). The
>results prove that musical pitch is stored in the memory of nonmusicians,
>just by hearing music, and then influences speech production.

I happen to be working with several databases of speech recorded with a
laryngograph signal (which allows accurate F0 to be estimated).  Together
they contain 1.75 hours of speech of which half is voiced, pronunced by 38
speakers (19 male, 19 female) of Japanese (30), English (4) and French (4).
The data have been carefully labeled with an accurate period estimation
method with sub-sample resolution, and the estimates checked visually.

A histogram of F0 values with 1/4 semitone bins shows no obvious structure
related to the musical scale.  A 4-bin histogram of values modulo one
semitone is essentially flat.  The remarkable statistics of "hand-marked
end- and turning points of the contour" are apparently not reflected in raw
F0 contours.


Alain de Cheveigne'
CNRS/IRCAM, 1 place Stravinsky, 75004, Paris.
phone: +33 1 44784846, fax: 44781540, email: cheveign@ircam.fr