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Re: musical tones in speech


>How do you respond to Martin's point (with which I agree) that there
>is no hope of obtaining any distribution with discrete peaks from
>quasi-continuous F0 contours? Such contours consist in large part of
>the transitions between the inflection points that are believed to be
>significant in intonation.

If there is no hope of obtaining a distribution with discrete peaks from
quasi-continous F0 contours, you should conclude that the discrete
distribution reported by Braun is artefactual.  Remember that speech
targets are supposed to have been derived (manually) from F0 contours.  I
verified, for another database, that these contours themselves show no
discrete peaks in their distribution.

If the distribution reported by Braun is not artefactual, it follows that
there IS a way of obtaining a distribution with discrete peaks from
quasi-continuous F0 contours, in contradiction with your and Martin's
point. I tested one plausible way. I looked at the populations of minima
and maxima of contiguous voiced portions, among which I'd expect to find
likely candidates for "speech targets".   Manual selection of target points
might reject some of these candidates and add others, but I'd expect a
special distribution of speech targets, if it were real, to be reflected by
a special distribution of these minima or maxima.  I found none.

I can't rule out the possibility that the algorithm used by the
hand-markers was more sophisticated, capable of producing
musical-scale-like distributions where simpler algorithms cannot.
Unfortunately the paper gives no information beyond a reference that is not
as easily accessible as ARLO.  Perhaps a useful next step would be for
Martin to describe how speech targets were obtained.  I would like
sufficient detail to implement an automatic process by which I can produce
targets, not necessarily as reliable as those produced by hand, but that
are likely to show a roughly similar distribution.  If automatic marking is
not possible, then please explain why, and what aspect specific to
hand-marking produced the remarkable distribution.  Then perhaps I'll feel
comfortable that it exists.


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