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A pilot study of the spectra of sustained sung consonants

Troup, G., Djordjevic, S., Bowe, H. and Long, J. (1993) A pilot study of the spectra of sustained sung consonants. In: Proceedings of the Stockholm Music Acoustics Conference (SMAC 93), 28 July - 1 August, Stockholm, Sweden pp. 264-270.



Spectra of sustained consonants (nasals m, n, ng, lateral I, and semivowel r) sung at the pitches C4, E4, G4 and C5 by male and female choir and professional singers were analysed. Average frequencies for the first three formants of male and female singers were compared. For our sample, it can be seen that the first formant increases with the pitch for both male and female voices. The female first formant is always higher than the male one for nasals m, n, ng, at C4, and at E4 is lower for l, and at C4, E4 and C5 is lower for r.

The second formant behaves differently. The male second formant decreases for all consonants except for m where it slightly increases. The female second formant clearly increases for I and r, and is almost the same for nasals at about 1kHz. The male second formant is always higher than the female.

The third male formant is almost constant for m, ng and l while rising slightly for n and r, and is higher than the third female formant.

Comparison between male and female formant is easiest for the first formant; the second formant for female singers, particularly sopranos, is more rarely present, white the third almost does not exist at the lower pitches and for unprofessional choir singers.

The more training a singer has, the more the higher harmonics and formants become evident for the consonants, just as for the vowels.

Item Type: Conference Paper
Publisher: Royal Swedish Academy of Music
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