15th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association

September 14-18, 2014

Intelligibility of High-Pitched Vowel Sounds in the Singing and Speaking of a Female Cantonese Opera Singer

Dieter Maurer (1), Peggy Mok (2), Daniel Friedrichs (3), Volker Dellwo (3)

(1) Zürcher Hochschule der Künste, Switzerland
(2) Chinese University of Hong Kong, China
(3) Universität Zürich, Switzerland

The question whether or not vowel quality can be maintained at F0 of the sounds exceeding statistical F1 of “normal” speech is still a matter of debate. The present study investigates the perception of long Cantonese vowels /i, y, œ, a, ɔ, u/, spoken and sung in (C)V and (C)V:S context by a well-known female Cantonese Opera singer in the range of F0 of c. 560–860Hz. 172 high-pitched syllables or isolated vowel sounds were selected and extracted from a live recording. Corresponding vowel perception was tested in a listening test performed by 26 students of linguistics. All six vowels proved to be identifiable > 80% up to F0 of c. 700Hz, and sounds of /i, a, ɔ, u/ proved to be identifiable > 80% up to a range of F0 of c. 820–860Hz. Confusion matrices are provided in the present paper and spectral illustrations of all sounds are presented at

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Maurer, Dieter / Mok, Peggy / Friedrichs, Daniel / Dellwo, Volker (2014): "Intelligibility of high-pitched vowel sounds in the singing and speaking of a female Cantonese opera singer", In INTERSPEECH-2014, 2132-2133.