Voice Quality: Functions, Analysis and Synthesis
August 27-29, 2003
Phonetics and Measurements of Voice Quality
Dept. Phonetics and Linguistics,
University College, London, UK
"Voice" is often used to refer to speech as a whole but historically, in work in Phonetics, there are
long established precedents for defining voice with reference to activity at the level of the larynx. The
measurement of voice is then made with special reference to those aspects of vocal tract excitation
that are associated with the control and vibration of the vocal folds and associated laryngeal structures.
This is also the theme of the present overview, and six related areas of voice measurement are
- direct vocal fold imaging gives a basic way of classifying salient characteristics of vocal fold
vibration and of distinguishing between modes of voice production
- auditory criteria determine, and provide the basis for defining, the primary subjective dimensions
- the most widespread methods of quantitative voice quality assessment are based on the use of
sustained vowel sounds and auditory criteria make it possible to set up a practical reference frame
for their measurement that is quite different from that used in ordinary speech transmission in
- another set of pitch criteria are similarly needed for the adequate representation of voice in fluent
speech and their application is discussed in the analysis of normal, pathological and synthetic
- the relation between closing and opening is an obvious feature of vocal fold imaging and the
techniques used for measuring pitch related aspects of voice can also be applied to the analysis
of closed phase ratio in normal and pathological voice.
The final discussion concerns the implications of these approaches for future developments in
quantitative cross-language comparison and clinical diagnosis.
Presentation (PDF; 1326 KB)
Presentation (zipped tar archive; 29 MB)
Fourcin, Adrian (2003):
"Phonetics and measurements of voice quality", Abstract,
In VOQUAL'03, 11.