Voice Quality: Functions, Analysis and Synthesis

August 27-29, 2003
Geneva, Switzerland

Defining and Measuring Voice Quality

Jody Kreiman (1), Diana Vanlancker-Sidtis (2), Bruce R. Gerratt (1)

(1) Division of Head and Neck Surgery, School of Medicine, UCLA, Los Angeles, USA
(2)Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology, New York University, New York, NY, USA

Although voices provide listeners with significant information about speakers, defining and measuring voice quality remain elusive goals. We argue that the much-maligned ANSI standard definition of sound quality is in fact an appropriate definition, because it treats quality as the result of a perceptual process rather than a fixed quantity, and highlights the interaction between listeners and signals in determining quality in the context of specific perceptual goals. Which aspects of the signal are important will depend on the task, the characteristics of the stimuli, the listenerís background, perceptual habits, and so on. Given the many kinds of information listeners extract from voice signals, it is not surprising that these characteristics vary from task to task, voice to voice, and listener to listener. Application of speech synthesis in method-of-adjustment tasks allows measurement of quality psychoacoustically as those aspects of the signal that allow a listener to determine that two sounds of equal pitch and loudness are different, and holds promise for improving the reliability and validity of measures of voice quality.

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Bibliographic reference.  Kreiman, Jody / Vanlancker-Sidtis, Diana / Gerratt, Bruce R. (2003): "Defining and measuring voice quality", In VOQUAL'03, 115-120.