Vowel Inherent Spectral Change

Part of the series Modern Acoustics and Signal Processing pp 263-282


Vowel Inherent Spectral Change in Forensic Voice Comparison

  • Geoffrey Stewart MorrisonAffiliated withForensic Voice Comparison Laboratory, School of Electrical Engineering & Telecommunications, University of New South Wales Email author 

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The onset + offset model of vowel inherent spectral change has been found to be effective for vowel-phoneme identification, and not to be outperformed by more sophisticated parametric-curve models. This suggests that if only simple cues such as initial and final formant values are necessary for signaling phoneme identity, then speakers may have considerable freedom in the exact path taken between the initial and final formant values. If the constraints on formant trajectories are relatively lax with respect to vowel-phoneme identity, then with respect to speaker identity there may be considerable information contained in the details of formant trajectories. Differences in physiology and idiosyncrasies in the use of motor commands may mean that different individuals produce different formant trajectories between the beginning and end of the same vowel phoneme. If within-speaker variability is substantially smaller than between-speaker variability then formant trajectories may be effective features for forensic voice comparison. This chapter reviews a number of forensic-voice-comparison studies which have used different procedures to extract information from formant trajectories. It concludes that information extracted from formant trajectories can lead to a high degree of validity in forensic voice comparison (at least under controlled conditions), and that a whole trajectory approach based on parametric curves outperforms an onset + offset model.