A comparison of the acoustic vowel spaces of speech and song

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Speaking and singing are two modes of the same system. These modes are subject to similar constraints, but have different goals. This study examined the acoustic vowel spaces, as defined by formant frequencies, used by singers when they were singing or speaking the same linguistic content. Overall, formant values decreased during singing compared to singing. This resulted in compression of the vowel space, with more overlapping vowel regions during singing. However, this was not consistent for all vowels and all singers. Differences between the modes are partially explained by known articulatory processes used during singing, such as larynx lowering. This may reflect the way that speakers balance communicative versus aesthetic concerns when articulating lyrics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)381-394
Number of pages14
JournalLinguistic Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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