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Jesse’s Perceptual Description of Sounds

September 9, 2009

1.  Oboe

Jesse - Oboe Brightness
Oboe Brightness

Jesse - Oboe Loudness
Oboe Loudness

Jesse - Oboe Pitch
Oboe Pitch

The brightness of the oboe was high, about 2800 Hz, indicating that the oboe sound has many high-frequency overtones.  The brightness remained fairly constant except at the attack and decay of the note.  The loudness of remained fairly constant too, reflecting the fact that the oboe player was holding note relatively steady.  The loudness drops off at the end of the clip, as expected.  The pitch scoops up at the attack of the note and hovers around 439-440 Hz, which some slight variation with time.  The oboe player is trying to hold a steady pitch but this view shows that the pitch changes slightly.

2.  Human Speech

Jesse - Speech Brightness
Speech Brightness

Jesse - Speech Loudness
Speech Loudness

Jesse - Speech Pitch
Speech Pitch

For the analysis, I used the first 6 seconds of this sound clip.  Compared to the relatively steady oboe sound, the perceptual characteristics for human speech vary dramatically over time.  The brightness during various vowel sounds appears to stay between 300-1600 Hz, and increases to over 5000 Hz when the woman uses consonants like “s” or “sh”.  Loudness appears to vary almost inversely with brightness, as the vowels appear much louder than consonants.  The pitch of speech remains relatively constant, within the range of 100 to 250 Hz, when the speaker is making vowel sounds although the algorithm has a hard time assigning pitches during consonant sounds.  Excluding these outliers during consonant sounds, the pitch of human speech is the most constant parameter of the three.

Although human speech varies much more in these three perceptual characteristics when compared with the harmonic oboe, the pitch remains within a specific range.  While the brightness of human speech during vowel sounds is less than that of an oboe, the brightness of human speech increases to much higher than the oboe during consonant sounds.


One Comment leave one →
  1. September 13, 2009 6:21 pm

    Brightness is a perceptual concept, what we measure in this case is the spectral centroid, thus you should refer to that.

    Very clear descriptions and plots, good!!


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