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Didgeridoo and Sultry Voice – Assignment 4

September 11, 2009

To further analyze sound characteristics and perception, I chose a sustained didgeridoo tone and a woman’s sultry voice saying “Hey Sweety!”

(1) Didgeridoo

Didg Spectrogram

The didgeridoo’s low droning tone is very evident in the generated images from sound visualizer. The pitch can be clearly seen as a very stationary low frequency in both the spectrogram and in the pitch detector (somewhere around 50 hz). However this is about the only static aspect of the didge’s sound – both the brightness and loudness are much more erratic than the fundamental frequency due to the overtones and laborious breathing required to play play the instrument. The higher register tones rise and fall both in corresponding brightness and loudness to create a wavering tamber that ebbs and flows around the static fundamental frequency. Even here though, it is not as if the loudness and brightness are uncontrolled, but more as if the instruments higher vibrato is simply performed over a larger range of time compared to other instruments. Though mildy erratic, both the brightness and loudness hover within a fairly narrow window to give the didge its warbly, yet still solid tone.

Didg Stuff

(2) “Hey Sweety, I need to talk with you.”

Hey Sweety

Listening to the woman’s voice, I am immediately shocked at how controlled and sing-songy she enunciates her words. Each syllable is very precise and the phrase as a whole is subtly melodic (it is almost as if she is trying to persuade). Taking this into account, I looked at her frequency mappings and sure enough each word has a defined pitch in the detector. That is, the phrase seem to move between two main pitch frequencies, 180hz and 150hz, to create a very simple melody.  When the phrase is looked at according to brightness (via the spectral centroid), it appears that the woman’s voice  becomes more lit up towards the end – again adding to the almost seductive and demure quality of her voice. Finally, it is worth noting that each of her words is most emphatic towards the beginning when looked at according to loudness. This could be used as a means of grabbing attention, but on the other hand I might simply reading to much into the alluring nature of her vocal gestures – indeed, it seems that whenever we say something it is does not seem unusual to begin louder. Regardless, this sound analysis of speech definitely illustrates the complexity and various textures of human language.


The difference between the two sounds is seen in essentially every parameter. The sustained didgeridoo has a very steady loudness while the voice is emphatic. The didg’s tone revolves around a continuous key frequency, while the voice carries a melodic and rhythmic pattern. And, lastly, the brightness has way more movement with the voice than with the didg.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 13, 2009 6:56 pm

    The Didgeridoo link is wrong!

    The Didgeridoo is an excellent sound with which to see brightness change.

    Excellent the description of the female voice!!!


    • roofdog123 permalink
      September 16, 2009 11:19 am

      Got the didg! Link fix acomplished

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