Acoustic distinctions between speech and singing: Is singing acoustically more stable than speech?

Beatriz Medeiros, Joao Cabral


In this paper we study how spoken and sung versions of the same text differ in terms of the variability in duration and pitch. These two modalities are usually studied separately and few works can be found in the literature that report results about the comparison of their acoustic properties. In this work, recordings of both speech and singing of Brazilian Portuguese popular songs were conducted. Then, the variability was measured by statistical analysis of the fundamental frequency and speech rate, specifically the mean and variance. In a first study this was done at the syllable and sentence levels and latter at the phone level for further analysis. In general, results show that speech and singing variability cannot be differentiated in terms of the variance. We expected different results because singing is more constrained than speech both in terms of pitch (small variation within the note) and duration (metrical constraint). It seems that the results of higher pitch stability for singing reported in the literature cannot be generalised, particularly for the popular genre in which there is a prosodic proximity between singing and speech. These interesting findings also motivate to analyse other aspects of dynamic pitch and duration to better understand the prosodic differences between the two modalities.


 DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2018-110

Cite as: Medeiros, B., Cabral, J. (2018) Acoustic distinctions between speech and singing: Is singing acoustically more stable than speech?. Proc. 9th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2018, 542-546, DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2018-110.


@inproceedings{Medeiros2018,
  author={Beatriz Medeiros and Joao Cabral},
  title={Acoustic distinctions between speech and singing: Is singing acoustically more stable than speech?},
  year=2018,
  booktitle={Proc. 9th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2018},
  pages={542--546},
  doi={10.21437/SpeechProsody.2018-110},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/SpeechProsody.2018-110}
}