Realtime and Accurate Musical Control of Expression in Voice Synthesis

In the early days of speech synthesis research, understanding voice production has attracted the attention of scientists with the goal of producing intelligible speech. Later, the need to produce more natural voices led researchers to use prerecorded voice databases, containing speech units, reassembled by a concatenation algorithm. With the outgrowth of computer capacities, the length of units increased, going from diphones to non-uniform units, in the so-called unit selection framework, using a strategy referred to as 'take the best, modify the least'. Today the new challenge in voice synthesis is the production of expressive speech or singing. The mainstream solution to this problem is based on the “there is no data like more data” paradigm: emotionspecific databases are recorded and emotion-specific units are segmented. In this thesis, we propose to restart the expressive speech synthesis problem, from its original voice ...

D' Alessandro, N. — Universite de Mons


Glottal Source Estimation and Automatic Detection of Dysphonic Speakers

Among all the biomedical signals, speech is among the most complex ones since it is produced and received by humans. The extraction and the analysis of the information conveyed by this signal are the basis of many applications, including the topics discussed in this thesis: the estimation of the glottal source and the automatic detection of voice pathologies. In the first part of the thesis, after a presentation of existing methods for the estimation of the glottal source, a focus is made on the occurence of irregular glottal source estimations when the representation based on the Zeros of the Z-Transform (ZZT) is concerned. As this method is sensitive to the location of the analysis window, it is proposed to regularize the estimation by shifting the analysis window around its initial location. The best shift is found by using a dynamic ...

Dubuisson, Thomas — University of Mons


Statistical Parametric Speech Synthesis Based on the Degree of Articulation

Nowadays, speech synthesis is part of various daily life applications. The ultimate goal of such technologies consists in extending the possibilities of interaction with the machine, in order to get closer to human-like communications. However, current state-of-the-art systems often lack of realism: although high-quality speech synthesis can be produced by many researchers and companies around the world, synthetic voices are generally perceived as hyperarticulated. In any case, their degree of articulation is fixed once and for all. The present thesis falls within the more general quest for enriching expressivity in speech synthesis. The main idea consists in improving statistical parametric speech synthesis, whose most famous example is Hidden Markov Model (HMM) based speech synthesis, by introducing a control of the articulation degree, so as to enable synthesizers to automatically adapt their way of speaking to the contextual situation, like humans ...

Picart, Benjamin — Université de Mons (UMONS)


Automatic Recognition of Ageing Speakers

The process of ageing causes changes to the voice over time. There have been significant research efforts in the automatic speaker recognition community towards improving performance in the presence of everyday variability. The influence of long-term variability, due to vocal ageing, has received only marginal attention however. In this Thesis, the impact of vocal ageing on speaker verification and forensic speaker recognition is assessed, and novel methods are proposed to counteract its effect. The Trinity College Dublin Speaker Ageing (TCDSA) database, compiled for this study, is first introduced. Containing 26 speakers, with recordings spanning an age difference of between 28 and 58 years per speaker, it is the largest longitudinal speech database in the public domain. A Gaussian Mixture Model-Universal Background Model (GMM-UBM) speaker verification experiment demonstrates a progressive decline in the scores of genuine-speakers as the age difference between ...

Kelly, Finnian — Trinity College Dublin


Glottal-Synchronous Speech Processing

Glottal-synchronous speech processing is a field of speech science where the pseudoperiodicity of voiced speech is exploited. Traditionally, speech processing involves segmenting and processing short speech frames of predefined length; this may fail to exploit the inherent periodic structure of voiced speech which glottal-synchronous speech frames have the potential to harness. Glottal-synchronous frames are often derived from the glottal closure instants (GCIs) and glottal opening instants (GOIs). The SIGMA algorithm was developed for the detection of GCIs and GOIs from the Electroglottograph signal with a measured accuracy of up to 99.59%. For GCI and GOI detection from speech signals, the YAGA algorithm provides a measured accuracy of up to 99.84%. Multichannel speech-based approaches are shown to be more robust to reverberation than single-channel algorithms. The GCIs are applied to real-world applications including speech dereverberation, where SNR is improved by up ...

Thomas, Mark — Imperial College London


Fusing prosodic and acoustic information for speaker recognition

Automatic speaker recognition is the use of a machine to identify an individual from a spoken sentence. Recently, this technology has been undergone an increasing use in applications such as access control, transaction authentication, law enforcement, forensics, and system customisation, among others. One of the central questions addressed by this field is what is it in the speech signal that conveys speaker identity. Traditionally, automatic speaker recognition systems have relied mostly on short-term features related to the spectrum of the voice. However, human speaker recognition relies on other sources of information; therefore, there is reason to believe that these sources can play also an important role in the automatic speaker recognition task, adding complementary knowledge to the traditional spectrum-based recognition systems and thus improving their accuracy. The main objective of this thesis is to add prosodic information to a traditional ...

Farrus, Mireia — Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya


Automatic Speaker Characterization; Identification of Gender, Age, Language and Accent from Speech Signals

Speech signals carry important information about a speaker such as age, gender, language, accent and emotional/psychological state. Automatic recognition of speaker characteristics has a wide range of commercial, medical and forensic applications such as interactive voice response systems, service customization, natural human-machine interaction, recognizing the type of pathology of speakers, and directing the forensic investigation process. This research aims to develop accurate methods and tools to identify different physical characteristics of the speakers. Due to the lack of required databases, among all characteristics of speakers, our experiments cover gender recognition, age estimation, language recognition and accent/dialect identification. However, similar approaches and techniques can be applied to identify other characteristics such as emotional/psychological state. For speaker characterization, we first convert variable-duration speech signals into fixed-dimensional vectors suitable for classification/regression algorithms. This is performed by fitting a probability density function to acoustic ...

Bahari, Mohamad Hasan — KU Leuven


Cross-Lingual Voice Conversion

Cross-lingual voice conversion refers to the automatic transformation of a source speaker’s voice to a target speaker’s voice in a language that the target speaker can not speak. It involves a set of statistical analysis, pattern recognition, machine learning, and signal processing techniques. This study focuses on the problems related to cross-lingual voice conversion by discussing open research questions, presenting new methods, and performing comparisons with the state-of-the-art techniques. In the training stage, a Phonetic Hidden Markov Model based automatic segmentation and alignment method is developed for cross-lingual applications which support textindependent and text-dependent modes. Vocal tract transformation function is estimated using weighted speech frame mapping in more detail. Adjusting the weights, similarity to target voice and output quality can be balanced depending on the requirements of the cross- lingual voice conversion application. A context-matching algorithm is developed to reduce ...

Turk, Oytun — Bogazici University


Robust Speech Recognition: Analysis and Equalization of Lombard Effect in Czech Corpora

When exposed to noise, speakers will modify the way they speak in an effort to maintain intelligible communication. This process, which is referred to as Lombard effect (LE), involves a combination of both conscious and subconscious articulatory adjustment. Speech production variations due to LE can cause considerable degradation in automatic speech recognition (ASR) since they introduce a mismatch between parameters of the speech to be recognized and the ASR system’s acoustic models, which are usually trained on neutral speech. The main objective of this thesis is to analyze the impact of LE on speech production and to propose methods that increase ASR system performance in LE. All presented experiments were conducted on the Czech spoken language, yet, the proposed concepts are assumed applicable to other languages. The first part of the thesis focuses on the design and acquisition of a ...

Boril, Hynek — Czech Technical University in Prague


Zeros of the z-transform (ZZT) representation and chirp group delay processing for the analysis of source and filter characteristics of speech signals

This study proposes a new spectral representation called the Zeros of Z-Transform (ZZT), which is an all-zero representation of the z-transform of the signal. In addition, new chirp group delay processing techniques are developed for analysis of resonances of a signal. The combination of the ZZT representation with the chirp group delay processing algorithms provides a useful domain to study resonance characteristics of source and filter components of speech. Using the two representations, effective algorithms are developed for: source-tract decomposition of speech, glottal flow parameter estimation, formant tracking and feature extraction for speech recognition. The ZZT representation is mainly important for theoretical studies. Studying the ZZT of a signal is essential to be able to develop effective chirp group delay processing methods. Therefore, first the ZZT representation of the source-filter model of speech is studied for providing a theoretical background. ...

Bozkurt, Baris — Universite de Mons


Oscillator-plus-Noise Modeling of Speech Signals

In this thesis we examine the autonomous oscillator model for synthesis of speech signals. The contributions comprise an analysis of realizations and training methods for the nonlinear function used in the oscillator model, the combination of the oscillator model with inverse filtering, both significantly increasing the number of `successfully' re-synthesized speech signals, and the introduction of a new technique suitable for the re-generation of the noise-like signal component in speech signals. Nonlinear function models are compared in a one-dimensional modeling task regarding their presupposition for adequate re-synthesis of speech signals, in particular considering stability. The considerations also comprise the structure of the nonlinear functions, with the aspect of the possible interpolation between models for different speech sounds. Both regarding stability of the oscillator and the premiss of a nonlinear function structure that may be pre-defined, RBF networks are found a ...

Rank, Erhard — Vienna University of Technology


Some Parametric Methods of Speech Processing

Parametric modelling of speech signals finds its use in various speech processing applications. Recently, publications concerning sinusoidal speech modelling have been increasingly appeared in scientific literature. The thesis is mainly devoted to the sinusoidal model with harmonically related component sine waves, i.e. the harmonic model. The main objective is to find new approaches to synthetic speech quality improvement. A novel method for speech spectrum envelope determination is introduced. This method uses a staircase envelope considering the spectral behaviour in voiced as well as unvoiced speech frames. The staircase envelope is smoothed by weighted moving average. The determined envelope is parametrized using autoregressive (AR) model or cepstral coefficients. It has been shown that the new method is of most importance in high-pitch speakers. Besides, new methods or modifications of known methods can be found in pitch synchronization, AR model order selection ...

Pribilova, Anna — Slovak University of Technology


Adaptation of statistical models for single channel source separation. Application to voice / music separation in songs

Single channel source separation is a quite recent problem of constantly growing interest in the scientific world. However, this problem is still very far to be solved, and even more, it cannot be solved in all its generality. Indeed, since this problem is highly underdetermined, the main difficulty is that a very strong knowledge about the sources is required to be able to separate them. For a grand class of existing separation methods, this knowledge is expressed by statistical source models, notably Gaussian Mixture Models (GMM), which are learned from some training examples. The subject of this work is to study the separation methods based on statistical models in general, and then to apply them to the particular problem of separating singing voice from background music in mono recordings of songs. It can be very useful to propose some satisfactory ...

OZEROV, Alexey — University of Rennes 1


Acoustic sensor network geometry calibration and applications

In the modern world, we are increasingly surrounded by computation devices with communication links and one or more microphones. Such devices are, for example, smartphones, tablets, laptops or hearing aids. These devices can work together as nodes in an acoustic sensor network (ASN). Such networks are a growing platform that opens the possibility for many practical applications. ASN based speech enhancement, source localization, and event detection can be applied for teleconferencing, camera control, automation, or assisted living. For this kind of applications, the awareness of auditory objects and their spatial positioning are key properties. In order to provide these two kinds of information, novel methods have been developed in this thesis. Information on the type of auditory objects is provided by a novel real-time sound classification method. Information on the position of human speakers is provided by a novel localization ...

Plinge, Axel — TU Dortmund University


Auditory Inspired Methods for Multiple Speaker Localization and Tracking Using a Circular Microphone Array

This thesis presents a new approach to the problem of localizing and tracking multiple acoustic sources using a microphone array. The use of microphone arrays offers enhancements of speech signals recorded in meeting rooms and office spaces. A common solution for speech enhancement in realistic environments with ambient noise and multi-path propagation is the application of so-called beamforming techniques, that enhance signals at the desired angle, using constructive interference, while attenuating signals coming from other directions, by destructive interference. Such beamforming algorithms require as prior knowledge the source location. Therefore, source localization and tracking algorithms are an integral part of such a system. However, conventional localization algorithms deteriorate in realistic scenarios with multiple concurrent speakers. In contrast to conventional localization algorithms, the localization algorithm presented in this thesis makes use of fundamental frequency or pitch information of speech signals in ...

Habib, Tania — Signal Processing and Speech Communication Laboratory, Graz University of Technology, Austria

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