Skip to Main Content
The quality of synthetic speech is affected by two factors: intelligibility and naturalness. At present, synthesized speech may be highly intelligible, but often sounds unnatural. Speech intelligibility depends on the synthesizer's ability to reproduce the formants, the formant bandwidths, and formant transitions, whereas speech naturalness is thought to depend on the excitation waveform characteristics for voiced and unvoiced sounds. Voiced sounds may be generated by a quasiperiodic train of glottal pulses of specified shape exciting the vocal tract filter. It is generally assumed that the glottal source and the vocal tract filter are linearly separable and do not interact. However, this assumption is often not valid, since it has been observed that appreciable source-tract interaction can occur in natural speech. Previous experiments in speech synthesis have demonstrated that the naturalness of synthetic speech does improve when source-tract interaction is simulated in the synthesis process. The purpose of this paper is two-fold: (1) to present an algorithm for automatically measuring source-tract interaction for voiced speech, and (2) to present a simple speech production model that incorporates source-tract interaction into the glottal source model, This glottal source model controls: (1) the skewness of the glottal pulse, and (2) the amount of the first formant ripple superimposed on the glottal pulse. A major application of the results of this paper is the modeling of vocal disorders.