Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Engineers aim to make average singers sound like virtuosos

24.04.2003


Karaoke may never be the same, thanks to research being presented in Nashville detailing the latest findings in efforts to create a computerized system that makes average singers sound like professionals.



"Our ultimate goal is to have a computer system that will transform a poor singing voice into a great singing voice," said Mark J.T. Smith, a professor and head of Purdue University’s School of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

To that end Smith, a former faculty member at the Georgia Institute of Technology, is working with Georgia Tech graduate student Matthew Lee to create computer models for voice analysis and synthesis. These models, or programs called algorithms, break the human singing voice into components that can then be modified to produce a more professional-sounding rendition of the original voice.


Far more work is needed before the system is finished, Smith said. He said the specialized programs are, however, able to alter certain important characteristics of a person’s voice, such as pitch, duration, and "vibrato," or the modulation in frequency produced by professional singers.

Lee will present the latest research findings on April 30 during the 145th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America in Nashville, Tenn., the nation’s country music capital. Lee will demonstrate the system by playing before-and-after country music audio clips to researchers attending the conference.

The system uses a special technique to break down the original voice. The voice is then reconstructed using a mathematical method called the fast Fourier transform, which enables the system to resynthesize the voice quickly.

Smith, who specializes in an area of electrical engineering known as signal processing, began working on the underlying "sinusoidal model" in the mid-1980s with former doctoral student E. Bryan George, who pioneered the method. The model enables the human singing voice to be broken into components, or sine wave segments. More recently, Smith and Lee developed a method for modifying sine wave parameters in the segments to improve the quality of singing.

"While we have had success in improving the quality of the singing voice samples in our database, we have a way to go before we are able to handle all types of voices reliably," Smith said. "There are many challenges in developing a system of this type.

"Being able to characterize the properties of a good voice in terms of the sine wave components that we compute is not a trivial task. The problem is further complicated by the wide variety of singing styles and voice types that are present in our population."

For example, the sine wave components for male voices and female voices are significantly different.

"It turns out that we are having greater difficulty with the male singers than with the female singers," Smith said. "The higher pitched voices are easier for us to work with, in general."

Other challenges include finding ways to improve a person’s singing without dramatically altering the original voice, identifying the parameters that need to be modified for specific types of quality improvements, and then operating the system in real time on available hardware.

An important feature of the sinusoidal model technique is an "overlap-add" construction, in which a singing voice is partitioned into segments and processed in blocks. The model is designed around blocks that overlap, which results in voice synthesis that sounds natural and not choppy, Smith said.

Singing is first converted into a sequence of numbers, which is modified into a new set of numbers that represents a more professional singing voice. The new numbers are then fed to a digital-to-analog converter and to a speaker, Smith said.

The sinusoidal model Smith and Lee use could have broader applications, such as synthesizing musical instruments and improving the quality of text-to-speech programs in which words typed on a computer are automatically converted into spoken language. Former Georgia Tech doctoral student Michael Macon and his adviser Mark Clements used the sinusoidal model Smith and George developed to create a system that changes text into speech and typed lyrics into singing.

Other possible applications include programs for the hearing-impaired that make it easier to hear speech and systems that change the playback speed of digital recordings.

"The idea of digitally enhanced human singing has been brewing in my mind for a long time," Smith said. "What I would really like is for us to cut an album one of these days."

Early portions of the research were funded by the National Science Foundation.

Writer: Emil Venere, (765) 494-4709, venere@purdue.edu

Sources: Mark J.T. Smith, (765) 494-3539, mjts@purdue.edu

Matthew Lee, (404) 664-8323, mattlee@ece.gatech.edu

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; purduenews@purdue.edu

Emil Venere | Purdue News
Further information:
http://news.uns.purdue.edu/html4ever/030423.Smith.singing.html

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht The Flexible Grid Involves its Users
27.09.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Informationstechnik FIT

nachricht Optical fiber transmits one terabit per second – Novel modulation approach
16.09.2016 | Technische Universität München

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New welding process joins dissimilar sheets better

Friction stir welding is a still-young and thus often unfamiliar pressure welding process for joining flat components and semi-finished components made of light metals.
Scientists at the University of Stuttgart have now developed two new process variants that will considerably expand the areas of application for friction stir welding.
Technologie-Lizenz-Büro (TLB) GmbH supports the University of Stuttgart in patenting and marketing its innovations.

Friction stir welding is a still-young and thus often unfamiliar pressure welding process for joining flat components and semi-finished components made of...

Im Focus: First quantum photonic circuit with electrically driven light source

Optical quantum computers can revolutionize computer technology. A team of researchers led by scientists from Münster University and KIT now succeeded in putting a quantum optical experimental set-up onto a chip. In doing so, they have met one of the requirements for making it possible to use photonic circuits for optical quantum computers.

Optical quantum computers are what people are pinning their hopes on for tomorrow’s computer technology – whether for tap-proof data encryption, ultrafast...

Im Focus: OLED microdisplays in data glasses for improved human-machine interaction

The Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP has been developing various applications for OLED microdisplays based on organic semiconductors. By integrating the capabilities of an image sensor directly into the microdisplay, eye movements can be recorded by the smart glasses and utilized for guidance and control functions, as one example. The new design will be debuted at Augmented World Expo Europe (AWE) in Berlin at Booth B25, October 18th – 19th.

“Augmented-reality” and “wearables” have become terms we encounter almost daily. Both can make daily life a little simpler and provide valuable assistance for...

Im Focus: Artificial Intelligence Helps in the Discovery of New Materials

With the help of artificial intelligence, chemists from the University of Basel in Switzerland have computed the characteristics of about two million crystals made up of four chemical elements. The researchers were able to identify 90 previously unknown thermodynamically stable crystals that can be regarded as new materials. They report on their findings in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.

Elpasolite is a glassy, transparent, shiny and soft mineral with a cubic crystal structure. First discovered in El Paso County (Colorado, USA), it can also be...

Im Focus: Complex hardmetal tools out of the 3D printer

For the first time, Fraunhofer IKTS shows additively manufactured hardmetal tools at WorldPM 2016 in Hamburg. Mechanical, chemical as well as a high heat resistance and extreme hardness are required from tools that are used in mechanical and automotive engineering or in plastics and building materials industry. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS in Dresden managed the production of complex hardmetal tools via 3D printing in a quality that are in no way inferior to conventionally produced high-performance tools.

Fraunhofer IKTS counts decades of proven expertise in the development of hardmetals. To date, reliable cutting, drilling, pressing and stamping tools made of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

European Health Forum Gastein 2016 kicks off today

28.09.2016 | Event News

Laser use for neurosurgery and biofabrication - LaserForum 2016 focuses on medical technology

27.09.2016 | Event News

Experts from industry and academia discuss the future mobile telecommunications standard 5G

23.09.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

New imaging technique in Alzheimer’s disease - opens up possibilities for new drug development

28.09.2016 | Medical Engineering

Innovate coating extends the life of materials for industrial use

28.09.2016 | Materials Sciences

Blockchain Set to Transform the Financial Services Market

28.09.2016 | Business and Finance

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>