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 Ultra-precise chip-scale sensor detects unprecedentedly small changes at the nanoscale
18.01.2017 | The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

nachricht Data analysis optimizes cyber-physical systems in telecommunications and building automation
18.01.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Algorithmen und Wissenschaftliches Rechnen SCAI

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A big nano boost for solar cells

18.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Glass's off-kilter harmonies

18.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Toward a 'smart' patch that automatically delivers insulin when needed

18.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>