Glottal Source Contribution to Higher Order Modes in the Finite Element Synthesis of Vowels
Articulatory speech synthesis has long been based on one-dimensional (1D) approaches. They assume plane wave propagation within the vocal tract and disregard higher order modes that typically appear above 5 kHz. However, such modes may be relevant in obtaining a more natural voice, especially for phonation types with significant high frequency energy (HFE) content. This work studies the contribution of the glottal source at high frequencies in the 3D numerical synthesis of vowels. The spoken vocal range is explored using an LF (Liljencrants–Fant) model enhanced with aspiration noise and controlled by the Rd glottal shape parameter. The vowels [ɑ], [i], and [u] are generated with a finite element method (FEM) using realistic 3D vocal tract geometries obtained from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), as well as simplified straight vocal tracts of a circular cross-sectional area. The symmetry of the latter prevents the onset of higher order modes. Thus, the comparison between realistic and simplified geometries enables us to analyse the influence of such modes. The simulations indicate that higher order modes may be perceptually relevant, particularly for tense phonations (lower Rd values) and/or high fundamental frequency values, F0s. Conversely, vowels with a lax phonation and/or low F0s may result in inaudible HFE levels, especially if aspiration noise is not considered in the glottal source model.