Source and filter adjustments affecting the perception of the vocal qualities twang and yawn

Ingo R. Titze, Christine C. Bergan, Eric J. Hunter, Brad Story

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Two vocal qualities, twang and yawn, were synthesized and rated perceptually. The stimuli consisted of synthesized vocal productions of a sentence-length utterance 'ya ya ya ya ya,' which had speech-like intonation, In a continuum transformation from normal to twang, the area in the pharynx was gradually decreased, along with vocal tract shortening and a decreased open quotient in the glottal airflow. In a continuum transformation toward yawn, the area in the pharynx was gradually increased, along with vocal tract lengthening and an increased open quotient. The normal (untransformed) vocal tract area was pre-determined by earlier studies involving MRI scans of a human subject's vocal tract. Listeners were asked to rate (on a scale from 1-10) the 'amount of twang' in one listening session and the 'amount of yawn' in another listening session. Overall, the perception of twang increased directly with pharyngeal area narrowing, vocal tract shortening, and decreased open quotient. The perception of yawn increased with pharyngeal area widening, vocal tract lengthening, and increased open quotient. Adjustments of one parameter alone yielded less significant perceptual changes than the above combinations, with open quotient showing the greatest effect in isolation. Listeners demonstrated variable perceptions in both continua with poor inter-subject, intra-subject, and inter-group reliability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)147-155
Number of pages9
JournalLogopedics Phoniatrics Vocology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2003


  • Perception
  • Timbre
  • Twang
  • Voice
  • Voice quality
  • Yawn

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Speech and Hearing
  • LPN and LVN


Dive into the research topics of 'Source and filter adjustments affecting the perception of the vocal qualities twang and yawn'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this