Nonlinear Source-Filter Coupling in Phonation: Vocal Exercises

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Nonlinear source-filter coupling has been demonstrated in computer simulations, in excised larynx experiments, and in physical models, but not in a consistent and unequivocal way in natural human phonations. Eighteen subjects (nine adult males and nine adult females) performed three vocal exercises that represented a combination of various fundamental frequency and formant glides. The goal of this study was to pinpoint the proportion of source instabilities that are due to nonlinear source-tract coupling. It was hypothesized that vocal fold vibration is maximally destabilized when F0 crosses F1, where the acoustic load changes dramatically. A companion paper provides the theoretical underpinnings. Expected manifestations of a source-filter interaction were sudden frequency jumps, subharmonic generation, or chaotic vocal fold vibrations that coincide with F0 - F1 crossovers. Results indicated that the bifurcations occur more often in phonations with F0 - F1 crossovers, suggesting that nonlinear source-filter coupling is partly responsible for source instabilities. Furthermore it was observed that male subjects show more bifurcations in phonations with F0 - F1 crossovers, presumably because in normal speech they are less likely to encounter these crossovers as much as females and hence have less practice in suppressing unwanted instabilities.



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