Detection of high-frequency energy changes in sustained vowels produced by singers

Brian B. Monson, Andrew J. Lotto, Sten Ternström

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The human voice spectrum above 5 kHz receives little attention. However, there are reasons to believe that this high-frequency energy (HFE) may play a role in perceived quality of voice in singing and speech. To fulfill this role, differences in HFE must first be detectable. To determine human ability to detect differences in HFE, the levels of the 8- and 16-kHz center-frequency octave bands were individually attenuated in sustained vowel sounds produced by singers and presented to listeners. Relatively small changes in HFE were in fact detectable, suggesting that this frequency range potentially contributes to the perception of especially the singing voice. Detection ability was greater in the 8-kHz octave than in the 16-kHz octave and varied with band energy level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2263-2268
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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