This question follows from Designing a sound that localises well

I am developing an experimental system for pitch training. I am giving each of the 12 pitch-classes {C CD D DE E F FG G GA A AB B } an associated consonant phoneme: {d b r ng m v sh z h l k t }

So I could sing a chromatic scale 'da ba ra nga ... etc'

My question is: could I decouple the consonant from the vowel? So that the computer just gives the consonant as a cue?

'k', for example, would be easy: I can just 'k' into a microphone, but others like 'ma' would be harder as it is a half vowel.

So, would there be any way to communicate "m" without suggesting pitch?

And for the less tricky consonants, like 'b', how to separate the 'b'-ness from the 'a'-ness? maybe I could sing 'ba' at 440Hz, and look at it on the frequency domain and just remove spectral components at 440, 880, 1320, ... ?

Or even better, I could take a slice half a second into the track which consist of pure 'aaa', convert it to the frequency domain, and then take the beginning of the track and just subtract on the frequency domain.

Maybe I could even do this on the time domain?

Would this work with 'maaaa'? I don't think so, I think for half-vowels I might need to follow Hilmar's answer to the linked question, and construct my own set of transients.

Maybe I could use a speech synthesiser to get my biphones 'da' 'ba' 'ra', and then work with that?



1 Answer 1


Consonants come in various types and classes. One major differentiation is voiced vs unvoiced (in German: "stimmhaft" vs. "stimmlos", not sure I have the proper English words here). Voiced means that the vocal cords are moving which usually also results in a pitch perception (such as "mmm"). Unvoiced means the vocal cords do not move and there is not pitch ("s", "t" for example).

It looks to me that most unvoiced consonants should do the trick. Not sure though whether your language has 12 of those.

For further classifications of consonants and vowels see for example: http://www.zompist.com/kitlong.html


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