Scientific article
Open access

Comparing the acoustic expression of emotion in the speakingand the singing voice

Published inComputer Speech and Language, vol. 29, p. 218-235
Publication date2015

We examine the similarities and differences in the expression of emotion in the singing and the speaking voice. Three internationally renowned opera singers produced “vocalises” (using a schwa vowel) and short nonsense phrases in different interpretations for 10 emotions. Acoustic analyses of emotional expression in the singing samples show significant differences between the emotions. In addition to the obvious effects of loudness and tempo, spectral balance and perturbation make significant contributions (high effect sizes) to this differentiation. A comparison of the emotion-specific patterns produced by the singers in this study with published data for professional actors portraying different emotions in speech generally show a very high degree of similarity. However, singers tend to rely more than actors on the use of voice perturbation, specifically vibrato, in particular in the case of high arousal emotions. It is suggested that this may be due to by the restrictions and constraints imposed by the musical structure.

  • Vocal expression
  • Emotional interpretation in singing
  • Comparison between emotion expression in speech and singing
  • Acoustic analyses of emotion
Research group
Citation (ISO format)
SCHERER, Klaus R. et al. Comparing the acoustic expression of emotion in the speakingand the singing voice. In: Computer Speech and Language, 2015, vol. 29, p. 218–235. doi: 10.1016/j.csl.2013.10.002
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal0885-2308

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