Glottal Spectral Separation for Speech Synthesis

João P Cabral, Korin Richmond, Junichi Yamagishi, Steve Renals

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper proposes an analysis method to separate the glottal source and vocal tract components of speech that is called Glottal Spectral Separation (GSS). This method can produce high-quality synthetic speech using an acoustic glottal source model. In the source-filter models commonly used in speech technology applications it is assumed the source is a spectrally flat excitation signal and the vocal tract filter can be represented by the spectral envelope of speech. Although this model can produce high-quality speech, it has limitations for voice transformation because it does not allow control over glottal parameters which are correlated with voice quality. The main problem with using a speech model that better represents the glottal source and the vocal tract filter is that current analysis methods for separating these components are not robust enough to produce the same speech quality as using a model based on the spectral envelope of speech. The proposed GSS method is an attempt to overcome this problem, and consists of the following three steps. Initially, the glottal source signal is estimated from the speech signal. Then, the speech spectrum is divided by the spectral envelope of the glottal source signal in order to remove the glottal source effects from the speech signal. Finally, the vocal tract transfer function is obtained by computing the spectral envelope of the resulting signal. In this work, the glottal source signal is represented using the Liljencrants-Fant model (LF-model). The experiments we present here show that the analysis-synthesis technique based on GSS can produce speech comparable to that of a high-quality vocoder that is based on the spectral envelope representation. However, it also permit control over voice qualities, namely to transform a modal voice into breathy and tense, by modifying the glottal parameters.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-208
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Signal Processing
Issue number2
Early online date20 Feb 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2014


  • Glottal spectral separation,
  • parametric speech synthesis
  • LF-model
  • voice quality transformation


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