Pitch Plotter

Pitch Plotter service allows a user to get the pitch frequency contour and its graphical image online. A phrase audio recording/phonogram of the length no more than a minute is given to the input of the service. The audio recording/phonogram can be uploaded to the service from a hard disk drive of the computer or by an Inet reference, it must be in .wav format or recorded via the service audiorecording options. At the output the oscillograms, spectrograms and patterns of main pitch contour of the downloaded phrase.


Main terms and concepts

The pitch frequency (PF) is one of the most important physical parameters of the speech signal. From the acoustics viewpoint, it is a first harmonic tonal signal component , which usually brings the maximum energy. The presence of the pitch frequency is a specific feature for vocalised sounds (all vowels and some of consonants, for example, sonants), and vice versa, its absence is indicative for voiceless consonants. PF contour dynamics has a direct correlation with the prosodic features of speech, such as:

  • Melodics (PF motion)
  • Rhythmic (current change of sounds and pauses length)
  • Energy (current change in sound intensity)


Practical effect

Exact identification and analysis of these parameters are very important steps in speech research of different specialists (phoneticians, audio experts etc.), in order to determine various prosodic and intonation occurrences in speech phenomena. The service can be used in programs for foreign languages intonation research, applications of phonoscopy expert determination.


Particular qualities

Service “Pitch Plotter” uses a percept algorithm for PF calculating which is named SWIPE [1], it is based on human auditory perception model. This algorithm is one of the highest quality and most common algorithms for PF determining today [2].


Interface description

The graphic  interface of the service includes following basic parts shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Graphical user interface of the service

Command Menu (A) contains the following items:

  • Load – to download the audio file from the local computer disk or other location on URL (an audio file must be in WAV format).
  • Save – to save an audio file (or a fragment) on the user’s local disk.
  • Recordto start microphone recording, if it is switched on and connected to your computer.
  • Play –to listen to an audio file or a part of it, depending on whether it is an entire file or only a fragment of it which is currently displayed and processed by the user in the oscillogram window. Details of the second scenario will be described hereinafter.
  • Stop – to stop listening to an audio file.
  • Zoom In – to expand the part of a file, marked by left and and right borders markers. Left border marker is indicated by green colour and can be set by clicking the left mouse button in the oscillogram window. Right border marker is indicated by red colour and can be set by clicking the right mouse button  in the oscillogram window. More detailed description will be given hereinafter.
  • Zoom Out – to reduce the part of a file, return to the overview of an entire file.
  • Left – to put a file on one window to the left.
  • Right – to move a file on one window to the right.
  • Oscillogram signal (B) – a two-dimensional temporal signal reflection. More precisely, it is a dependence of the signal amplitude on the time: abscissas axis (x) – time, ordinates axis (y) – signal amplitude. This graph clearly shows the signal energy dynamics and changes in the power of all its components together (tonal, noise).
  • A signal spectrogram (C) – a three-dimensional time-and-frequency signal reflection. More specifically, it is a signal power dependence on the time and frequency simultaneously: abscissas axis (x) – time, ordinate axis (y) – frequency, applicate axis (z) – signal strength (in this case, instead of using a separate axis the color is used: the greater color intensity, the greater is a power signal at this frequency at a given time). In contrast to the oscillogram, spectrogram allows seeing separate input signal components, which have maximum energy at a particular time (tonal or noise components, harmonics in particular, etc.).
  • Pitch contour frequency graph (D) – a two-dimensional view of PF evolution depending on time. Abscissas axis (x) – time, ordinate axis (y) – frequency (Hz). The absence means unvoiced utterance (e.g., voiceless consonants  k, ch, č, š, t, s, f ).


User scenarios of working with the service

Let’s see some scenarios of the service usage.

Scenario 1: Displaying the PF contour of an audio file stored on the local computer’s drive

1.1 To open the service page “Graphical display of the pitch contour” (Pitch Plotter).

1.2 To press the Load button.

1.3-a To click “Choose File”I in a file selection window,. The standard operating system dialogue window will be opened for selecting a file on a disk. To select a file from the local disk.

1.3-b To enter the URL of the file that is on the network in the window, for example, http://corpus.by/tts3/cache/out/2015-11-26_21-39-53_134-17-130-18_931_bel_ssrlab.wav

1.4 To wait for oscillogram displaying, spectrogram and PF contour calculation (Figure 2).


Figure 2. Oscillogram, spectrogram and PF contour displaying

Scenario 2: Displaying the PF contour of an audio recorded file with the microphone

2.1 To ensure that your microphone is connected and working.

2.2 To open the service page “Pitch Plotter”.

2.3 To press the Record button.

2.4 To accept browser’s offer to start recording.

2.5 To record  a phrase or several phrases, watch the final signal in the oscillogram window in real time.

2.6 To press stop button to stop recording and displaying  the results.

2.7 If it is necessary to save the phrase on the computer, to press the Save button.


Scenario 3: Review and work with a part of an audio file

3.1 To do all the steps of Scenario 1 or Scenario 2, at the user’s choice.

3.2 To put fragment’s left border marker. To do this, move the mouse over any of the space of fragment and press the left button. Green line should appear – it is the left border fragment (Figure 3).

3.3 To put fragment’s right border marker. To do this, move the mouse over any of the space of fragment to the right of the left boundary and press the right button. You should see a red line – it is the right border fragment (Figure 3).


Figure 3. Markers of the fragment’s left and right borders

3.4 To press the Zoom In button to enlarge the marked signal fragment (Figure 4).


Figure 4. Enlarged fragment

3.5 In this mode it is possible to use functions of vocalisation and saving of an audio signal in the context of a given fragment. This means that only chosen signal fragment will be played and saved.

3.6 If it is necessary to zoom in, you should repeat steps 3.2-3.5.

3.7 To return back to the previous state – press Zoom Out.

3.8 In the mode of the Zoom, when you press Left and Right buttons, there is a shift of the current track signal on one track (one screen) to the left, or one track (one screen) to the right side along the time axis.


Model, algorithm

From the mathematical viewpoint the information processing in the service “Pitch Plotter” can be introduced with the help of the following expression:

\[\left(\ \textbf{o,S,p}\ \ \right)={\mathcal P}\left(\textbf{x}\right),\]

where $\textbf{x}=\left\{x\left(n\right)\ |\ x\in R,\ n=\overline{0,1,2,\dots ,N-1}\right\}\ $ – readings/counting vector of an input speech signal. The signal was received from wav-file, which had been downloaded with the help of the “Load” command, or recorded from the user’s microphone with the help of the “Record” command, $n$ – reading/counting number in the signal;

where $\textbf{o}=\left\{o\left(n\right)\ |\ o\in R,\ n=\overline{0,1,2,\dots ,N-1}\right\}\ $ – signal oscillogram (ordinate vector of plot points on the oscillogram), $n$ – reading/counting number in the signal;

where $\textbf{S}=\left\{s\left(k,m\right)\ |\ s\in R,\ m=\overline{0,1,2,\dots ,M-1},\ k=\overline{0,1,2,\dots ,K-1}\ \right\} $ – signal spectrogram (matrix of plot points on the spectrogram), $k$ – number of signal harmonic, $m$ – number of signal frame;

where $\textbf{p}=\left\{p\left(m\right)\ |\ p\in R,\ m=\overline{0,1,2,\dots ,M-1}\right\} $ – frequency pitch plot (ordinate vector of plot points), $m$ – number of signal frame.

Therefore, it can be affirmed that ${\mathcal P}$ function, which describes work of the service, consists of superposition of three generations:

\[\left\{ \begin{array}{c}
\textbf{x}\ {{\stackrel{{{\mathcal P}}_o}{\longrightarrow}\ \textbf{o}}}, \\
\textbf{x}\ {{\stackrel{{{\mathcal P}}_s}{\longrightarrow}\ \textbf{S}}}, \\
\textbf{(x,S)}\ {{\stackrel{{{\mathcal P}}_{x,S}}{\longrightarrow}\ \textbf{p}}} \end{array}

Let’s look each of them in more detail:

  1. To receive signal oscillogram, there is no need in execution any generations of input data, received readings/counting at once can be reflected/displayed. Therefore, ${{\mathcal P}}_o$ function looks like:

\[\textbf{o}={{\mathcal P}}_o\left(\textbf{x}\right)\Longrightarrow \textbf{o}\left(n\right)=1\cdot x\left(n\right)\Longrightarrow \textbf{o}\Longleftrightarrow \textbf{x}.\]

  1. To receive ${{\mathcal P}}_s$ and ${{\mathcal P}}_p$ discrete Fourier transform (DFT) is used, which we look in more detail. DFT allows to transfer from time to frequency domains, where separate signal components (harmonics) are better seen and its analysis can be made easier (figure 5.1).

Figure 5.1. Transfer from time to frequency domains

We write formula of Fourier transform:

\[X\left(f\right)={\mathcal F}\left(x\left(t\right)\right)=\int^{+\infty \ }_{-\infty \ }{x\left(t\right)\cdot e^{-jwt}dt,} \\ – \infty < t <+\infty,- \infty< f <+ \infty\ \]

We transform to discrete form of transformation, executed the time and frequency extent discretization/sampling:

\[t=n\cdot T_s,\ ~n=\overline{0,1,\dots ,N-1}\ \]

\[f=k\cdot F_1,\ ~k=\overline{0,1,\dots ,K-1}\]

where $T_s$ – epoch, $F_1$ – frequency of the first signal harmonic. Then, Fourier transform in the discrete form will be:

\[X[k]={\mathcal F}\left(x[n]\right)=\sum^N_{n=1}{x[n]\cdot e^{-j2\pi (k\cdot F_1)(n\cdot T_s)}}\]

This expression can be introduced in matrix form as:

Figure 5.2. Fourier transform in matrix form

As Fourier transform kernel  $e^{-jwt}$ has a complex form, then to gain a better understanding of physical meaning we write down harmonic functions in real/current form with the help of Euler transformation, which has the following form:

\[e^{-j\varphi }=cos\varphi -jsin\varphi \]

\[X[k]={\mathcal F}\left(x[n]\right)=\sum^N_{n=1}{x[n]\cdot (cos⁡(2\pi kF_1nT_s)-jsin(2\pi kF_1nT_s))}\]

Figure 5.3. Harmonic functions in real/current form, written down with the help of Euler transformation

To receive a spectrogram, Fourier transform is executed for each $m$frame of $r$-signal:

$r$-frame – is a signal segment of $L$-length readings/counting, which is named frame in signal processing.

\[r_m=\{x\left[l\right],\ ~l=\overline{m\cdot t,m\cdot t+1\dots m\cdot t+L}\ ,\ m=\overline{0,\ \dots ,M}\ \ \},\]

where $l$ – is number of signal reading/counting in the interior of frame, $m$ – frame number, $t$ – is step of signal analysis, $L$ – is frame elongation in readings/counting.

Therefore, ${{\mathcal P}}_S$ function looks like:

\[\textbf{S}={{\mathcal P}}_S\left(\textbf{x}\right)\Longrightarrow S=abs({\mathcal F}(x\left[k,m\right])).\]

  1. To receive the contour of pitch it is necessary to use SWIPE estimator (a sawtooth waveform inspired pitch estimator). It uses time and frequency  signal notation. Procedure, which executes this algorithm, is fairly complicated, and then will not be regarded/considered here. For those, who is interested in, the in-depth/long mathematical description you can find by the reference [1].

Therefore, ${{\mathcal P}}_{o,S}$ function looks like:

\[\textbf{p}={{\mathcal P}}_{o,S}\left(\textbf{x,S}\right)=SWIPE(\textbf{x,S}).\]

And therefore, we considered the arithmetic/symbolic model of the service Pitch Plotter.


Source references/links

Movie tutorial for work with this service: Pitch Plotter tutorial – Corpus.by

Service page: http://corpus.by/PitchPlotter/?lang=be



  1. SWIPE
  2. Instantaneous Pitch Estimation based on Rapt Framework

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