AES E-Library

AES E-Library

Organizing a sonic space through vocal imitations

Document Thumbnail

This research investigates how the vocal mimicking capabilities of humans may be exploited to access and explore a given sonic space. Experiments showed that prototype vocal sounds can be represented in a two-dimensional space and still remain perceptually distinct from each other. Experiments provide a measure of how meaningful the machine distribution and grouping of vocal sounds are to humans, and confirms that humans are able to effectively use the acoustic and articulatory cues at their disposal to associate sounds to given prototypes. When used in an automatic clustering process, these cues are sufficiently consistent with those used by humans when categorizing acoustic phenomena. The procedure of dimensionality reduction and clustering is demonstrated in the case of imitations of engine sounds, which then represent the sonic space of a motor sound model. A two-dimensional space is particularly attractive for sound design because it can be used as a sonic map where the landmarks contain both a synthetic sound and its vocal imitation.

Open Access


JAES Volume 64 Issue 7/8 pp. 474-483; July 2016
Publication Date:

Download Now (431 KB)

This paper is Open Access which means you can download it for free.

Learn more about the AES E-Library

E-Library Location:


Start a discussion about this paper!

AES - Audio Engineering Society