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The icophone is an instrument of speech synthesis conceived by Émile Leipp in 1964 and used for synthesizing the French language.[1] The two first icophones were made in the laboratory of physical mechanics of Saint-Cyr-l'École.

The principle of the icophone is the representation of the sound by a spectrograph. The spectrogram analyzes a word, a phrase, or more generally a sound, and shows the distribution of the different frequencies with their relative intensities. The first machines to synthesize words were made by displaying the form of the spectrogram on a transparent tape, which controls a series of oscillators following the presence or absence of a black mark on the tape. Leipp succeeded in decomposing the segments of a spoken sound phenomenon, and in synthesizing them from a very simplified display.[2]


  1. ^ Lienard, J.; Teil, D.; Choppy, C.; Renard, G.; Sapaly, J. (1977), "Diphone synthesis of French: Vocal response unit and automatic prosody from the text", IEEE International Conference on Acoustics, Speech, and Signal Processing (ICASSP '77), 2, pp. 560–563, doi:10.1109/ICASSP.1977.1170209.
  2. ^ Lienard, Jean-Sylvain (1980), "An over-view of speech synthesis", Spoken Language Generation and Understanding (Proceedings of the NATO Advanced Study Institute held at Bonas, France, June 26 – July 7, 1979), NATO Advanced Study Institutes Series, 59, Springer, pp. 397–412, doi:10.1007/978-94-009-9091-3_19.