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The term "Formant synthesis" redirects here (and there's a synthesis template present), but there is no actual discussion about synthesis in this article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:01, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

Throat Singing[edit]

I added the paragraph on throat singing, but didn't realize I was logged out.--Theodore Kloba 22:37, Dec 16, 2004 (UTC)

should have spectrogram images. - Omegatron 17:45, Jan 26, 2005 (UTC)

Vowel charts[edit]

The list of frequencies for various vowels has two major problems that concern me. The first is that the anon who first added them didn't cite any source. More importantly, though, it uses orthography rather than IPA values when showing the vowels. It doesn't even say what language those vowels occur in (the only language I've found that uses all of <ä>, <ö>, <ü>, and <å> is Finnish, but it doesn't use <å> in any native words, and I don't know how it's pronounced in the words borrowed from Swedish anyway; these symbols have significantly different pronunciations in the different languages in which they occur). Does anyone know what the phonetic values of these vowels are intended to be? --Whimemsz 01:12, 23 January 2006 (UTC)

Finnish actually doesn't use ü (they use 'y' for the close front rounded vowel, the same as in IPA). I guessed that ü was y, so if the person that posted that intended something other than y, please correct it. Also, I changed the vowels from capital to lower case because there is a difference in IPA between i and I, for example. (Technically, it's i and ɪ, I know.) In Finnish, ä is IPA æ, ö is ø. I've always heard Swedish å realized [o]. I guessed which IPA vowel 'å' was supposed to be based on the formant frequencies and changed it to ɑ. The changes, however, may not be right because å, ä, ö and ü vary from language to language (hence IPA).
Also, if there are sources for these formant frequencies, I'd like to see them. I have Peter Ladefoged's A Course in Phonetics (4e, p 172) in front of me and the numbers listed for F1 and F2 of some of the vowels are quite different (ie the number listed for F2 is closer the Ladefoged's F3 number on [i]). Sources/suggestions? JordeeBec 19:32, 9 March 2006 (UTC)

I am also concerned about the vowel charts. First, the two charts seem rather redundant - better (imho) to go with a single chart that incorporates what both of these charts are trying to do: list approximate frequencies of the first two formants and indicate the range of variation. Second, The frequency of the second formant given for [i] in both charts seems too high, and is probably actually the third formant frequency (the other formant frequencies are in the right ballpark - but of course there is the issue already mentioned about variation from language to language, getting the IPA symbols right, and variation from utterance to utterance for a given speaker). Third, the second chart's "main formant regions" (only one for back vowels, but two for front vowels) are related to auditory processing of vowel acoustics, and not to the acoustics themselves. Since this page is specifically about formants, I suggest sticking with the actual formants rather than main formant regions. Lulich 02:07, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

The fact the charts are unsourced is a serious problem, as a couple of the previous contributors have pointed out, yet in the last three and a half years nothing has been done about them. This is a serious problem, as I've seen them being cited in an academic context, where they refer to what language? I suggest removing them and replacing by the charts from Deterding (1997) or some other reliable source. MarcusCole12 (talk) 05:35, 20 November 2009 (UTC)

There are various things editors can do to warrant attention to sourcing. In order of increasing effectiveness, they are: bringing it up in the talk page, marking it (and/or the page) as uncited, and taking it out. If Deterding (1997) has more authoritative formants, I'd be sure to cite them inline with the proper page number. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 05:02, 21 November 2009 (UTC)


I find the first line confusing. Please could someone make this clearer.

This whole article is in need of editing with rigour and and with careful attention to English expression.Yergnaws (talk) 13:42, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

Formants in sonorants vs. obstruents[edit]

The article makes some incorrect statements about what kinds of sounds formants belong in. For instance, "Not all sounds used in human language are composed of formants. Formants are restricted to sonorants [...]". Since formants are basically resonances of the vocal tract, they are always present regardless of the type of sound being produced. The distinction between sonorants and obstruents (and various gradations between) concerns the means of exciting the resonances - whether by periodic voicing (in vowels) or by noise (in fricatives), for instance. "Note that fricatives always lack formant structure and are distinguished by the frequency range with the most noise, as well as overall strength of frication." Fricatives actually do have formant structure. For instance, [S] and [s] are largely differentiated by the strength of the 3rd formant. The fact that certain frequency ranges have more noise than others (depending on the fricative) is derived from the location of the noise source within the mouth. For [s] it is near the teeth, so that low formants (resonances) belonging to the back of the mouth (behind the source) are not excited much - this is in contrast to vowels, in which the periodic voicing source is at the larynx so that all of the formants are excited strongly. Check out Ken Stevens' book Acoustic Phonetics for confirmation. Lulich 02:07, 26 May 2006 (UTC)


I have a problem with the spectrogram. It represents three sounds that don't change through time, and yet the time resolution is quite high, definitly overkill, and because of that, the frequency resolution is very poor, as it's really all that matters (so much that we could content ourselves with the magnitude part of the DFT of these sounds). That'd be cool if someone could do it again with a much lower time resolution.

Also due to the nature of speech it wouldn't be bad if the frequency scale was logarithmic (base 2 of course)

Opening paragraph[edit]

The reference to Alvin Lucier's "I Am Sitting in a Room" clearly doesn't belong in the opening paragraph. Apparently, it was included only to illustrate that the word "formant" can refer to a peak in the acoustic resonance of a room. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Unfree (talkcontribs) 12:43, 15 April 2008 (UTC)


What's Fant? Is it a company? A person? I'm confused. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:27, 6 July 2009 (UTC)

Gunnar Fant, Swedish phonetician. See the first reference. MarcusCole12 (talk) 09:27, 24 November 2009 (UTC)

Look at: Peterson, G.E., Barney, H.L., 1952. Control methods used in the study of the vowels. J. Acoust. Soc. Amer. 24, 175–184. They use term "formants" in the current meaning before Fant's publication. Is anyone from wikipedia who can correct this? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:47, 3 November 2010 (UTC) (talk) 12:51, 3 November 2010 (UTC)

What does the first sentence "Formants are defined by Gunnar Fant as..." mean? Was Fant the one who first defined formants? Or are we simply using his definition as a starting place? Could someone clarify this? Goochelaar (talk) 15:49, 1 June 2011 (UTC)
actually the term was coined by Erich Schumann in 1929 (de:Formant), the article should definitely be updated (talk) 12:17, 22 March 2013 (UTC)


By definition, the information that humans require to distinguish between vowels can be represented purely quantitatively by the frequency content of the vowel sounds.

By definition? Whose definition of vowel says this? (talk) 03:34, 15 November 2009 (UTC)

What is an "antiformant"?[edit]

I reached this article from a link on the word "antiformant" in the article Rhinoglottophilia. Neither article explains what an "antiformant" is. Collin237 (talk) 22:48, 1 February 2012 (UTC)

Paraphrasing Glottopedia, an antiformant lessons amplitude at a given frequencies. The example is the effect of the nasal cavity on nasal vowels and consonants. The nasal consonant anti formants are more pronounced; the frequencies show greater "silencing". (talk) 03:06, 28 November 2013 (UTC)

Needs a basic explanation[edit]

Nowhere does this article clearly explain, in a way that a novice can understand, what a formant is. The only actual definitions of formant that appear in the article are: (1) "the spectral peaks of the sound spectrum |P(f)|' of the voice", (2) "an acoustic resonance of the human vocal tract", (3) "the distinguishing or meaningful frequency components of human speech and of singing". Of these, (1) uses undefined technical terms, and (2) and (3) are too general, in that they include various things besides formants.

The article does contain a lot of information about what the formant frequencies of various vowels are, how they're affected by consonants, how they're labeled (f1 etc.), how they're produced by the vocal tract, etc. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Linguistatlunch (talkcontribs) 21:32, 22 August 2012 (UTC)

I definitely agree. I came here to find out what "F3" means. Well, I found out, not surprisingly, that it is the "third formant," but I don't know what a formant is after struggling through this contorted article. Why are so many Wikipedia articles written as if they are trying to hide the essence of what they are about? If I lived somewhere where there were a decent library, I'd just go to the library and get a decent description I'm sure. Alas, I'm stuck with only the Internet. (talk) 07:14, 13 February 2013 (UTC)
In human speech not all frequencies are of equal amplitude (loudness). This becomes visually apparent when a spectrogram is used. In the clearest layman terms I can use formants are dark bands you see in a spectrogram, or hill peaks in a sound spectrum. Formants are most pronounced in vowels. If you have the formants of a vowel you can generate them synthetically with free computer programs such as Praat or VocalTractLab.
In anything that isn't white noise, not all frequencies are of equal amplitude. It's not anything special to human voice. All frequencies of equal amplitude = white noise. Cyisfor (talk) 22:17, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
If I were to create a dictionary definition I would call a formant a frequency of locally maximum amplitude in a frequency spectrum. In less technical language they are the "notes"->Hz that are most prominent in a sound.
A frequency is something that repeats, not a characteristic of a sound. That's like if for example someone were saying "a" over and over again, once a second. The frequency spectrum would show their local maximum amplitudes repeating with a frequency of 1Hz. So the formant as "a frequency of locally maximum amplitude in a frequency spectrum" would be in this case 1Hz. And if they said "b" repeatedly, once a second, it would have the exact same formant of 1Hz. But if they said "a" twice a second, it would have a different formant of 2Hz. That just doesn't seem right. Cyisfor (talk) 22:17, 19 September 2014 (UTC)
What do you call the pattern evident in the distance between peak harmonics of a characteristic sound at any given pitch? That sound at a higher pitch will have different harmonics, but they will fit into the same pattern. That's what I thought a formant was, that pattern. It's not quite a proportion, because some harmonics stay the same, hisses and pops and strikes and such, but the bigger, lower frequency harmonics will change proportionally with pitch. Cyisfor (talk) 22:17, 19 September 2014 (UTC) (talk) 02:43, 28 November 2013 (UTC)

Gender bias[edit]

The study of speech acoustics has a long and inglorious history of treating the adult male voice as the basis for generalizations about speakers in general. Female voices are usually relegated to footnote status if mentioned at all. This article does nothing to redress the balance, but I think it should. RoachPeter (talk) 20:57, 17 March 2014 (UTC)