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Zero-crossing rate

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The zero-crossing rate (ZCR) is the rate at which a signal changes from positive to zero to negative or from negative to zero to positive.[1] Its value has been widely used in both speech recognition and music information retrieval, being a key feature to classify percussive sounds.[2]

ZCR is defined formally as

where is a signal of length and is an indicator function.

In some cases only the "positive-going" or "negative-going" crossings are counted, rather than all the crossings, since between a pair of adjacent positive zero-crossings there must be a single negative zero-crossing.

For monophonic tonal signals, the zero-crossing rate can be used as a primitive pitch detection algorithm. Zero crossing rates are also used for Voice activity detection (VAD), which determines whether human speech is present in an audio segment or not.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ * Chen, C. H., Signal processing handbook, Dekker, New York, 1988
  2. ^ Gouyon F., Pachet F., Delerue O. (2000),On the Use of Zero-crossing Rate for an Application of Classification of Percussive Sounds, in Proceedings of the COST G-6 Conference on Digital Audio Effects (DAFX-00 - DAFX-06), Verona, Italy, December 7–9, 2000. Accessed 26 April 2011.