"softened" voice quality in poetry reading: An acoustic study

Chen Gafni, Reuven Tsur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


This study explores the acoustic properties of a certain "softened" voice quality adopted by some professional poetry readers for emotive expression. We show that several acoustic features may serve as cues for softened voice, including: Breathy voice, low intensity, and, possibly, reduced tempo and restrained dynamics of intensity and pitch contours. In addition, we show that different speakers may achieve the effect of voice softening in different ways. Our results demonstrate the contribution of the vocal dimension to the experience of poetry. Although this is essentially a case study of the subjective perceptions of one individual, the results are consistent, and we show their potential to be generalized across listeners.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)456-481
Number of pages26
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2017


  • Breathy voice
  • Emotive speech
  • Poetry reading
  • Soft voice
  • Spectral emphasis
  • Voice quality


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