(19)
(11)EP 3 065 130 A1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT APPLICATION

(43)Date of publication:
07.09.2016 Bulletin 2016/36

(21)Application number: 16158430.5

(22)Date of filing:  03.03.2016
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
G10L 13/033(2013.01)
(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR
Designated Extension States:
BA ME
Designated Validation States:
MA MD

(30)Priority: 05.03.2015 JP 2015043918

(71)Applicant: YAMAHA CORPORATION
Hamamatsu-shi Shizuoka 430-8650 (JP)

(72)Inventors:
  • SAINO, Keijiro
    Hamamatsu-shi, Shizuoka 430-8650 (JP)
  • BONADA, Jordi
    Barcelona (ES)
  • BLAAUW, Merlijn
    Barcelona (ES)

(74)Representative: Ettmayr, Andreas et al
KEHL, ASCHERL, LIEBHOFF & ETTMAYR Patentanwälte Emil-Riedel-Strasse 18
80538 München
80538 München (DE)

  


(54)VOICE SYNTHESIS


(57) A voice synthesis method for generating a voice signal through connection of a phonetic piece extracted from a reference voice, includes selecting, by a piece selection unit, the phonetic piece sequentially; setting, by a pitch setting unit, a pitch transition in which a fluctuation of an observed pitch of the phonetic piece is reflected based on a degree corresponding to a difference value between a reference pitch being a reference of sound generation of the reference voice and the observed pitch of the phonetic piece selected by the piece selection unit; and generating, by a voice synthesis unit, the voice signal by adjusting a pitch of the phonetic piece selected by the piece selection unit based on the pitch transition generated by the pitch setting unit.




Description

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION



[0001] The present application claims priority from Japanese Application JP 2015-043918, the content of which is hereby incorporated by reference into this application.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION


1. Field of the Invention



[0002] One or more embodiments of the present invention relates to a technology for controlling, for example, a temporal fluctuation (hereinafter referred to as "pitch transition") of a pitch of a voice to be synthesized.

2. Description of the Related Art



[0003] Hitherto, there has been proposed a voice synthesis technology for synthesizing a singing voice having an arbitrary pitch specified in time series by a user. For example, in Japanese Patent Application Laid-open No. 2014-098802, there is described a configuration for synthesizing a singing voice by setting a pitch transition (pitch curve) corresponding to a time series of a plurality of notes specified as a target to be synthesized, adjusting a pitch of a phonetic piece corresponding to a sound generation detail along the pitch transition, and then concatenating phonetic pieces with each other.

[0004] As a technology for generating a pitch transition, there also exist, for example, a configuration using a Fujisaki model, which is disclosed in Fujisaki, "Dynamic Characteristics of Voice Fundamental Frequency in Speech and Singing," In: MacNeilage, P. F. (Ed.), The Production of Speech, Springer-Verlag, New York, USA. pp. 39-55., and a configuration using an HMM generated by machine learning to which a large number of voices are applied, which is disclosed in Keiichi Tokuda, "Basics of Voice Synthesis based on HMM", The Institute of Electronics, Information and Communication Engineers, Technical Research Report, Vol. 100, No. 392, SP2000-74, pp. 43-50, (2000). Further, a configuration for executing machine learning of an HMM by decomposing a pitch transition into five tiers of a sentence, a phrase, a word, a mora, and a phoneme is disclosed in Suni, A. S., Aalto, D., Raitio, T., Alku, P., Vainio, M., et al., "Wavelets for Intonation Modeling in HMM Speech Synthesis," In 8th ISCA Workshop on Speech Synthesis, Proceedings, Barcelona, August 31-September 2, 2013.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION



[0005] Incidentally, a phenomenon that a pitch conspicuously fluctuates for a short period of time depending on a phoneme of a sound generation target (hereinafter referred to as "phoneme depending fluctuation") is observed in an actual voice uttered by a human. For example, as exemplified in FIG. 9, the phoneme depending fluctuation (so-called micro-prosody) can be confirmed in a section of a voiced consonant (in the example of FIG. 9, sections of a phoneme [m] and a phoneme [g]) and a section in which a transition is made from one of a voiceless consonant and a vowel to another thereof (in the example of FIG. 9, section in which a transition is made from a phoneme [k] to a phoneme [i]).

[0006] In the technology of Fujisaki, "Dynamic Characteristics of Voice Fundamental Frequency in Speech and Singing," In: MacNeilage, P. F. (Ed.), The Production of Speech, Springer-Verlag, New York, USA. pp. 39-55, the fluctuation of a pitch over a long period of time such as a sentence is liable to occur, and hence it is difficult to reproduce a phoneme depending fluctuation that occurs in units of phonemes. On the other hand, in the technologies of Keiichi Tokuda, "Basics of Voice Synthesis based on HMM", The Institute of Electronics, Information and Communication Engineers, Technical Research Report, Vol. 100, No. 392, SP2000-74, pp. 43-50, (2000) and Suni, A. S., Aalto, D., Raitio, T., Alku, P., Vainio, M., et al., "Wavelets for Intonation Modeling in HMM Speech Synthesis," In 8th ISCA Workshop on Speech Synthesis, Proceedings, Barcelona, August 31-September 2, 2013, generation of a pitch transition that faithfully reproduces an actual phoneme depending fluctuation is expected when the phoneme depending fluctuation is included in a large number of voices for machine learning. However, a simple error in the pitch other than the phoneme depending fluctuation is also reflected in the pitch transition, which raises a fear that a voice synthesized through use of the pitch transition may be perceived as auditorily out of tune (that is, tone-deaf singing voice deviated from an appropriate pitch). In view of the above-mentioned circumstances, one or more embodiments of the present invention has an object to generate a pitch transition in which a phoneme depending fluctuation is reflected while reducing a fear of being perceived as being out of tune.

[0007] In one or more embodiments of the present invention, a voice synthesis method for generating a voice signal through connection of a phonetic piece extracted from a reference voice, includes selecting, by a piece selection unit, the phonetic piece sequentially; setting, by a pitch setting unit, a pitch transition in which a fluctuation of an observed pitch of the phonetic piece is reflected based on a degree corresponding to a difference value between a reference pitch being a reference of sound generation of the reference voice and the observed pitch of the phonetic piece selected by the piece selection unit; and generating, by a voice synthesis unit, the voice signal by adjusting a pitch of the phonetic piece selected by the piece selection unit based on the pitch transition generated by the pitch setting unit.

[0008] In one or more embodiments of the present invention, a voice synthesis device configured to generate a voice signal through connection of a phonetic piece extracted from a reference voice, includes a piece selection unit configured to select the phonetic piece sequentially. The voice synthesis device also includes a pitch setting unit configured to set a pitch transition in which a fluctuation of an observed pitch of the phonetic piece is reflected based on a degree corresponding to a difference value between a reference pitchbeing a reference of sound generation of the reference voice and the observed pitch of the phonetic piece selected by the piece selection unit; and a voice synthesis unit configured to generate the voice signal by adjusting a pitch of the phonetic piece selected by the piece selection unit based on the pitch transition generated by the pitch setting unit.

[0009] In one or more embodiments of the present invention, a non-transitory computer-readable recording medium storing a voice synthesis program for generating a voice signal through connection of a phonetic piece extracted from a reference voice, the program causing a computer to function as: a piece selection unit configured to select the phonetic piece sequentially; a pitch setting unit configured to set a pitch transition in which a fluctuation of an observed pitch of the phonetic piece is reflected based on a degree corresponding to a difference value between a reference pitch being a referenceof sound generation of the reference voice and the observed pitch of the phonetic piece selected by the piece selection unit; and a voice synthesis unit configured to generate the voice signal by adjusting a pitch of the phonetic piece selected by the piece selection unit based on the pitch transition generated by the pitch setting unit.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



[0010] 

FIG. 1 is a block diagram of a voice synthesis device according to a first embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a block diagram of a pitch setting unit.

FIG. 3 is a graph for showing an operation of the pitch setting unit.

FIG. 4 is a graph for showing a relationship between a difference value between a reference pitch and an observed pitch and an adjustment value.

FIG. 5 is a flowchart of an operation of a fluctuation analysis unit.

FIG. 6 is a block diagram of a pitch setting unit according to a second embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 7 is a graph for showing an operation of a smoothing processing unit.

FIG. 8 is a graph for showing a relationship between a difference value and an adjustment value according to a third embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 9 is a graph for showing a phoneme depending fluctuation.


DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION


<First embodiment>



[0011] FIG. 1 is a block diagram of a voice synthesis device 100 according to a first embodiment of the present invention. The voice synthesis device 100 according to the first embodiment is a signal processing device configured to generate a voice signal V of a singing voice of an arbitrary song (hereinafter referred to as "target song"), and is realized by a computer system including a processor 12, a storage device 14, and a sound emitting device 16. For example, a portable information processing device, such as a mobile phone or a smartphone, or a portable or stationary information processing device such as a personal computer may be used as the voice synthesis device 100.

[0012] The storage device 14 stores a program executed by the processor 12 and various kinds of data used by the processor 12. A known recording medium such as a semiconductor recording medium or a magnetic recording medium or a combination of a plurality of kinds of recording medium may be arbitrarily employed as the storage device 14. The storage device 14 according to the first embodiment stores a phonetic piece group L and synthesis information S.

[0013] The phonetic piece group L is a set (so-called library for voice synthesis) of a plurality of phonetic pieces P extracted in advance from voices (hereinafter referred to as "reference voice") uttered by a specific utterer. Each phonetic piece P is a single phoneme (for example, vowel or consonant), or is a phoneme chain (for example, diphone or triphone) obtained by concatenating a plurality of phonemes. Each phonetic piece P is expressed as a sample sequence of a voice waveform in a time domain or a time series of a spectrum in a frequency domain.

[0014] The reference voice is a voice generated with a predetermined pitch (hereinafter referred to as "reference pitch") FR as a reference. Specifically, an utterer utters the reference voice so that his/her own voice attains the reference pitch FR. Therefore, the pitch of each phonetic piece P basically matches the reference pitch FR, but may contain a fluctuation from the reference pitch FR ascribable to a phoneme depending fluctuation or the like. As exemplified in FIG. 1, the storage device 14 according to the first embodiment stores the reference pitch FR.

[0015] The synthesis information S specifies a voice as a target to be synthesized by the voice synthesis device 100. The synthesis information S according to the first embodiment is time-series data for specifying the time series of a plurality of notes forming a target song, and specifies, as exemplified in FIG. 1, a pitch X1, a sound generation period X2, and a sound generation detail (sound generating character) X3 for each note for the target song. The pitch X1 is specified by, for example, a note number conforming to the musical instrument digital interface (MIDI) standard. The sound generation period X2 is a period to keep generating a sound of the note, and is specified by, for example, a start point of sound generation and a duration (phonetic value) thereof. The sound generation detail X3 is a phonetic unit (specifically, mora of a lyric for the target song) of the synthesized voice.

[0016] The processor 12 according to the first embodiment executes a program stored in the storage device 14, to thereby function as a synthesis processing unit 20 configured to generate the voice signal V by using the phonetic piece group L and the synthesis information S that are stored in the storage device 14. Specifically, the synthesis processing unit 20 according to the first embodiment adjusts the respective phonetic pieces P corresponding to the sound generation detail X3 specified in time series by the synthesis information S among the phonetic piece group L based on the pitch X1 and the sound generation period X2, and then connects the respective phonetic pieces P to each other, to thereby generate the voice signal V. Note that, there may be employed a configuration in which functions of the processor 12 are distributed into a plurality of devices or a configuration in which an electronic circuit dedicated to voice synthesis implements a part or all of the functions of the processor 12. The sound emitting device 16 (for example, speaker or headphones) illustrated in FIG. 1 emits acoustics corresponding to the voice signal V generated by the processor 12. Note that, an illustration of a D/A converter configured to convert the voice signal V from a digital signal into an analog signal is omitted for the sake of convenience.

[0017] As exemplified in FIG. 1, the synthesis processing unit 20 according to the first embodiment includes a piece selection unit 22, a pitch setting unit 24, and a voice synthesis unit 26. The piece selection unit 22 sequentially selects the respective phonetic pieces P corresponding to the sound generation detail X3 specified in time series by the synthesis information S from the phonetic piece group L within the storage device 14. The pitch setting unit 24 sets a temporal transition (hereinafter referred to as "pitch transition") C of a pitch of a synthesized voice. In brief, the pitch transition (pitch curve) C is set based on the pitch X1 and the sound generation period X2 of the synthesis information S so as to follow the time series of the pitch X1 specified for each note by the synthesis information S. The voice synthesis unit 26 adjusts the pitches of the phonetic pieces P sequentially selected by the piece selection unit 22 based on the pitch transition C generated by the pitch setting unit 24, and concatenates the respective phonetic pieces P that have been adjusted to each other on a time axis, to thereby generate the voice signal V.

[0018] The pitch setting unit 24 according to the first embodiment sets the pitch transition C in which such a phoneme depending fluctuation that the pitch fluctuates for a short period of time depending on a phoneme of a sound generation target is reflected within a range of not being perceived as being out of tune by a listener. FIG. 2 is a specific block diagram of the pitch setting unit 24. As exemplified in FIG. 2, the pitch setting unit 24 according to the first embodiment includes a basic transition setting unit 32, a fluctuation generation unit 34, and a fluctuation addition unit 36.

[0019] The basic transition setting unit 32 sets a temporal transition (hereinafter referred to as "basic transition") B of a pitch corresponding to the pitch X1 specified for each note by the synthesis information S. Any known technology may be employed for setting the basic transition B. Specifically, the basic transition B is set so that the pitch continuously fluctuates between notes adjacent to each other on the time axis. In other words, the basic transition B corresponds to a rough locus of the pitch over a plurality of notes that form a melody of the target song. The fluctuation (for example, phoneme depending fluctuation) of the pitch observed in the reference voice is not reflected in the basic transition B.

[0020] The fluctuation generation unit 34 generates a fluctuation component A indicating the phoneme depending fluctuation. Specifically, the fluctuation generation unit 34 according to the first embodiment generates the fluctuation component A so that the phoneme depending fluctuation contained in the phonetic pieces P sequentially selected by the piece selection unit 22 is reflected therein. On the other hand, among the respective phonetic pieces P, a fluctuation of the pitch (specifically, pitch fluctuation that can be perceived as being out of tune by the listener) other than the phoneme depending fluctuation is not reflected in the fluctuation component A.

[0021] The fluctuation addition unit 36 generates the pitch transition C by adding the fluctuation component A generated by the fluctuation generation unit 34 to the basic transition B set by the basic transition setting unit 32. Therefore, the pitch transition C in which the phoneme depending fluctuation of the respective phonetic pieces P is reflected is generated.

[0022] Compared to the fluctuation (hereinafter referred to as "error fluctuation") other than the phoneme depending fluctuation, the phoneme depending fluctuation roughly tends to exhibit a large fluctuation amount of the pitch. In consideration of the above-mentioned tendency, in the first embodiment, the pitch fluctuation in a section exhibiting a large pitch difference (difference value D described later) from the reference pitch FR among the phonetic pieces P is estimated to be the phoneme depending fluctuation and is reflected in the pitch transition C, while the pitch fluctuation in a section exhibiting a small pitch difference from the reference pitch FR is estimated to be the error fluctuation other than the phoneme depending fluctuation and is not reflected in the pitch transition C.

[0023] As exemplified in FIG. 2, the fluctuation generation unit 34 according to the first embodiment includes a pitch analysis unit 42 and a fluctuation analysis unit 44. The pitch analysis unit 42 sequentially identifies a pitch (hereinafter referred to as "observed pitch") FV of each phonetic piece P selected by the piece selection unit 22. The observed pitch FV is sequentially identified with a cycle sufficiently shorter than a time length of the phonetic piece P. Any known pitch detection technology may be employed to identify the observed pitch Fv.

[0024] FIG. 3 is a graph for showing a relationship between the observed pitch FV and the reference pitch FR (-700 cents) by assuming a time series ([n], [a], [B], [D], and [o]) of a plurality of the phonemes of the reference voice uttered in Spanish for the sake of convenience. In FIG. 3, a voice waveform of the reference voice is also shown for the sake of convenience. With reference to FIG. 3, such a tendency that the observed pitch FV falls below the reference pitch FR with degrees different among the phonemes can be confirmed. Specifically, in sections of phonemes [B] and [D] being voiced consonants, the fluctuation of the observed pitch FV relative to the reference pitch FR is observed more conspicuously than in sections of a phoneme [n] being another voiced consonant and phonemes [a] or [o] being vowels. The fluctuation of the observedpitch FV in the sections of the phonemes [B] and [D] is the phoneme depending fluctuation, while the fluctuation of the observed pitch FV in the sections of the phonemes [n], [a], and [o] is the error fluctuation other than the phoneme depending fluctuation. In other words, the above-mentioned tendency that the phoneme depending fluctuation exhibits a larger fluctuation amount than the error fluctuation can be confirmed from FIG. 3 as well.

[0025] The fluctuation analysis unit 44 illustrated in FIG. 2 generates the fluctuation component A obtained when the phoneme depending fluctuation of the phonetic piece P is estimated. Specifically, the fluctuation analysis unit 44 according to the first embodiment calculates a difference value D between the reference pitch FR stored in the storage device 14 and the observed pitch FV identified by the pitch analysis unit 42 (D=FR-Fv), and multiplies the difference value D by an adj ustment value α, to thereby generate the fluctuation component A (A=αD=α(FR-FV)). The fluctuation analysis unit 44 according to the first embodiment variably sets the adjustment value α depending on the difference value D in order to reproduce the above-mentioned tendency that the pitch fluctuation in the section exhibiting a large difference value D is estimated to be the phoneme depending fluctuation and is reflected in the pitch transition C, while the pitch fluctuation in the section exhibiting a small difference value D is estimated to be the error fluctuation other than the phoneme depending fluctuation and is not reflected in the pitch transition C. In brief, the fluctuation analysis unit 44 calculates the adjustment value α so that the adjustment value α increases (that is, the pitch fluctuation is reflected in the pitch transition C more dominantly) as the difference value D becomes larger (that is, the pitch fluctuation is more likely to be the phoneme depending fluctuation) .

[0026] FIG. 4 is a graph for showing a relationship between the difference value D and the adjustment value α. As exemplified in FIG. 4, a numerical value range of the difference value D is segmented into a first range R1, a second range R2, and a third range R3 with a predetermined threshold value DTH1 and a predetermined threshold value DTH2 set as boundaries. The threshold value DTH2 is a predetermined value that exceeds the threshold value DTH1. The first range R1 is a range that falls below the threshold value DTH1, and the second range R2 is a range that exceeds the threshold value DTH2. The third range R3 is a range between the threshold value DTH1 and the threshold value DTH2. The threshold value DTH1 and the threshold value DTH2 are selected in advance empirically or statistically so that the difference value D becomes a numerical value within the second range R2 when the fluctuation of the observed pitch FV is the phoneme depending fluctuation, and the difference value D becomes a numerical value within the first range R1 when the fluctuation of the observed pitch FV is the error fluctuation other than the phoneme depending fluctuation. In the example of FIG. 4, a case where the threshold value DTH1 is set to approximately 170 cents with the threshold value DTH2 being set to 220 cents is assumed. When the difference value D is 200 cents (within the third range R3), the adjustment value α is set to 0.6.

[0027] As understood from FIG. 4, when the difference value D between the reference pitch FR and the observed pitch FV is the numerical value within the first range R1 (that is, when the fluctuation of the observed pitch FV is estimated to be the error fluctuation), the adjustment value α is set to a minimum value 0. On the other hand, when the difference value D is the numerical value within the second range R2 (that is, when the fluctuation of the observed pitch FV is estimated to be the phoneme depending fluctuation), the adjustment value α is set to a maximum value 1. Further, when the difference value D is a numerical value within the third range R3, the adjustment value α is set to a numerical value corresponding to the difference value D within a range of 0 or larger and 1 or smaller. Specifically, the adjustment value α is directly proportional to the difference value D within the third range R3.

[0028] As described above, the fluctuation analysis unit 44 according to the first embodiment generates the fluctuation component A by multiplying the difference value D by the adjustment value α set under the above-mentioned conditions. Therefore, the adjustment value α is set to the minimum value 0 when the difference value D is the numerical value within the first range R1, to thereby cause the fluctuation component A to be 0, and inhibit the fluctuation of the observed pitch FV (error fluctuation) from being reflected in the pitch transition C. On the other hand, the adjustment value α is set to the maximum value 1 when the difference value D is the numerical value within the second range R2, and hence the difference value D corresponding to the phoneme depending fluctuation of the observed pitch FV is generated as the fluctuation component A, with the result that the fluctuation of the observed pitch FV is reflected in the pitch transition C. As understood from the above description, the maximum value 1 of the adjustment value α means that the fluctuation of the observed pitch FV is to be reflected in the fluctuation component A (extracted as the phoneme depending fluctuation), while the minimum value 0 of the adjustment value α means that the fluctuation of the observed pitch Fv is not to be reflected in the fluctuation component A (ignored as the error fluctuation) . Note that, in regard to the phoneme of a vowel, the difference value D between the observed pitch FV and the reference pitch FR falls below the threshold value DTH1. Therefore, the fluctuation of the observed pitch Fv of the vowel (fluctuation other than the phoneme depending fluctuation) is not reflected in the pitch transition C.

[0029] The fluctuation addition unit 36 illustrated in FIG. 2 generates the pitch transition C by adding the fluctuation component A generated by the fluctuation generation unit 34 (fluctuation analysis unit 44) in accordance with the above-mentioned procedure to the basic transition B. Specifically, the fluctuation addition unit 36 according to the first embodiment subtracts the fluctuation component A from the basic transition B, to thereby generate the pitch transition C (C=B-A). In FIG. 3, the pitch transition C obtained when the basic transition B is assumed to be the reference pitch FR for the sake of convenience is shown by the broken line together. As understood from FIG. 3, in most part of the sections of the phonemes [n], [a], and [o], the difference value D between the reference pitch FR and the observed pitch FV falls below the threshold value DTH1, and hence the fluctuation of the observed pitch FV (namely, error fluctuation) is sufficiently suppressed in the pitch transition C. On the other hand, in most part of the sections of the phonemes [B] and [D], the difference value D exceeds the threshold value DTH2, and hence the fluctuation of the observed pitch FV (namely, phoneme depending fluctuation) is faithfully maintained in the pitch transition C as well. As understood from the above description, the pitch setting unit 24 according to the first embodiment sets the pitch transition C so that a degree to which the fluctuation of the observed pitch FV of the phonetic piece P is reflected in the pitch transition C becomes larger when the difference value D is the numerical value within the second range R2 than when the difference value D is the numerical value within the first range R1.

[0030] FIG. 5 is a flowchart of an operation of the fluctuation analysis unit 44 . Each time the pitch analysis unit 42 identifies the observed pitch FV of each of the phonetic pieces P sequentially selected by the piece selection unit 22, processing illustrated in FIG. 5 is executed. When the processing illustrated in FIG. 5 is started, the fluctuation analysis unit 44 calculates the difference value D between the reference pitch FR stored in the storage device 14 and the observed pitch FV identified by the pitch analysis unit 42 (S1).

[0031] The fluctuation analysis unit 44 sets the adjustment value α corresponding to the difference value D (S2). Specifically, a function (variables such as the threshold value DTH1 and the threshold value DTH2) for expressing the relationship between the difference value D and the adjustment value α, which is described with reference to FIG. 4, is stored in the storage device 14, and the fluctuation analysis unit 44 uses the function stored in the storage device 14 to set the adjustment value α corresponding to the difference value D. Then, the fluctuation analysis unit 44 multiplies the difference value D by the adjustment value α, to thereby generate the fluctuation component A (S3).

[0032] As described above, in the first embodiment, the pitch transition C in which the fluctuation of the observed pitch FV is reflected with the degree corresponding to the difference value D between the reference pitch FR and the observed pitch FV is set, and hence the pitch transition that faithfully reproduces the phoneme depending fluctuation of the reference voice can be generated while reducing the fear that the synthesized voice may be perceived as being out of tune. In particular, the first embodiment is advantageous in that the phoneme depending fluctuation can be reproduced while maintaining the melody of the target song because the fluctuation component A is added to the basic transition B corresponding to the pitch X1 specified in time series by the synthesis information S.

[0033] Further, the first embodiment realizes a remarkable effect that the fluctuation component A can be generated by such simple processing as multiplying the difference value D to be applied to the setting of the adjustment value α by the adjustment value α. In particular, in the first embodiment, the adjustment value α is set so as to become the minimum value 0 when the difference value D falls within the first range R1, become the maximum value 1 when the difference value D falls within the second range R2, and become the numerical value that fluctuates depending on the difference value D when the difference value D falls within the third range R3 between both, and hence the above-mentioned effect that generation processing for the fluctuation component A becomes simpler than a configuration in which, for example, various functions including an exponential function are applied to the setting of the adjustment value α is remarkably conspicuous.

<Second embodiment>



[0034] A second embodiment of the present invention is described. Note that, in each of embodiments exemplified below, components having the same actions or functions as those of the first embodiment are also denoted by the reference symbols used for the description of the first embodiment, and detailed descriptions of the respective components are omitted appropriately.

[0035] FIG. 6 is a block diagram of the pitch setting unit 24 according to the second embodiment. As exemplified in FIG. 6, the pitch setting unit 24 according to the second embodiment is configured by adding a smoothing processing unit 46 to the fluctuation generation unit 34 according to the first embodiment. The smoothing processing unit 46 smoothes the fluctuation component A generated by the fluctuation analysis unit 44 on the time axis. Any known technology may be employed to smooth (suppress a temporal fluctuation) the fluctuation component A. On the other hand, the fluctuation addition unit 36 generates the pitch transition C by adding the fluctuation component A that has been smoothed by the smoothing processing unit 46 to the basic transition B.

[0036] In FIG. 7, the time series of the same phonemes as those illustrated in FIG. 3 is assumed, and a time variation of a degree (correction amount) to which the observed pitch Fv of each phonetic piece P is corrected by the fluctuation component A according to the first embodiment is shown by the broken line. In other words, the correction amount indicated by the vertical axis of FIG. 7 corresponds to a difference value between the observed pitch FV of the reference voice and the pitch transition C obtained when the basic transition B is maintained at the reference pitch FR. Therefore, as grasped in comparison between FIG. 3 and FIG. 7, the correction amount increases in the sections of the phonemes [n], [a], and [o] estimated to exhibit the error fluctuation, while the correction amount is suppressed to near 0 in the sections of the phonemes [B] and [D] estimated to exhibit the phoneme depending fluctuation.

[0037] As exemplified in FIG. 7, in the configuration of the first embodiment, the correction amount may steeply fluctuate immediately after a start point of each phoneme, which raises a fear that the synthesized voice that reproduces the voice signal V may be perceived as giving an auditorily unnatural impression. On the other hand, the solid line of FIG. 7 corresponds to a time variation of the correction amount according to the second embodiment. As understood from FIG. 7, in the second embodiment, the fluctuation component A is smoothed by the smoothing processing unit 46, and hence an abrupt fluctuation of the pitch transition C is suppressed more greatly than in the first embodiment. This produces an advantage that the fear that the synthesized voice may be perceived as giving an auditorily unnatural impression is reduced.<Third embodiment>

[0038] FIG. 8 is a graph for showing a relationship between the difference value D and the adjustment value α according to a third embodiment of the present invention. As exemplified by the arrows in FIG. 8, the fluctuation analysis unit 44 according to the third embodiment variably sets the threshold value DTH1 and the threshold value DTH2 that determine the range of the difference value D. As understood from the description of the first embodiment, the adjustment value α is likely to be set to a larger numerical value (for example, maximum value 1) as the threshold value DTH1 and the threshold value DTH2 become smaller, and hence the fluctuation (phoneme depending fluctuation) of the observed pitch FV of the phonetic piece P becomes more likely to be reflected in the pitch transition C. On the other hand, the adjustment value α is likely to be set to a smaller numerical value (for example, minimum value 0) as the threshold value DTH1 and the threshold value DTH2 become larger, and hence the observed pitch FV of the phonetic piece P becomes less likely to be reflected in the pitch transition C.

[0039] Incidentally, the degree of being perceived as being auditorily out of tune (tone-deaf) differs depending on a type of the phoneme. For example, there is a tendency that the voiced consonant such as the phoneme [n] is perceived as being out of tune only when the pitch slightly differs from an original pitch X1 of the target song, while voiced fricatives such as phonemes [v], [z], and [j] is hardly perceived as being out of tune even when the pitch differs from the original pitch X1.

[0040] In consideration of a difference in auditory perception characteristics depending on the type of the phoneme, the fluctuation analysis unit 44 according to the third embodiment variably sets the relationship (specifically, threshold value DTH1 and threshold value DTH2) between the difference value D and the adjustment value α depending on the type of each phoneme of the phonetic pieces P sequentially selected by the piece selection unit 22. Specifically, in regard to the phoneme (for example, [n]) of the type that tends to be perceived as being out of tune, the degree to which the fluctuation of the observed pitch FV (error fluctuation) is reflected in the pitch transition C is decreased by setting the threshold value DTH1 and the threshold value DTH2 to a large numerical value. Meanwhile, in regard to the phoneme (for example, [v], [z], or [j]) of the type that tends to be hardly perceived as being out of tune, the degree to which the fluctuation of the observed pitch FV (phoneme depending fluctuation) is reflected in the pitch transition C is increased by setting the threshold value DTH1 and the threshold value DTH2 to a small numerical value. The type of each of phonemes that form the phonetic piece P can be identified by the fluctuation analysis unit 44 with reference to, for example, attribute information (information for specifying the type of each phoneme) to be added to each phonetic piece P of the phonetic piece group L.

[0041] Also in the third embodiment, the same effects are realized as in the first embodiment. Further, in the third embodiment, the relationship between the difference value D and the adjustment value α is variably controlled, which produces an advantage that the degree to which the fluctuation of the observed pitch FV of each phonetic piece P is reflected in the pitch transition C can be appropriately adjusted. Further, in the third embodiment, the relationship between the difference value D and the adjustment value α is controlled depending on the type of each phoneme of the phonetic piece P, and hence the above-mentioned effect that the phoneme depending fluctuation of the reference voice can be faithfully reproduced while reducing the fear that the synthesized voice may be perceived as being out of tune is remarkably conspicuous. Note that, the configuration of the second embodiment may be applied to the third embodiment.

<Modification examples>



[0042] Each of the embodiments exemplified above may be modified variously. Embodiments of specific modifications are exemplified below. It is also possible to appropriately combine at least two embodiments selected arbitrarily from the following examples.(1) In each of the above-mentioned embodiments, the configuration in which the pitch analysis unit 42 identifies the observed pitch FV of each phonetic piece P is exemplified, but the observed pitch FV may be stored in advance in the storage device 14 for each phonetic piece P. In the configuration in which the observed pitch FV is stored in the storage device 14, the pitch analysis unit 42 exemplified in each of the above-mentioned embodiments may be omitted. (2) In each of the above-mentioned embodiments, the configuration in which the adjustment value α fluctuates in a straight line depending on the difference value D is exemplified, but the relationship between the difference value D and the adjustment value α is arbitrarily set. For example, a configuration in which the adjustment value α fluctuates in a curved line relative to the difference value D may be employed. The maximum value and the minimum value of the adjustment value α may be arbitrarily changed. Further, in the third embodiment, the relationship between the difference value D and the adjustment value α is controlled depending on the type of the phoneme of the phonetic piece P, but the fluctuation analysis unit 44 may change the relationship between the difference value D and the adjustment value α based on, for example, an instruction issued by a user. (3) The voice synthesis device 100 may also be realized by a server device for communicating to/from a terminal device through a communication network such as a mobile communication network or the Internet. Specifically, the voice synthesis device 100 generates the voice signal V of the synthesized voice specified by the voice synthesis information S received from the terminal device through the communication network in the same manner as the first embodiment, and transmit the voice signal V to the terminal device through the communication network. Further, for example, a configuration in which the phonetic piece group L is stored in a server device provided separately from the voice synthesis device 100, and the voice synthesis device 100 acquires each phonetic piece P corresponding to the sound generation detail X3 within the synthesis information S from the server device may be employed. In other words, the configuration in which the voice synthesis device 100 holds the phonetic piece group L is not essential.

[0043] Note that, a voice synthesis device according to a preferred mode of the present invention is a voice synthesis device configured to generate a voice signal through connection of a phonetic piece extracted from a reference voice, the voice synthesis device including: a piece selection unit configured to sequentially select the phonetic piece; a pitch setting unit configured to set a pitch transition in which a fluctuation of an observed pitch of the phonetic piece is reflected based on a degree corresponding to a difference value between a reference pitch being a reference of sound generation of the reference voice and the observed pitch of the phonetic piece selected by the piece selection unit; and a voice synthesis unit configured to generate the voice signal by adjusting a pitch of the phonetic piece selected by the piece selection unit based on the pitch transition generated by the pitch setting unit. In the above-mentioned configuration, the pitch transition in which the fluctuation of the observed pitch of the phonetic piece is reflected with the degree corresponding to the difference value between the reference pitch being the reference of the sound generation of the reference voice and the observed pitch of the phonetic piece is set. For example, the pitch setting unit sets the pitch transition so that, in comparison with a case where the difference value is a specific numerical value, a degree to which the fluctuation of the observed pitch of the phonetic piece is reflected in the pitch transition becomes larger when the difference value exceeds the specific numerical value. This produces an advantage that the pitch transition that reproduces the phoneme depending fluctuation can be generated while reducing a fear of being perceived as being auditorily out of tune (that is, tone-deaf).

[0044] In a preferred mode of the present invention, the pitch setting unit includes: a basic transition setting unit configured to set a basic transition corresponding to a time series of a pitch of a target to be synthesized; a fluctuation generation unit configured to generate a fluctuation component by multiplying the difference value between the reference pitch and the observed pitch by an adjustment value corresponding to the difference value between the reference pitch and the observed pitch; and a fluctuation addition unit configured to add the fluctuation component to the basic transition. In the above-mentioned mode, the fluctuation component obtained by multiplying the difference value by the adjustment value corresponding to the difference value between the reference pitch and the observed pitch is added to the basic transition corresponding to the time series of the pitch of the target to be synthesized, which produces an advantage that the phoneme depending fluctuation can be reproduced while maintaining a transition (for example, melody of a song) of the pitch of the target to be synthesized.

[0045] In a preferred mode of the present invention, the fluctuation generation unit sets the adjustment value so as to become a minimum value when the difference value is a numerical value within a first range that falls below a first threshold value, become a maximum value when the difference value is a numerical value within a second range that exceeds a second threshold value larger than the first threshold value, and become a numerical value that fluctuates depending on the difference value within a range between the minimum value and the maximum value when the difference value is a numerical value between the first threshold value and the second threshold value. In the above-mentioned mode, a relationship between the difference value and the adjustment value is defined in a simple manner, which produces an advantage that the setting of the adjustment value (that is, generation of the fluctuation component) is simplified.

[0046] In a preferred mode of the present invention, the fluctuation generation unit includes a smoothing processing unit configured to smooth the fluctuation component, and the fluctuation addition unit adds the fluctuation component that has been smoothed to the basic transition. In the above-mentioned mode, the fluctuation component is smoothed, and hence an abrupt fluctuation of the pitch of the synthesized voice is suppressed. This produces an advantage that the synthesized voice that gives an auditorily natural impression can be generated. The specific example of the above-mentioned mode is described above as the second embodiment, for example.

[0047] In a preferred mode of the present invention, the fluctuation generation unit variably controls the relationship between the difference value and the adjustment value. Specifically, the fluctuation generation unit controls the relationship between the difference value and the adjustment value depending on the type of the phoneme of the phonetic piece selected by the piece selection unit. The above-mentionedmode produces an advantage that the degree to which the fluctuation of the observed pitch of the phonetic piece is reflected in the pitch transition can be appropriately adjusted. The specific example of the above-mentioned mode is described above as the third embodiment, for example.

[0048] The voice synthesis device according to each of the above-mentioned embodiments is implemented by hardware (electronic circuit) such as a digital signal processor (DSP), and is also implemented in cooperation between a general-purpose processor unit such as a central processing unit (CPU) and a program. The program according to the present invention may be installed on a computer by being provided in a form of being stored in a computer-readable recording medium. The recording medium is, for example, a non-transitory recording medium, whose preferred examples include an optical recording medium (optical disc) such as a CD-ROM, and may contain a known recording medium of an arbitrary format, such as a semiconductor recording medium or a magnetic recording medium. For example, the program according to the present invention may be installed on the computer by being provided in a form of being distributed through a communication network. Further, the present invention may be also defined as an operation method (voice synthesis method) for the voice synthesis device according to each of the above-mentioned embodiments.

[0049] While there have been described what are at present considered to be certain embodiments of the invention, it will be understood that various modifications may be made thereto, and it is intended that the appended claims cover all such modifications as fall within the true spirit and scope of the invention.


Claims

1. A voice synthesis method for generating a voice signal through connection of a phonetic piece extracted from a reference voice, comprising:

selecting, by a piece selection unit, the phonetic piece sequentially;

setting, by a pitch setting unit, a pitch transition in which a fluctuation of an observed pitch of the phonetic piece is reflected based on a degree corresponding to a difference value between a reference pitch being a reference of sound generation of the reference voice and the observed pitch of the phonetic piece selected by the piece selection unit; and

generating, by a voice synthesis unit, the voice signal by adjusting a pitch of the phonetic piece selected by the piece selection unit based on the pitch transition generated by the pitch setting unit.


 
2. The voice synthesis method according to claim 1, wherein the setting of the pitch transition comprises setting the pitch transition so that, in comparison with a case where the difference value is a specific numerical value, a degree to which the fluctuation of the observed pitch of the phonetic piece is reflected in the pitch transition becomes larger when the difference value exceeds the specific numerical value.
 
3. The voice synthesis method according to claim 1, wherein the setting of the pitch transition comprises:

setting, by a basic transition setting unit, a basic transition corresponding to a time series of a pitch of a target to be synthesized;

generating, by a fluctuation generation unit, a fluctuation component by multiplying the difference value between the reference pitch and the observed pitch by an adjustment value corresponding to the difference value between the reference pitch and the observed pitch; and

adding, by a fluctuation addition unit, the fluctuation component to the basic transition.


 
4. The voice synthesis method according to claim 3, wherein the generating of the fluctuation component comprises setting the adjustment value so as to become a minimum value when the difference value is a numerical value within a first range that falls below a first threshold value, become a maximum value when the difference value is a numerical value within a second range that exceeds a second threshold value larger than the first threshold value, and become a numerical value that fluctuates depending on the difference value within a range between the minimum value and the maximum value when the difference value is a numerical value between the first threshold value and the second threshold value.
 
5. The voice synthesis method according to claim 3, wherein:

the generating of the fluctuation component comprises smoothing, by a smoothing processing unit, the fluctuation component; and

the adding of the fluctuation component comprises adding the fluctuation component that has been smoothed to the basic transition.


 
6. A voice synthesis device configured to generate a voice signal through connection of a phonetic piece extracted from a reference voice, comprising:

a piece selection unit configured to select the phonetic piece sequentially;

a pitch setting unit configured to set a pitch transition in which a fluctuation of an observed pitch of the phonetic piece is reflected based on a degree corresponding to a difference value between a reference pitch being a reference of sound generation of the reference voice and the observed pitch of the phonetic piece selected by the piece selection unit; and

a voice synthesis unit configured to generate the voice signal by adjusting a pitch of the phonetic piece selected by the piece selection unit based on the pitch transition generated by the pitch setting unit.


 
7. The voice synthesis device according to claim 6, wherein the pitch setting unit is further configured to set the pitch transition so that, in comparison with a case where the difference value is a specific numerical value, a degree to which the fluctuation of the observed pitch of the phonetic piece is reflected in the pitch transition becomes larger when the difference value exceeds the specific numerical value.
 
8. The voice synthesis device according to claim 6, wherein the pitch setting unit comprises:

a basic transition setting unit configured to set a basic transition corresponding to a time series of a pitch of a target to be synthesized;

a fluctuation generation unit configured to generate a fluctuation component by multiplying the difference value between the reference pitch and the observed pitch by an adjustment value corresponding to the difference value between the reference pitch and the observed pitch; and

a fluctuation addition unit configured to add the fluctuation component to the basic transition.


 
9. The voice synthesis device according to claim 8, wherein the fluctuation generation unit is further configured to set the adjustment value so as to become a minimum value when the difference value is a numerical value within a first range that falls below a first threshold value, become a maximum value when the difference value is a numerical value within a second range that exceeds a second threshold value larger than the first threshold value, and become a numerical value that fluctuates depending on the difference value within a range between the minimum value and the maximum value when the difference value is a numerical value between the first threshold value and the second threshold value.
 
10. The voice synthesis device according to claim 8, wherein:

the fluctuation generation unit comprises a smoothing processing unit configured to smooth the fluctuation component; and

the fluctuation addition unit is further configured to add the fluctuation component that has been smoothed to the basic transition.


 
11. A non-transitory computer-readable recording medium storing a voice synthesis program for generating a voice signal through connection of a phonetic piece extracted from a reference voice, the program causing a computer to function as:

a piece selection unit configured to select the phonetic piece sequentially;

a pitch setting unit configured to set a pitch transition in which a fluctuation of an observed pitch of the phonetic piece is reflected based on a degree corresponding to a difference value between a reference pitch being a reference of sound generation of the reference voice and the observed pitch of the phonetic piece selected by the piece selection unit; and

a voice synthesis unit configured to generate the voice signal by adjusting a pitch of the phonetic piece selected by the piece selection unit based on the pitch transition generated by the pitch setting unit.


 




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Cited references

REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

Patent documents cited in the description




Non-patent literature cited in the description