Designing Target Cost Function Based on Prosody of Speech Database

Kazuki ADACHI  Tomoki TODA  Hiromichi KAWANAMI  Hiroshi SARUWATARI  Kiyohiro SHIKANO  

IEICE TRANSACTIONS on Information and Systems   Vol.E88-D   No.3   pp.519-524
Publication Date: 2005/03/01
Online ISSN: 
DOI: 10.1093/ietisy/e88-d.3.519
Print ISSN: 0916-8532
Type of Manuscript: Special Section PAPER (Special Section on Corpus-Based Speech Technologies)
Category: Speech Synthesis and Prosody
unit selection speech synthesis,  speech database,  prosody modification,  STRAIGHT,  perceptual evaluation,  

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This research aims to construct a high-quality Japanese TTS (Text-to-Speech) system that has high flexibility in treating prosody. Many TTS systems have implemented a prosody control system but such systems have been fundamentally designed to output speech with a standard pitch and speech rate. In this study, we employ a unit selection-concatenation method and also introduce an analysis-synthesis process to provide precisely controlled prosody in output speech. Speech quality degrades in proportion to the amount of prosody modification, therefore a target cost for prosody is set to evaluate prosodic difference between target prosody and speech candidates in such a unit selection system. However, the conventional cost ignores the original prosody of speech segments, although it is assumed that the quality deterioration tendency varies in relation to the pitch or speech rate of original speech. In this paper, we propose a novel cost function design based on the prosody of speech segments. First, we recorded nine databases of Japanese speech with different prosodic characteristics. Then with respect to the speech databases, we investigated the relationships between the amount of prosody modification and the perceptual degradation. The results indicate that the tendency of perceptual degradation differs according to the prosodic features of the original speech. On the basis of these results, we propose a new cost function design, which changes a cost function according to the prosody of a speech database. Results of preference testing of synthetic speech show that the proposed cost functions generate speech of higher quality than the conventional method.