Spectrography of disputed speech samples by peripheral human hearing modelling


  • David M. Howard University of York
  • Allen Hirson City University
  • Tim Brookes University of York
  • Andrew M. Tyrrell University of York




Spectrography, hearing modelling, transputers, speech analysis, forensic phonetics, parallel processing.


Visual images have considerable value in freezing rapidly changing speech signals, both for the analysis of disputed speech samples and in the presentation of such material in court. Speech spectrograms are routinely used in speech analysis to examine the speech signal as a whole, prior to a more systematic and directed examination of particular speech characteristics, the forensic significance of which requires forensic phonetic expertise. This paper presents spectrograms based on peripheral human hearing modelling to illustrate their potential usefulness for speech analysis and discusses current developments towards a real-time version of such a system. The main differences between these and spectrograms derived by traditional means are discussed.

Author Biographies

David M. Howard, University of York

DAVID M. HOWARD is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Electronics, University of York. He is the Editor of Voice - The journal of the British Voice Association, and his research interests include forensic musicology, acoustic analysis of singing and speech, real-time visual displays for professional voice users, and singing and speech synthesis.

Allen Hirson, City University

ALLEN HIRSON is a Lecturer in the Department of Clinical Communication Studies at City University, London where he also directs the speech acoustics laboratory. His research interests include the analysis of inter-individual and intra individual variation in the pronunciation of consonant sounds, forensic musicology and the decoding of speech in noisy and difficult recordings.

Tim Brookes, University of York

TIM BROOKES is a Research Assistant in the Department of Electronics, University of York, having previously been employed as a software engineer and studio sound engineer. His research interests are in real-time audio systems, in particular, modelling of the human peripheral hearing system.

Andrew M. Tyrrell, University of York

ANDREW M. TYRRELL is a Lecturer in the Department of Electronics, University of York. His main research interests are in the design of parallel systems, real-time simulation using parallel computers, fault tolerant design, software for distributed systems, and parallel systems for numerical problems.



How to Cite

Howard, D. M., Hirson, A., Brookes, T., & Tyrrell, A. M. (2013). Spectrography of disputed speech samples by peripheral human hearing modelling. International Journal of Speech, Language and the Law, 2(1), 28–38. https://doi.org/10.1558/ijsll.v2i1.28