Do X in Y: Randomize duration and F0 of speech files in Praat

Randomize duration and F0 of speech files in Praat

Summary: I describe a script that makes random modifications to duration and pitch. It can serve as an example for how to read in all .wav files in a directory and modify them from the command line.

For a machine learning project, we wanted to induce variability in a set of speech files without recording more tokens of our critical words. We thought, “let’s just use a Praat script to randomly jigger duration and F0 — that can’t be hard, can it?” Well, it is harder than I thought given that I don’t really grok Praat scripting — it is the most foreign and strange programming language I’ve ever encountered.

After consulting with various colleagues, I remembered that Sergey Kornilov had used a script to compress lots of files for a project. He sent me his script. I found a script by Shigeto Kawahara of Keio U. in Japan that modified pitch. Putting them together, I now have a script that is called from the command line and reads in all .wav files in a directory (the directory where the script is located), randomly compresses/expands the file according to a hard-coded range (i.e., you have to change the values in the file), randomly adjusts pitch (by multiplying by a scalar), and writes the resulting file in a folder called output that must exist in the starting directory. The file names include tags indicating how duration and pitch were modified. Here’s the script. I hope someone else finds it helpful! You can copy the code and paste it into a text document that you might call something like vary_duration_and_pitch.praat.

— jim magnuson

# 2017.11.17, Jim Magnuson, based on a compression script by
# Sergey Kornilov and
a pitch modification script by
# Shigeto KAWAHARA of Keio U.

# (
# kludgy script to shift pitch by random factor between
# minF0 and maxF0
and compress/expand by random factor between
# minComp and maxComp. 

# It does this for every .wav file in the directory where the
script is located, and writesresulting files in ./output
# (so you must create a folder called output; note

# that the script will overwrite files in that directory
# without warning!).

# The output files have _dur_X and _f0_Y inserted in their
# names. For example,
_dur_87 means compression to factor of
# 0.87, _dur_108 means compression
(expansion) to factor of
# 1.08, etc.

# set locations
inputDir$ = "./"
outputDir$ = "./output/"

# set ranges for pitch and compression
minF0 = 0.5
maxF0 = 2.0
minComp = 0.5
maxComp = 2.0

# used to incorporate duration and F0 changes
# in out file name

resolution = 100

# read *.wav filenames into strings
strings = Create Strings as file list: "list", inputDir$ + "/*.wav"
numberOfFiles = Get number of strings

# now loop through .wav list
for ifile to numberOfFiles

# open file in position ifile in string list
filename$ = Get string... ifile

# give a little info on the console re: progress
appendInfoLine: "Working on " + inputDir$ + filename$

# read the actual file
Read from file: inputDir$ + filename$

# set random duration factor
duration_scalar = randomUniform(minComp, maxComp)

# 75 and 600 are standard parameters for the
# frequency range (hz)
used in periodicity analysis;
# the last argument is the compression factor

Lengthen (PSOLA)... 75 600 duration_scalar

# this is going to require Manipulation commands,
# so we need to
select the sound; let's name it
this_sound$ = selected$ ("Sound")

# grab it + give params for onset of analysis window and
# frequency range used for periodicty analysis
To Manipulation... 0.01 75 600      

# pop pitch tier into memory (apparently)
Extract pitch tier

# set random pitch change factor
pitch_scalar = randomUniform(minF0, maxF0)

# modify pitch of the pitch tier in memory
Formula... self * pitch_scalar;

# reselect the sound and replace pitch tier
select Manipulation 'this_sound$'
plus PitchTier 'this_sound$'
Replace pitch tier

# reselect the sound??? and resythesize
select Manipulation 'this_sound$'
Get resynthesis (PSOLA)

# create rounded versions of the pitch and
# duration factors for use in filename

pitch_scalar_rounded = round(pitch_scalar * resolution)
duration_scalar_rounded = round(duration_scalar * resolution)
filenameDur$ = " 'filename$'" - ".wav" + "_dur" + "_" +    string$(duration_scalar_rounded) + "_f0" + "_" + string$(pitch_scalar_rounded) + ".wav"

# update user and write to file
appendInfoLine: "* writing to " + outputDir$ + filenameDur$Write to WAV file: outputDir$ + filenameDur$
select Strings list


select all

# end of script

Kornilov et al. GWAS study of Developmental Language Disorder (Grigorenko lab) out in Pediatrics

New study out in Pediatrics (link to PDF available on the Publications page)

  • Kornilov, S.A., Rakhlin, N., Koposov, R., Lee, M., Yrigollen, C., Caglayan, A., Magnuson, J.S., Mane, S., Chang, J., & Grigorenko, E.L. (2016). Genome-wide association and exome sequencing study of language disorder in an isolated population. Pediatrics, 137(4), e20152469. doi:10.1542/peds.2015-2469

Liberman Memorial Workshop 2016

The 2016 Alvin & Isabelle Liberman Memorial Workshop will be held on June 8, at the University of Connecticut Department of Psychological Sciences, Room 16o (Liberman Room). This year’s workshop will both commemorate the Liberman legacy and celebrate the remarkable achievement of both Marie Coppola and Emily Myers winning National Science Foundation CAREER awards this year. They will both speak, along with postdocs from their labs (Xin Xie and Matt Hall). Full details available here.

Hot off the virtual press!

What started out as a weekend lark ultimately consumed several full days of Jim’s life, but there is finally a paper to show for it:

  • Magnuson, J. S. (2015). Phoneme restoration and empirical coverage of interactive activation and adaptive resonance models of human speech processing. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 137(3), 1481-1492.

Kornilov wins Golden Helix Abstract Challenge

Sergey Kornilov (PhD, 2014) has won the Golden Helix Abstract Challenge with an abstract based on part of his dissertation. From the Golden Helix website:

“Our first place winner is Dr. Sergey Kornilov, a Postdoctoral Associate in the Child Study Center at Yale University’s School of Medicine. Kornilov is part of the EGLab which performs research and clinical services focused on behavioral and molecular genetics. His submission focused on the genetic basis of developmental language disorder in a geographically isolated Russian-speaking population. Kornilov will present his work to the Golden Helix community in October and will receive a new Dell laptop as well as a free license of both SVSand VarSeq.”

Kornilov wins SRCD Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award


Sergey Kornilov (PhD in Psychology, 2014), will be awarded an Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award from the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD), for his “unusually noteworthy” dissertation, “Neurophysiological and Genetic Bases of Developmental Language Disorder”, supervised by Jim Magnuson, Nicole Landi (both of UConn Psychology and Haskins Labs) and Elena Grigorenko (of the Yale Child Study Center). SRCD is an international organization devoted to promoting multidisciplinary research and the exchange of ideas in human development. Dr. Kornilov is continuing and extending this work as a postdoctoral researcher at Yale University and St. Petersburg State University (Russia). Kudos, Sergey! Kornilov