Speech and song are universal forms of vocal expression that reflect distinct channels of communication. While these two forms of expression share a common means of sound production, differences in the acoustic properties of speech and song have not received significant attention. Here, we present evidence of acoustic differences in the speaking and singing voice. Twenty-four actors were recorded while speaking and singing different statements with five emotions, two emotional intensities, and two repetitions. Acoustic differences of speech and song were reported in several acoustic parameters, including vocal loudness, spectral properties, and vocal quality. Interestingly, emotion was conveyed similarly in many acoustic features across speech and song. These results demonstrate the entwined nature of speech and song, and provide evidence in support of the shared emergence speech and song as a form of early proto-language. These recordings form part of our new Ryerson Audio-Visual Database of Emotional Speech and Song (RAVDESS) that will be freely released in 2013.

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