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10.10.2010

two-tube model of the vocal tract

I realize this confession will shock no one at all, but I have to say it anyway: I am a huge nerd.  Although there are plenty of things that frustrate me about my Speech Processing class, I am still pretty excited about my current homework assignment.  In this assignment, I have to model the vocal tract as two uniform tubes and vary their length and cross-sectional area in order to produce rudimentary vowels - that is, sound files that go "oooh" and "aaah" and so on.

Speech is characterized by duration and frequency of sounds.  Vowels, more specifically, consist of some fundamental frequency band (the pitch of one's voice, generated at the vocal folds) with several overtones which are the product of tuned resonances in the vocal tract.  These resonance frequencies are tuned via motion of the jaw, tongue, and velum (or soft palate), so that the first and second harmonics in speech give us our vowel sounds.  Higher harmonics depend on things we cannot control, such as facial structure, and are responsible for the unique tone of an individual's voice.

My homework is not nearly so complicated as the real system - for one thing, it completely excludes the nasal passage - but I'm looking forward to programming my computer to sing the mahnamahna song to me.

To help with my programming endeavors, I went ahead and chose a caffeinated cookie recipe for the weekend:

By this time in my cookie project, I'm getting to the recipes I've been putting off for some reason or another.  I'd been delaying this recipe because, quite frankly, I'm not a big fan of Earl Grey tea, but I had to do it at some point, and so here they are!
These cookies consist mostly of butter and flour, and a little bit of confectioner's sugar, so they have a shortbread-like consistency, and basically fall apart when you take a bite of them.  They get their flavor from orange zest and about 4 teabags worth of Earl Grey.  Now, when I went to the grocery store I could only find decaf Earl Grey, so these cookies are caffeine-free and won't keep me awake as I study.. oops.  These are icebox cookies so once I made the dough I rolled it out into tubes and froze it, then sliced it into 1/4" pieces to get a nice uniform result.

I really like the consistency of these cookies, anything that is melt-in-your-mouth is good in my book, and I find that the orange zest is the dominant flavor, so I don't have to deal with the bergamot that I don't like very much.  I'm not sure if I would repeat this recipe because it's kind of strange, but I think the idea of putting tea in cookies is interesting.

Also, would anyone in C-U like 16 bags of Earl Grey?  I don't plan on drinking the stuff and hate to throw it away.

Okay, that's it for now.  I'll be back next week, perhaps with new musical theater shenanigans, depending on if a good friend of mine can visit.

1 comment:

  1. i love that you picked the mahnamahna song to model!

    ReplyDelete

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