Victor ROSI and Patrick SUSINI
researchers of the team Sound Perception and Design,(UMR STMS), present:
Important work has been carried out at Ircam for several years on the perceptive, acoustic and semantic description of timbre (McAdams et al., 1995; Faure, 2000; Peeters et al., 2011). More recently, as part of Maxime Carron's thesis, a lexicon describing the main sound characteristics was proposed based on a review of the literature on the verbal description of sounds. A series of interviews conducted with sound professionals allowed to refine this list and to formulate a first version of the definitions associated with the terms (Carron et al., 2017). Each term was then illustrated by several sound examples created under the direction of composer Roque Rivas. The terms and associated sounds are now presented using a tool called SpeaK developed by Frédéric Voisin. The tool has been used in particular to facilitate communication between participants in sound design projects.
There are still inaccuracies in the use of certain terms, and consequently, inaccuracies in their acoustic characterization, especially for the terms 'warm', 'round', 'bright' and 'rough'. In order to better identify the nature of these terms, two approaches have been undertaken.
First, we organized a series of interviews followed by an online questionnaire addressed to different categories of sound and music professionals. This allowed us to report on the different descriptive strategies employed by the participants. This first step allowed us to refine the definitions and obtain instrumental sound examples for each of the terms.
In a second step, we developed a perceptual experiment to annotate a database of instrumental sounds on the four terms. The procedure used, Best-Worst Scaling (Louvière et al., 2015), is an alternative to subjective annotation by semantic scale. The use of such a method would make it possible to envisage new experimental perspectives for perceptual measurements of subjective concepts related to sound. More concretely, the results will give us access to an acoustic characterization of 'warm', 'round', 'bright' and 'rough'.