The activities in this subunit introduce students to the human speech production mechanism, human speech analysis and synthesis. The content is both about biology and physics. For biology students learn about the human vocal system and how the human speech is produced. In physics they create a model to describe how the human speech is produced, they analyse the human sounds and learn how human sounds can be created artificially.

As pre-requisite knowledge, students are supposed to know the concepts frequency, amplitude, standing waves, resonance, fundamental frequency and harmonics, and should be able to handle those both qualitatively and quantitatively.

Since this unit goes beyond a traditional school curriculum a model of human speech production is given as reading text for students in the Worksheet: Model of human speech production. The text is based on an article of Johan Sundberg “The acoustics of the singing voice”, Sci. Am. 236, 82 (March 1977).

Some useful resources;

  1. Johan Sundberg “The acoustics of the singing voice”, Sci. Am. 236, 82 (March 1977) (see
  2. Timothy Moran, “Application of sound spectrum analysis”, Phys. Teach. 45, 94 (2007)
  3. Klaus Fellbaum, Jorg Richer, ‘Human speech production based on a linear predictive vocoder”, ESCA/Socrate workshop on Method and Tool Innovations for Speech Science Education (1999), see
    The Java simulation ‘Model of the Human Speech Production’ allowing sound analysis and synthesis is available at: