Svarabhakti Vowel Occurrence and Duration in Rhotic Clusters in French Lyric Singing

Research outputpeer-review


The aim of the current study was to analyze the occurrence and duration of the epenthetic (svarabhakti) vowel in consonant clusters containing the uvular /R/ in French lyric singing. It was of special interest to consider this phenomenon in vocal speech of the worldwide renowned French opera singers. Firstly, because the uvular /R/ has been traditionally considered as an obstacle to the airflow projection and was supposed to be replaced by the alveolar /r/. Secondly, because consonant clusters present a problem for singers in any language, for they interrupt the airflow and hinder a good legato in singing. Rhotic clusters present both challenges combined. Svarabhakti vowel can be helpful in this case, aiming at the simplification of syllable structures in singing. The current study considered various factors, which may have an impact on the occurrence and duration of the svarabhakti vowel: cluster structure (CR or RC), sonority, voicing, manner and place of articulation of the adjacent consonant, musical tempo and neighboring vowel duration. Performances of two distinguished French singers with high voices and with the same repertoire were analyzed. The results of the study showed that in singing of both artists the svarabhakti vowel occurred in all cluster types and in all musical tempi. In RC clusters it was longer than in CR clusters (at the p-level < 0,05). Other correlations between the above-mentioned factors and the svarabhakti frequency and duration occurred to be singer-dependent.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSpeech and Computer
Subtitle of host publication21st International Conference, SPECOM 2019, Proceedings
EditorsAlbert Ali Salah, Alexey Karpov, Rodmonga Potapova
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9783030260613
ISBN (Print)9783030260606
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jul 2019
Event21st International Conference, SPECOM 2019 - Istanbul
Duration: 20 Aug 201925 Aug 2019

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference21st International Conference, SPECOM 2019

Scopus subject areas

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Language and Linguistics

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  • Cite this

    Kochetkova, U. (2019). Svarabhakti Vowel Occurrence and Duration in Rhotic Clusters in French Lyric Singing. In A. A. Salah, A. Karpov, & R. Potapova (Eds.), Speech and Computer : 21st International Conference, SPECOM 2019, Proceedings (pp. 227-236). (Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence; Vol. 11658). Springer Nature.