Vowel triangle as seen from the Acoustics diagram formants frequency position f1 - f2 characteristics position first second formant German vowels tongue singer - sengpielaudio
Deutsche Version UK-flag s/w - sengpielaudio D-flag - sengpielaudio
The Formants
Vowel triangle (diagram) as seen from the acoustics
Frequency position of the first and of the second formant of the vowels
That are no tongue positions of speakers and singers
Acoustic characteristics of German vowels
Vowel Diagram
The spectral peaks of the sound spectrum are called formants. A formant refers to a peak in the spectrum.
The frequency of the first formant is mostly determined by the height of the tongue body:
high f1 = low vowel (i.e., high frequency f1 = low tongue body)
low f1 = high vowel (i.e., low frequency f1 = high tongue body)
The frequency of the second formant is mostly determined by the frontness/backness of the tongue body:
high f2 = front vowel
low f2 = back vowel
Blauert's front band: present, in front = red
Blauert's rear band: diffuse, in rear = blue

Vowel formants

 Vowel   Main formant region
u 200 to   400 Hz
o 400 to   600 Hz
a 800 to 1200 Hz
e 400 to 600 and 2200 to 2600 Hz 
i 200 to 400 and 3000 to 3500 Hz

Vowel formant centers

    IPA      German Vowel   Formant f1   Formant f2 
u U   320 Hz   800 Hz
o O   500 Hz 1000 Hz
ɑ å   700 Hz 1150 Hz
a A 1000 Hz 1400 Hz
ø ö   500 Hz 1500 Hz
y ü   320 Hz 1650 Hz
ɛ ä   700 Hz 1800 Hz
e E   500 Hz 2300 Hz
i I   320 Hz 3200 Hz

Typical spectral lifting - Bandwidth fifth to octave

 Strong amplitude at   Sensation of sound   Comment 
  200 to   400 Hz sonorous 1st formant u
  400 to   600 Hz full 1st formant o
  800 to 1200 Hz striking 1st formant a
1200 to 1800 Hz nasal 2nd formant ü
1800 to 2600 Hz bright 2nd formant e
2600 to 4000 Hz brilliant 2nd formant i
8000 Hz peakish diffuse "highs"
over 10000 Hz sharp overtone "gloss"

Formant Range of Woodwind Instruments *)

*) From: Paul Heinrich Mertens, "Die Schumannschen Klangfarbengesetze und ihre Bedeutung für die Übertragung
von Sprache und Musik", Verlag "Das Musikinstrument" Erwin Bochinsky, Frankfurt/M, 1975. ISBN 3-920-11254-7
     Main range     
 Adjacent range 
Flute   810 Hz  - - - -
Oboe 1400 Hz 2950 Hz
English horn   950 Hz 1350 Hz
Clarinet 1180 Hz 2700 Hz
Bassoon   440 Hz 1180 Hz
Contra bassoon   250 Hz   450 Hz

Double reed instruments have particularly strong formants

Formant Range of Brass Instruments

     Main range     
 Adjacent range 
Horn   340 Hz   750 Hz
Trumpet 1200 Hz 2200Hz
Trombone   520 Hz 1500 Hz
Bass trombone    370 Hz   720 Hz
Tuba   230 Hz   400 Hz

The formation of the formants on brass instruments is caused by the mouthpiece.

Formant Range of String Instruments

     Main range     
 Adjacent range 
Violin   400 Hz   1000 Hz
Viola   220/350 Hz   600/1600 Hz
Violoncello   250/400 Hz   600/900 Hz
Double bass    70 Hz   250 Hz
The sound spectra of string instruments are very individual due to large structural differences.
The range of the formants are highlighted by resonances of the resonator and the entrapped
air from the spectrum of the vibrating strings.

Directional Bands after Jens Blauert (Blauert's Bands)

     Perception           Main range     
 Adjacent range 
 present, front (red)   3150 Hz  315 Hz
 diffuse, rear (blue)   1000 Hz  (10 000 Hz)
Jens Blauert, "A novel Presence Filter" (German):
Frequency Positions of the Vowel Formants and "Blauert's Bands" (German):
"Localization not only in the median plane (German)":
"German Vowels":
back back Search Engine forward home home