Is there software that I can use to synthesize how a hypothetical tone contour would sound?

I'm aware of "sound from formula" feature in Praat, but I'm unsure how to create the right formula to get the tone contour I want.

1 Answer 1


I assume that you mean "pitch contour", since tone presupposes a prior acoustic analysis of tones into some kind of numeric model of F0 and other properties over time. In many languages (e.g. Vietnamese) there are non-F0 concomitants of tones.

A direct way in Praat is by creating a pitch tier then adding specific points. Here is an example:

Create PitchTier: "empty", 0, 0.6
Add point: 0.1, 200
Add point: 0.2, 150
Add point: 0.5, 350

Then you can play that object (sine, hum or pulses, pulses are obnoxious). Directly creating a complex wave with the desired properties is, well, very complex and ultimately doesn't mesh well with e.g. vowel synthesis, if you want something that sounds more like language.

  • Ah, didn't know about PitchTier. This is helpful, thank you. Re pitch vs. tone: yes, you're right, I was using the terms willy-nilly. Though, just to be rigorous here, I'm inclined to say that languages like Vietnamese have contrastive non-F0 concomitants of tones (i.e. contrastive phonation), as many tonal languages also have non-contrastive, non-F0 features in their tonal systems (like creaky voice in the Mandarin 3rd tone).
    – user42197
    Jul 24, 2023 at 17:50

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