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Zhiyong Wu

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SnakeGAN: A Universal Vocoder Leveraging DDSP Prior Knowledge and Periodic Inductive Bias

Sep 14, 2023
Sipan Li, Songxiang Liu, Luwen Zhang, Xiang Li, Yanyao Bian, Chao Weng, Zhiyong Wu, Helen Meng

Generative adversarial network (GAN)-based neural vocoders have been widely used in audio synthesis tasks due to their high generation quality, efficient inference, and small computation footprint. However, it is still challenging to train a universal vocoder which can generalize well to out-of-domain (OOD) scenarios, such as unseen speaking styles, non-speech vocalization, singing, and musical pieces. In this work, we propose SnakeGAN, a GAN-based universal vocoder, which can synthesize high-fidelity audio in various OOD scenarios. SnakeGAN takes a coarse-grained signal generated by a differentiable digital signal processing (DDSP) model as prior knowledge, aiming at recovering high-fidelity waveform from a Mel-spectrogram. We introduce periodic nonlinearities through the Snake activation function and anti-aliased representation into the generator, which further brings the desired inductive bias for audio synthesis and significantly improves the extrapolation capacity for universal vocoding in unseen scenarios. To validate the effectiveness of our proposed method, we train SnakeGAN with only speech data and evaluate its performance for various OOD distributions with both subjective and objective metrics. Experimental results show that SnakeGAN significantly outperforms the compared approaches and can generate high-fidelity audio samples including unseen speakers with unseen styles, singing voices, instrumental pieces, and nonverbal vocalization.

* Accepted by ICME 2023 
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UnifiedGesture: A Unified Gesture Synthesis Model for Multiple Skeletons

Sep 13, 2023
Sicheng Yang, Zilin Wang, Zhiyong Wu, Minglei Li, Zhensong Zhang, Qiaochu Huang, Lei Hao, Songcen Xu, Xiaofei Wu, changpeng yang, Zonghong Dai

The automatic co-speech gesture generation draws much attention in computer animation. Previous works designed network structures on individual datasets, which resulted in a lack of data volume and generalizability across different motion capture standards. In addition, it is a challenging task due to the weak correlation between speech and gestures. To address these problems, we present UnifiedGesture, a novel diffusion model-based speech-driven gesture synthesis approach, trained on multiple gesture datasets with different skeletons. Specifically, we first present a retargeting network to learn latent homeomorphic graphs for different motion capture standards, unifying the representations of various gestures while extending the dataset. We then capture the correlation between speech and gestures based on a diffusion model architecture using cross-local attention and self-attention to generate better speech-matched and realistic gestures. To further align speech and gesture and increase diversity, we incorporate reinforcement learning on the discrete gesture units with a learned reward function. Extensive experiments show that UnifiedGesture outperforms recent approaches on speech-driven gesture generation in terms of CCA, FGD, and human-likeness. All code, pre-trained models, databases, and demos are available to the public at

* 16 pages, 11 figures, ACM MM 2023 
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Text-Only Domain Adaptation for End-to-End Speech Recognition through Down-Sampling Acoustic Representation

Sep 04, 2023
Jiaxu Zhu, Weinan Tong, Yaoxun Xu, Changhe Song, Zhiyong Wu, Zhao You, Dan Su, Dong Yu, Helen Meng

Mapping two modalities, speech and text, into a shared representation space, is a research topic of using text-only data to improve end-to-end automatic speech recognition (ASR) performance in new domains. However, the length of speech representation and text representation is inconsistent. Although the previous method up-samples the text representation to align with acoustic modality, it may not match the expected actual duration. In this paper, we proposed novel representations match strategy through down-sampling acoustic representation to align with text modality. By introducing a continuous integrate-and-fire (CIF) module generating acoustic representations consistent with token length, our ASR model can learn unified representations from both modalities better, allowing for domain adaptation using text-only data of the target domain. Experiment results of new domain data demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed method.

* Accepted by INTERSPEECH 2023. arXiv admin note: text overlap with arXiv:2309.01437 
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SememeASR: Boosting Performance of End-to-End Speech Recognition against Domain and Long-Tailed Data Shift with Sememe Semantic Knowledge

Sep 04, 2023
Jiaxu Zhu, Changhe Song, Zhiyong Wu, Helen Meng

Recently, excellent progress has been made in speech recognition. However, pure data-driven approaches have struggled to solve the problem in domain-mismatch and long-tailed data. Considering that knowledge-driven approaches can help data-driven approaches alleviate their flaws, we introduce sememe-based semantic knowledge information to speech recognition (SememeASR). Sememe, according to the linguistic definition, is the minimum semantic unit in a language and is able to represent the implicit semantic information behind each word very well. Our experiments show that the introduction of sememe information can improve the effectiveness of speech recognition. In addition, our further experiments show that sememe knowledge can improve the model's recognition of long-tailed data and enhance the model's domain generalization ability.

* Accepted by INTERSPEECH 2023 
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Enhancing the vocal range of single-speaker singing voice synthesis with melody-unsupervised pre-training

Sep 01, 2023
Shaohuan Zhou, Xu Li, Zhiyong Wu, Ying Shan, Helen Meng

The single-speaker singing voice synthesis (SVS) usually underperforms at pitch values that are out of the singer's vocal range or associated with limited training samples. Based on our previous work, this work proposes a melody-unsupervised multi-speaker pre-training method conducted on a multi-singer dataset to enhance the vocal range of the single-speaker, while not degrading the timbre similarity. This pre-training method can be deployed to a large-scale multi-singer dataset, which only contains audio-and-lyrics pairs without phonemic timing information and pitch annotation. Specifically, in the pre-training step, we design a phoneme predictor to produce the frame-level phoneme probability vectors as the phonemic timing information and a speaker encoder to model the timbre variations of different singers, and directly estimate the frame-level f0 values from the audio to provide the pitch information. These pre-trained model parameters are delivered into the fine-tuning step as prior knowledge to enhance the single speaker's vocal range. Moreover, this work also contributes to improving the sound quality and rhythm naturalness of the synthesized singing voices. It is the first to introduce a differentiable duration regulator to improve the rhythm naturalness of the synthesized voice, and a bi-directional flow model to improve the sound quality. Experimental results verify that the proposed SVS system outperforms the baseline on both sound quality and naturalness.

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Towards Improving the Expressiveness of Singing Voice Synthesis with BERT Derived Semantic Information

Aug 31, 2023
Shaohuan Zhou, Shun Lei, Weiya You, Deyi Tuo, Yuren You, Zhiyong Wu, Shiyin Kang, Helen Meng

This paper presents an end-to-end high-quality singing voice synthesis (SVS) system that uses bidirectional encoder representation from Transformers (BERT) derived semantic embeddings to improve the expressiveness of the synthesized singing voice. Based on the main architecture of recently proposed VISinger, we put forward several specific designs for expressive singing voice synthesis. First, different from the previous SVS models, we use text representation of lyrics extracted from pre-trained BERT as additional input to the model. The representation contains information about semantics of the lyrics, which could help SVS system produce more expressive and natural voice. Second, we further introduce an energy predictor to stabilize the synthesized voice and model the wider range of energy variations that also contribute to the expressiveness of singing voice. Last but not the least, to attenuate the off-key issues, the pitch predictor is re-designed to predict the real to note pitch ratio. Both objective and subjective experimental results indicate that the proposed SVS system can produce singing voice with higher-quality outperforming VISinger.

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Towards Spontaneous Style Modeling with Semi-supervised Pre-training for Conversational Text-to-Speech Synthesis

Aug 31, 2023
Weiqin Li, Shun Lei, Qiaochu Huang, Yixuan Zhou, Zhiyong Wu, Shiyin Kang, Helen Meng

The spontaneous behavior that often occurs in conversations makes speech more human-like compared to reading-style. However, synthesizing spontaneous-style speech is challenging due to the lack of high-quality spontaneous datasets and the high cost of labeling spontaneous behavior. In this paper, we propose a semi-supervised pre-training method to increase the amount of spontaneous-style speech and spontaneous behavioral labels. In the process of semi-supervised learning, both text and speech information are considered for detecting spontaneous behaviors labels in speech. Moreover, a linguistic-aware encoder is used to model the relationship between each sentence in the conversation. Experimental results indicate that our proposed method achieves superior expressive speech synthesis performance with the ability to model spontaneous behavior in spontaneous-style speech and predict reasonable spontaneous behavior from text.

* Accepted by INTERSPEECH 2023 
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Improving Mandarin Prosodic Structure Prediction with Multi-level Contextual Information

Aug 31, 2023
Jie Chen, Changhe Song, Deyi Tuo, Xixin Wu, Shiyin Kang, Zhiyong Wu, Helen Meng

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For text-to-speech (TTS) synthesis, prosodic structure prediction (PSP) plays an important role in producing natural and intelligible speech. Although inter-utterance linguistic information can influence the speech interpretation of the target utterance, previous works on PSP mainly focus on utilizing intrautterance linguistic information of the current utterance only. This work proposes to use inter-utterance linguistic information to improve the performance of PSP. Multi-level contextual information, which includes both inter-utterance and intrautterance linguistic information, is extracted by a hierarchical encoder from character level, utterance level and discourse level of the input text. Then a multi-task learning (MTL) decoder predicts prosodic boundaries from multi-level contextual information. Objective evaluation results on two datasets show that our method achieves better F1 scores in predicting prosodic word (PW), prosodic phrase (PPH) and intonational phrase (IPH). It demonstrates the effectiveness of using multi-level contextual information for PSP. Subjective preference tests also indicate the naturalness of synthesized speeches are improved.

* Accepted by Interspeech2022 
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LightGrad: Lightweight Diffusion Probabilistic Model for Text-to-Speech

Aug 31, 2023
Jie Chen, Xingchen Song, Zhendong Peng, Binbin Zhang, Fuping Pan, Zhiyong Wu

Recent advances in neural text-to-speech (TTS) models bring thousands of TTS applications into daily life, where models are deployed in cloud to provide services for customs. Among these models are diffusion probabilistic models (DPMs), which can be stably trained and are more parameter-efficient compared with other generative models. As transmitting data between customs and the cloud introduces high latency and the risk of exposing private data, deploying TTS models on edge devices is preferred. When implementing DPMs onto edge devices, there are two practical problems. First, current DPMs are not lightweight enough for resource-constrained devices. Second, DPMs require many denoising steps in inference, which increases latency. In this work, we present LightGrad, a lightweight DPM for TTS. LightGrad is equipped with a lightweight U-Net diffusion decoder and a training-free fast sampling technique, reducing both model parameters and inference latency. Streaming inference is also implemented in LightGrad to reduce latency further. Compared with Grad-TTS, LightGrad achieves 62.2% reduction in paramters, 65.7% reduction in latency, while preserving comparable speech quality on both Chinese Mandarin and English in 4 denoising steps.

* Accepted by ICASSP 2023 
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CALM: Contrastive Cross-modal Speaking Style Modeling for Expressive Text-to-Speech Synthesis

Aug 30, 2023
Yi Meng, Xiang Li, Zhiyong Wu, Tingtian Li, Zixun Sun, Xinyu Xiao, Chi Sun, Hui Zhan, Helen Meng

Figure 1 for CALM: Contrastive Cross-modal Speaking Style Modeling for Expressive Text-to-Speech Synthesis
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To further improve the speaking styles of synthesized speeches, current text-to-speech (TTS) synthesis systems commonly employ reference speeches to stylize their outputs instead of just the input texts. These reference speeches are obtained by manual selection which is resource-consuming, or selected by semantic features. However, semantic features contain not only style-related information, but also style irrelevant information. The information irrelevant to speaking style in the text could interfere the reference audio selection and result in improper speaking styles. To improve the reference selection, we propose Contrastive Acoustic-Linguistic Module (CALM) to extract the Style-related Text Feature (STF) from the text. CALM optimizes the correlation between the speaking style embedding and the extracted STF with contrastive learning. Thus, a certain number of the most appropriate reference speeches for the input text are selected by retrieving the speeches with the top STF similarities. Then the style embeddings are weighted summarized according to their STF similarities and used to stylize the synthesized speech of TTS. Experiment results demonstrate the effectiveness of our proposed approach, with both objective evaluations and subjective evaluations on the speaking styles of the synthesized speeches outperform a baseline approach with semantic-feature-based reference selection.

* Accepted by InterSpeech 2022 
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