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  • Writer's pictureTolga Özdemir

Speech Modulation

Natural modes, also called “heptatonic” scales, are sub-clusters which contain seven tones on the top half of Tritonet. These modes date back to very early times; they are called “temple modes” in the Ancient Middle East, Greek modes in Ancient Greece, church modes in Medieval Europe, and Jazz modes in modern times. Today, they are still called by their Ancient Greek names.

Natural modes consist of seven neighboring tones in the series of fifths. When one of these tones is emphasized more than the others, it reveals a mode with a distinct musical character. Since we have seven tones, we can have seven different possible centers, and thus seven different modes.


As Boethius described in Musica Humana, music has an effect on the human soul. We can classify the seven natural modes according to their reflections on the human soul. These reflections are so powerful that Plato, in his book Republic, went so far as to ban musicians from using modes other than Dorian and Phrygian because of their apparently negative effect on society. Fortunately, this absolutist approach was later softened by his disciple Aristotle, and the idea that all of these modes have different benefits for the human soul was accepted anew.

Throughout history, there have been numerous scholars, such as Aristotle, Nicomachus, Boethius, and Guido d’Arezzo, who have researched the effects of natural modes on the human soul. Despite some minor differences in their definitions—based on accepted norms of aesthetics at that time—there is a common denominator enabling us to categorize these seven modes according to their Ethos.

Lydian ;} Unsettled as if in a dream

Ionian :) Happy, Light

Mixolydian ;) Energetic, Quizzical

Dorian :I Calm, Balanced

Aeolian ;( Anxious, Agitated

Phrygian :( Sluggish, Resigned

Locrian ;{ Sad, Angry

A closer look at their placement in the circle reveals that they fit a template that begins with “happy” and ends with “sad,” forming the seven different stages of Ethos. Just like the seven colours of the rainbow, the seven stages of the human soul appear as seven natural modes.


Melody of the speech changes the meaning of what it is said. Injecting tonality into the incoming audio signal can change the Ethos of speech. For this, research plan needs three steps:

  1. Testing of the modes with the corresponding emotions: Each subject will listen MIDI generated music containing seven natural modes, each example holds the same features of music such as tempo, melody, instrumentation etc in order to eliminate the other factors. Each musical mode takes a minute, which makes the musical example total seven minutes. During this time, brainwave activity of the listener is going to be traced to look for correlation between musical modes and brainwaves.

  2. Testing the mood of the speech by harmonic analysis: Each subject will read out loud seven different topic texts which represents seven different musical modes. The voice of the speaker will be used as a melodic source for harmonic analysis to determine the mode of the speech. During this time, brainwave activity will be traced as a second reference point to be compared with the previous test.

  3. Ethos modulation by adjusting musical mode to the speech: By using the reverse engineering of harmonic analysis feature of Tritonet, resonators can apply new tonality into the speech. Every space (room, hall, open hall etc) has its own unique resonance notes according to its dimensions. These resonance notes can be modulated digitally and the desired mode can be applied to the speech. Idea can be enhanced by injecting the harmony into the speech by a special usage of vocoder.

In order to do this we need to analyse two factors:

  1. Base tone of the narrator is found in order to determine the root note.

  2. Overall Ethos of the speech is found in order to determine the main mode.

After these adjustments, there could be two different ways to modulate the speech:

  1. Traveling inside the tonality by applying functions such as I-IV-V-I. In this case, a monomodal speech can be achieved.

  2. Traveling around the modes who are sharing the same root note. In this case, a polymodal speech can be achieved.

Ethos modulation can be used in many venues such as:

  1. In the postproduction of the movies in order to enhance the scenes sonically.

  2. For the speech engine in the computer to enhance the user-computer interaction.

  3. Live modulation of Ethos for a public speaker (Dangerous!!)

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