Investigating context features hidden in End-to-End TTS

Kohki Mametani, Tsuneo Kato, Seiichi Yamamoto

Recent studies have introduced end-to-end TTS, which integrates the production of context and acoustic features in statistical parametric speech synthesis. As a result, a single neural network replaced laborious feature engineering with automated feature learning. However, little is known about what types of context information end-to-end TTS extracts from text input before synthesizing speech, and the previous knowledge about context features is barely utilized. In this work, we first point out the model similarity between end-to-end TTS and parametric TTS. Based on the similarity, we evaluate the quality of encoder outputs from an end-to-end TTS system against eight criteria that are derived from a standard set of context information used in parametric TTS. We conduct experiments using an evaluation procedure that has been newly developed in the machine learning literature for quantitative analysis of neural representations, while adapting it to the TTS domain. Experimental results show that the encoder outputs reflect both linguistic and phonetic contexts, such as vowel reduction at phoneme level, lexical stress at syllable level, and part-of-speech at word level, possibly due to the joint optimization of context and acoustic features.

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