The most used and well-known acoustic features of a speech signal, the Mel frequency cepstral coefficients (MFCC), cannot characterize emotions in speech sufficiently when a classification is performed to classify both discrete emotions (i.e., anger, happiness, sadness, and neutral) and emotions in valence dimension (positive and negative). The main reason for this is that some of the discrete emotions, such as anger and happiness, share similar acoustic features in the arousal dimension (high and low) but are different in the valence dimension. Timbre is a sound quality that can discriminate between two sounds even with the same pitch and loudness. In this paper, we analyzed timbre acoustic features to improve the classification performance of discrete emotions as well as emotions in the valence dimension. Sequential forward selection (SFS) was used to find the most relevant acoustic features among timbre acoustic features. The experiments were carried out on the Berlin Emotional Speech Database and the Interactive Emotional Dyadic Motion Capture Database. Support vector machine (SVM) and long short-term memory recurrent neural network (LSTM-RNN) were used to classify emotions. The significant classification performance improvements were achieved using a combination of baseline and the most relevant timbre acoustic features, which were found by applying SFS on a classification of emotions for the Berlin Emotional Speech Database. From extensive experiments, it was found that timbre acoustic features could characterize emotions sufficiently in a speech in the valence dimension.
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