Now let's discuss how we analyze tone using Praat. We will use a recording of the four Mandarin words as an example.

  1. Created a wav file with four Chinese words mā "mother", má "hemp", mǎ "horse", and mà "scold"
  2. Selected the file and click "View& Edit"
  3. "Pitch" → tick "Show pitch"

The window is like this:

Figure 1

This window provides us with a graphic presentation of the variation in fundamental frequency (pitch contours) of the four Mandarin tones.

  1. Adjust the pitch settings to make the display clearer.

I just brief two important points here:

  • First, adjust the range of analysis as men have pitch ranges in the 50-180 Hz range while women's pitch tends to be higher, 80-250 Hz.
  • Second, autocorrelation is preferred for intonation studies and cross-correlation for tone studies.

Figure 2 (Retrieved from Stoneham, 2011: p2,

  1. Draw the pitch contours
  • Select an area in Picture window using the pink frame
  • Select "Pitch" → "draw visible pitch contour"
  • See the results in Praat picture window

 Figure 3

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