The prevalence of complex acoustic structures in mammalian vocalisations can make it difficult to quantify frequency characteristics. We describe two methods developed for the frequency analysis of a complex swift fox Vulpes velox vocalisation, the barking sequence: (1) autocorrelation function analysis and (2) instantaneous frequency analysis. The autocorrelation function analysis results in an energy density spectrum of the signal’s averaged amplitude and frequency information. This analysis was used for locating possible formant structures and quantifying the energy distribution of single barks in the barking sequence. The instantaneous frequency analysis is applied to individual continuous frequency bands and generates frequency contours with a resolution of a couple of Hertz. It was used to quantify frequency modulation and calculate average frequencies of harmonic bands in individual barks and to estimate fundamental frequencies. This second method of analysis had to be evaluated with spectrographic analysis to gauge its reliability for each band analysed. The algorithms used should make both of these methods applicable to other complex vocalisations.
autocorrelation, instantaneous frequency, mammalian vocalisation, sound analysis, Vulpes velox