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6. Installation

This section describes how to install Festival from source in a new location and customize that installation.

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6.1 Requirements

In order to compile Festival you first need the following source packages


Festival Speech Synthesis System source


The Edinburgh Speech Tools Library


The lexicon distribution, where possible, includes the lexicon input file as well as the compiled form, for your convenience. The lexicons have varying distribution policies, but are all free except OALD, which is only free for non-commercial use (we are working on a free replacement). In some cases only a pointer to an ftp’able file plus a program to convert that file to the Festival format is included.


You’ll need a speech database. A number are available (with varying distribution policies). Each voice may have other dependencies such as requiring particular lexicons


Full postscript, info and html documentation for Festival and the Speech Tools. The source of the documentation is available in the standard distributions but for your conveniences it has been pre-generated.

In addition to Festival specific sources you will also need

A UNIX machine

Currently we have compiled and tested the system under Solaris (2.5(.1), 2.6, 2.7 and 2.8), SunOS (4.1.3), FreeBSD (3.x, 4.x), Linux (Redhat 4.1, 5.0, 5.1, 5.2, 6.[012], 7.[01], 8.0 and other Linux distributions), and it should work under OSF (Dec Alphas), SGI (Irix), HPs (HPUX). But any standard UNIX machine should be acceptable. We have now successfully ported this version to Windows NT and Windows 95 (using the Cygnus GNU win32 environment). This is still a young port but seems to work.

A C++ compiler

Note that C++ is not very portable even between different versions of the compiler from the same vendor. Although we’ve tried very hard to make the system portable, we know it is very unlikely to compile without change except with compilers that have already been tested. The currently tested systems are

Note if GCC works on one version of Unix it usually works on others.

We have compiled both the speech tools and Festival under Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 95 using the GNU tools available from Cygnus.

GNU make

Due to there being too many different make programs out there we have tested the system using GNU make on all systems we use. Others may work but we know GNU make does.

Audio hardware

You can use Festival without audio output hardware but it doesn’t sound very good (though admittedly you can hear less problems with it). A number of audio systems are supported (directly inherited from the audio support in the Edinburgh Speech Tools Library): NCD’s NAS (formerly called netaudio) a network transparent audio system (which can be found at ftp://ftp.x.org/contrib/audio/nas/); ‘/dev/audio’ (at 8k ulaw and 8/16bit linear), found on Suns, Linux machines and FreeBSD; and a method allowing arbitrary UNIX commands. See section Audio output.

Earlier versions of Festival mistakenly offered a command line editor interface to the GNU package readline, but due to conflicts with the GNU Public Licence and Festival’s licence this interface was removed in version 1.3.1. Even Festival’s new free licence would cause problems as readline support would restrict Festival linking with non-free code. A new command line interface based on editline was provided that offers similar functionality. Editline remains a compilation option as it is probably not yet as portable as we would like it to be.

In addition to the above, in order to process the documentation you will need ‘TeX’, ‘dvips’ (or similar), GNU’s ‘makeinfo’ (part of the texinfo package) and ‘texi2html’ which is available from http://wwwcn.cern.ch/dci/texi2html/.

However the document files are also available pre-processed into, postscript, DVI, info and html as part of the distribution in ‘festdoc-1.4.X.tar.gz’.

Ensure you have a fully installed and working version of your C++ compiler. Most of the problems people have had in installing Festival have been due to incomplete or bad compiler installation. It might be worth checking if the following program works if you don’t know if anyone has used your C++ installation before.

#include <iostream.h>
int main (int argc, char **argv)
   cout << "Hello world\n";

Unpack all the source files in a new directory. The directory will then contain two subdirectories


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6.2 Configuration

First ensure you have a compiled version of the Edinburgh Speech Tools Library. See ‘speech_tools/INSTALL’ for instructions.

The system now supports the standard GNU ‘configure’ method for set up. In most cases this will automatically configure festival for your particular system. In most cases you need only type


and the system will configure itself and compile, (note you need to have compiled the Edinburgh Speech Tools ‘speech_tools-1.2.2’ first.

In some case hand configuration is required. All of the configuration choices are kept in the file ‘config/config’.

For the most part Festival configuration inherits the configuration from your speech tools config file (‘../speech_tools/config/config’). Additional optional modules may be added by adding them to the end of your config file e.g.

ALSO_INCLUDE += clunits

Adding and new module here will treat is as a new directory in the ‘src/modules/’ and compile it into the system in the same way the OTHER_DIRS feature was used in previous versions.

If the compilation directory being accessed by NFS or if you use an automounter (e.g. amd) it is recommend to explicitly set the variable FESTIVAL_HOME in ‘config/config’. The command pwd is not reliable when a directory may have multiple names.

There is a simple test suite with Festival but it requires the three basic voices and their respective lexicons installed before it will work. Thus you need to install


If these are installed you can test the installation with

gmake test

To simply make it run with a male US English voice it is sufficient to install just


Note that the single most common reason for problems in compilation and linking found amongst the beta testers was a bad installation of GNU C++. If you get many strange errors in G++ library header files or link errors it is worth checking that your system has the compiler, header files and runtime libraries properly installed. This may be checked by compiling a simple program under C++ and also finding out if anyone at your site has ever used the installation. Most of these installation problems are caused by upgrading to a newer version of libg++ without removing the older version so a mixed version of the ‘.h’ files exist.

Although we have tried very hard to ensure that Festival compiles with no warnings this is not possible under some systems.

Under SunOS the system include files do not declare a number of system provided functions. This a bug in Sun’s include files. This will causes warnings like "implicit definition of fprintf". These are harmless.

Under Linux a warning at link time about reducing the size of some symbols often is produced. This is harmless. There is often occasional warnings about some socket system function having an incorrect argument type, this is also harmless.

The speech tools and festival compile under Windows95 or Windows NT with Visual C++ v5.0 using the Microsoft ‘nmake’ make program. We’ve only done this with the Professonal edition, but have no reason to believe that it relies on anything not in the standard edition.

In accordance to VC++ conventions, object files are created with extension .obj, executables with extension .exe and libraries with extension .lib. This may mean that both unix and Win32 versions can be built in the same directory tree, but I wouldn’t rely on it.

To do this you require nmake Makefiles for the system. These can be generated from the gnumake Makefiles, using the command

gnumake VCMakefile

in the speech_tools and festival directories. I have only done this under unix, it’s possible it would work under the cygnus gnuwin32 system.

If ‘make.depend’ files exist (i.e. if you have done ‘gnumake depend’ in unix) equivalent ‘vc_make.depend’ files will be created, if not the VCMakefiles will not contain dependency information for the ‘.cc’ files. The result will be that you can compile the system once, but changes will not cause the correct things to be rebuilt.

In order to compile from the DOS command line using Visual C++ you need to have a collection of environment variables set. In Windows NT there is an instalation option for Visual C++ which sets these globally. Under Windows95 or if you don’t ask for them to be set globally under NT you need to run


See the VC++ documentation for more details.

Once you have the source trees with VCMakefiles somewhere visible from Windows, you need to copy ‘peech_tools\config\vc_config-dist’ to ‘speech_tools\config\vc_config’ and edit it to suit your local situation. Then do the same with ‘festival\config\vc_config-dist’.

The thing most likely to need changing is the definition of FESTIVAL_HOME in ‘festival\config\vc_config_make_rules’ which needs to point to where you have put festival.

Now you can compile. cd to the speech_tools directory and do

nmake /nologo /fVCMakefile 

and the library, the programs in main and the test programs should be compiled.

The tests can’t be run automatically under Windows. A simple test to check that things are probably OK is:

main\na_play testsuite\data\ch_wave.wav

which reads and plays a waveform.

Next go into the festival directory and do

nmake /nologo /fVCMakefile 

to build festival. When it’s finished, and assuming you have the voices and lexicons unpacked in the right place, festival should run just as under unix.

We should remind you that the NT/95 ports are still young and there may yet be problems that we’ve not found yet. We only recommend the use the speech tools and Festival under Windows if you have significant experience in C++ under those platforms.

Most of the modules ‘src/modules’ are actually optional and the system could be compiled without them. The basic set could be reduced further if certain facilities are not desired. Particularly: ‘donovan’ which is only required if the donovan voice is used; ‘rxp’ if no XML parsing is required (e.g. Sable); and ‘parser’ if no stochastic paring is required (this parser isn’t used for any of our currently released voices). Actually even ‘UniSyn’ and ‘UniSyn_diphone’ could be removed if some external waveform synthesizer is being used (e.g. MBROLA) or some alternative one like ‘OGIresLPC’. Removing unused modules will make the festival binary smaller and (potentially) start up faster but don’t expect too much. You can delete these by changing the BASE_DIRS variable in ‘src/modules/Makefile’.

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6.3 Site initialization

Once compiled Festival may be further customized for particular sites. At start up time Festival loads the file ‘init.scm’ from its library directory. This file further loads other necessary files such as phoneset descriptions, duration parameters, intonation parameters, definitions of voices etc. It will also load the files ‘sitevars.scm’ and ‘siteinit.scm’ if they exist. ‘sitevars.scm’ is loaded after the basic Scheme library functions are loaded but before any of the festival related functions are loaded. This file is intended to set various path names before various subsystems are loaded. Typically variables such as lexdir (the directory where the lexicons are held), and voices_dir (pointing to voice directories) should be reset here if necessary.

The default installation will try to find its lexicons and voices automatically based on the value of load-path (this is derived from FESTIVAL_HOME at compilation time or by using the --libdir at run-time). If the voices and lexicons have been unpacked into subdirectories of the library directory (the default) then no site specific initialization of the above pathnames will be necessary.

The second site specific file is ‘siteinit.scm’. Typical examples of local initialization are as follows. The default audio output method is NCD’s NAS system if that is supported as that’s what we use normally in CSTR. If it is not supported, any hardware specific mode is the default (e.g. sun16audio, freebas16audio, linux16audio or mplayeraudio). But that default is just a setting in ‘init.scm’. If for example in your environment you may wish the default audio output method to be 8k mulaw through ‘/dev/audio’ you should add the following line to your ‘siteinit.scm’ file

(Parameter.set 'Audio_Method 'sunaudio)

Note the use of Parameter.set rather than Parameter.def the second function will not reset the value if it is already set. Remember that you may use the audio methods sun16audio. linux16audio or freebsd16audio only if NATIVE_AUDIO was selected in ‘speech_tools/config/config’ and your are on such machines. The Festival variable *modules* contains a list of all supported functions/modules in a particular installation including audio support. Check the value of that variable if things aren’t what you expect.

If you are installing on a machine whose audio is not directly supported by the speech tools library, an external command may be executed to play a waveform. The following example is for an imaginary machine that can play audio files through a program called ‘adplay’ with arguments for sample rate and file type. When playing waveforms, Festival, by default, outputs as unheadered waveform in native byte order. In this example you would set up the default audio playing mechanism in ‘siteinit.scm’ as follows

(Parameter.set 'Audio_Method 'Audio_Command)
(Parameter.set 'Audio_Command "adplay -raw -r $SR $FILE")

For Audio_Command method of playing waveforms Festival supports two additional audio parameters. Audio_Required_Rate allows you to use Festivals internal sample rate conversion function to any desired rate. Note this may not be as good as playing the waveform at the sample rate it is originally created in, but as some hardware devices are restrictive in what sample rates they support, or have naive resample functions this could be optimal. The second addition audio parameter is Audio_Required_Format which can be used to specify the desired output forms of the file. The default is unheadered raw, but this may be any of the values supported by the speech tools (including nist, esps, snd, riff, aiff, audlab, raw and, if you really want it, ascii).

For example suppose you run Festival on a remote machine and are not running any network audio system and want Festival to copy files back to your local machine and simply cat them to ‘/dev/audio’. The following would do that (assuming permissions for rsh are allowed).

(Parameter.set 'Audio_Method 'Audio_Command)
;; Make output file ulaw 8k (format ulaw implies 8k)
(Parameter.set 'Audio_Required_Format 'ulaw)
(Parameter.set 'Audio_Command 
 "userhost=`echo $DISPLAY | sed 's/:.*$//'`; rcp $FILE $userhost:$FILE; \
  rsh $userhost \"cat $FILE >/dev/audio\" ; rsh $userhost \"rm $FILE\"")

Note there are limits on how complex a command you want to put in the Audio_Command string directly. It can get very confusing with respect to quoting. It is therefore recommended that once you get past a certain complexity consider writing a simple shell script and calling it from the Audio_Command string.

A second typical customization is setting the default speaker. Speakers depend on many things but due to various licence (and resource) restrictions you may only have some diphone/nphone databases available in your installation. The function name that is the value of voice_default is called immediately after ‘siteinit.scm’ is loaded offering the opportunity for you to change it. In the standard distribution no change should be required. If you download all the distributed voices voice_rab_diphone is the default voice. You may change this for a site by adding the following to ‘siteinit.scm’ or per person by changing your ‘.festivalrc’. For example if you wish to change the default voice to the American one voice_ked_diphone

(set! voice_default 'voice_ked_diphone)

Note the single quote, and note that unlike in early versions voice_default is not a function you can call directly.

A second level of customization is on a per user basis. After loading ‘init.scm’, which includes ‘sitevars.scm’ and ‘siteinit.scm’ for local installation, Festival loads the file ‘.festivalrc’ from the user’s home directory (if it exists). This file may contain arbitrary Festival commands.

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6.4 Checking an installation

Once compiled and site initialization is set up you should test to see if Festival can speak or not.

Start the system

$ bin/festival
Festival Speech Synthesis System 1.4.3:release Jan 2003
Copyright (C) University of Edinburgh, 1996-2003. All rights reserved.
For details type `(festival_warranty)'
festival> ^D

If errors occur at this stage they are most likely to do with pathname problems. If any error messages are printed about non-existent files check that those pathnames point to where you intended them to be. Most of the (default) pathnames are dependent on the basic library path. Ensure that is correct. To find out what it has been set to, start the system without loading the init files.

$ bin/festival -q
Festival Speech Synthesis System 1.4.3:release Jan 2003
Copyright (C) University of Edinburgh, 1996-2003. All rights reserved.
For details type `(festival_warranty)'
festival> libdir
festival> ^D

This should show the pathname you set in your ‘config/config’.

If the system starts with no errors try to synthesize something

festival> (SayText "hello world")

Some files are only accessed at synthesis time so this may show up other problem pathnames. If it talks, you’re in business, if it doesn’t, here are some possible problems.

If you get the error message

Can't access NAS server

You have selected NAS as the audio output but have no server running on that machine or your DISPLAY or AUDIOSERVER environment variable is not set properly for your output device. Either set these properly or change the audio output device in ‘lib/siteinit.scm’ as described above.

Ensure your audio device actually works the way you think it does. On Suns, the audio output device can be switched into a number of different output modes, speaker, jack, headphones. If this is set to the wrong one you may not hear the output. Use one of Sun’s tools to change this (try ‘/usr/demo/SOUND/bin/soundtool’). Try to find an audio file independent of Festival and get it to play on your audio. Once you have done that ensure that the audio output method set in Festival matches that.

Once you have got it talking, test the audio spooling device.

festival> (intro)

This plays a short introduction of two sentences, spooling the audio output.

Finally exit from Festival (by end of file or (quit)) and test the script mode with.

$ examples/saytime

A test suite is included with Festival but it makes certain assumptions about which voices are installed. It assumes that voice_rab_diphone (‘festvox_rabxxxx.tar.gz’) is the default voice and that voice_ked_diphone and voice_don_diphone (‘festvox_kedxxxx.tar.gz’ and ‘festvox_don.tar.gz’) are installed. Also local settings in your ‘festival/lib/siteinit.scm’ may affect these tests. However, after installation it may be worth trying

gnumake test

from the ‘festival/’ directory. This will do various tests including basic utterance tests and tokenization tests. It also checks that voices are installed and that they don’t interfere with each other. These tests are primarily regression tests for the developers of Festival, to ensure new enhancements don’t mess up existing supported features. They are not designed to test an installation is successful, though if they run correctly it is most probable the installation has worked.

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This document was generated by Alan W Black on December 2, 2014 using texi2html 1.82.