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#159526 - 11/19/03 06:29 AM Yamaha Vocaloid Singing Synthesis
The Pro Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/09/02
Posts: 1087
Loc: Atlanta, Georgia
Well it's finally happening, just in time for NAMM 2004. Yamaha and Zero-G have teamed up to create virtual vocalist VST/Rewire "softsingers" called Vocaloids. These are programs that allows you to type in lyrics, enter note and expression values, and create realistic lead and backing vocals. This isn't robo-talk - they are saying that this technology is good enough to be the lead vocal on hit records. The first two Vocaloid programs to be released at NAMM, are "Leon" and "Lola". This looks very promising indeed... and speaking of promises, the demo page has one sample MP3 where the Vocaloids are in the background and not in the lead (hard to fully judge but sounds good so far) - and they say new demos will be posted from now until NAMM. My jingle studio just got a boner...

Here's the link to the info and the demo: http://www.zero-g.co.uk/index.cfm?articleid=803


[This message has been edited by The Pro (edited 11-19-2003).]
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#159527 - 11/19/03 06:48 AM Re: Yamaha Vocaloid Singing Synthesis
msutliff Offline
Member

Registered: 03/08/01
Posts: 640
Loc: Cottage Grove, MN, USA
Hey Pro,

Wow, that is very cool. I'm very interested in hearing what it does with a lead vocal.

Thanks for the info.

Quote:
Originally posted by The Pro:
My jingle studio just got a boner...


You just be careful where you point that thing......

mike

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#159528 - 11/19/03 06:52 AM Re: Yamaha Vocaloid Singing Synthesis
Dnj Online   content
Senior Member

Registered: 09/21/00
Posts: 40891
Jim, thanx for the heads up ...BUT.....Although all this new technology might be fine for some, I feel we're headed into a non playing and singing future controled by electronics & buttons in the musical arena.
Little by little, inch by inch "REAL" music making is disintergrating.
I hope I'm not alone in feeling this happening?

[This message has been edited by Dnj (edited 11-19-2003).]

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#159529 - 11/19/03 07:17 AM Re: Yamaha Vocaloid Singing Synthesis
The Pro Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/09/02
Posts: 1087
Loc: Atlanta, Georgia
Y'know I go back to the 80's when everyone around me was saying that drum machines were going to put drummers out of work. And maybe a few did go away but some drummers adapted and become good drum machine programmers. Heck I've seen solo drummers play gigs with everything else sequenced! Today, drum machines are everywhere but on stage there's still nothing like a real drummer. Personally I like any tool that gives me more creative options as a songwriter, arranger and producer. And VST singers have the potential to dent a few egos that have had it coming, heh heh...
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#159530 - 11/19/03 07:20 AM Re: Yamaha Vocaloid Singing Synthesis
msutliff Offline
Member

Registered: 03/08/01
Posts: 640
Loc: Cottage Grove, MN, USA
Quote:
Originally posted by Dnj:
..I feel we're headed into a non playing and singing future controled by electronics & buttons in the musical arena. Little by little, inch by inch "REAL" music making is disintergrating.


Not as long as YOU keep at it, Donny. No technological creation is ever going to replace what YOU give to your audience, night after night...YOUR performance!

To me, this kind of stuff is just man's feeble attempt at recreating something it can't. The magic that comes from a great musical performance.

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't interested in this kind of techno stuff. But the euphoria I'll get from listening to how well man has succeeded in duplicating the human voice is nothing, not even comparable to, the euphoria I get when listening to you sing Volare live and in person (and someday I will here you sing live, I'm sure of it).

For now, I'm gonna allow equal room for both mediums in my life--live sounds and man-made sounds. And fortunately, I can still tell the difference, I can separate the two.

mike

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#159531 - 11/19/03 07:47 AM Re: Yamaha Vocaloid Singing Synthesis
travlin'easy Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/08/02
Posts: 14553
Loc: Forest Hill, MD USA
Originally posted by Dnj:
..I feel we're headed into a non playing and singing future controled by electronics & buttons in the musical arena. Little by little, inch by inch "REAL" music making is disintergrating.

I, unfortunately, must agree with Donny. There are a lot less drummers in this world, and additionally, far fewer live bands. The inroads made by DJ's and Karaoke guys has impacted the live performer to a vast degree. If you don't believe this is the case, just open your daily or weekly newspaper, look in the entertainment section and you'll find a huge number of listings where DJ's and Karaoke are headlined. If you're lucky, you may find a handful of live entertainers.

The same holds true for the wedding industry. DJ's have essentially put live bands out of business when it comes to the nuptual's festivities. Every catering outfit in the mid-Atlanti region has a list of DJ's they call on for weddings, but when the person requests a live band, which by the way is very unusual these days, the caterer usually says "If you want live music you'll have to find the band yourself."

Then, to put a little icing on the cake. How many of you have had someone come up to you after a performance where you performed every song live and sang your heart out and said "Oh, you were just great. You're the best DJ we ever had. There has even been a couple times when on the bottom of the check in the memo area the person wrote DJ Services.

Essenially, live bands will soon be extinct, and they will quickly be followed by live performers. Though I hope I am long in my grave when this occurs, the way things are progressing in this industry, I forsee a future where the music will all be digitized, the vocals will be digitized and there will be a computerized image of the band projected as a hologram on a fold-up stage made of lightweight plastic.

This, my friends, is called progress!

Gary
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#159532 - 11/19/03 08:38 AM Re: Yamaha Vocaloid Singing Synthesis
trtjazz Offline
Member

Registered: 08/01/02
Posts: 2683
I too have to agree with Donny and Gary here. Seems to me more and more cuts are pre-manufactured and very little is played live realtime by many. Far too many IMO have become desktop musicians. I love technology if used properly and different strokes for different folks.

I have a bit of a problem calling someone a musician though that assembles loops and samples, then hits play.

That all being said, the demo is amazing really.
Terry

------------------
jam on,
Terry http://imjazzed.homestead.com/Index.html

[This message has been edited by trtjazz (edited 11-19-2003).]
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jam on,
Terry
http://www.artisans-world.com/

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#159533 - 11/19/03 09:06 AM Re: Yamaha Vocaloid Singing Synthesis
The Pro Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/09/02
Posts: 1087
Loc: Atlanta, Georgia
Jeez - I thought I'd start a thread about some interesting new technology that may give some of us a few more creative options, but instead it turns into a podium for the techophobic among us. Why aren't you guys bitching about how arranger keyboards have put corner organ-grinders out of business? If you want to race head-first into obsolecense then God speed... I see the opportunites that technical advances provides and think of how I can use them, not how they'll threaten me.

But if you want to moan about how DJ's are conquering the world, maybe you should ask yourself why people would prefer DJ's over live music in the first place. And it isn't just cost - maybe people are sick of the poor quality of live entertainment they've been stuck with in the past, and the overbearing volume, and the egos of those who have little else to offer as entertainers. I make it a point to go out and see live music every week and most of it is lacking in musicianship, entertainment value, and sheer effort. Why? Because musicians who are after a quick buck have allowed their musical standards to drop to the lowest it's been in my lifetime. Most of them wouldn't even have been considered professional musicians had they lived 60 years earlier. As a result, audiences have become less discerning and less caring. Why not hire a DJ when you'll get a sound that is more or less predictable over what you might wind up with if you hire some guy to hold down a couple of notes on a keyboard while singing? If you're not more skilled and more interesting as an entertainer than a DJ, should you really be blaming the DJ?

If a DJ gets hired over me then I am solely to blame, and it means that my marketing and performing skills need more work. The march of technology hasn't got a damn thing to do with it. Sorry - I'm fresh out of warm blankets for you guys to hide under.
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Jim Eshleman

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#159534 - 11/19/03 11:52 AM Re: Yamaha Vocaloid Singing Synthesis
rikkisbears Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/22/02
Posts: 5283
Loc: NSW,Australia
Hi ,
I'd only read press releases. Makes it look even more exciting than I'd imagined.
Non singing hobbyists dream
Got the brain ticking already. Audio Files mp3's)on sd card playing in sync with my kn7 sequencer. wow


thanks Pro. It's got me dreaming already.

best wishes
rikki

[This message has been edited by rikkisbears (edited 11-19-2003).]

[This message has been edited by rikkisbears (edited 11-19-2003).]
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best wishes
Rikki

SX900, P121 Piano, Band in a Box 2019
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#159535 - 11/19/03 12:32 PM Re: Yamaha Vocaloid Singing Synthesis
Bluezplayer Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 11/10/00
Posts: 2195
Loc: Catskill Mountains, NY
I understand and share some of the sentiment expressed by Donny, Terry, and Gary. It's how I feel when I hear an arranger pattern playing an organ or synth section part. Unfortunately, how I think or feel about it isn't going to change it, so my choice will be to embrace it as much as I can.

In the purest sense, we as arranger players, including those of us who might use arrangers to perform as solo acts, have used technology in a similar way to simulate the existence of a real band to play with us ( for myself , while it's not something I do for a living, I have done it... ). Should we also decide not to use arrangers because the rythyms they produce are artifical ( they are guys and gals.. ) ? Suppose my goal is to showcase my keyboard playing and or songwriting skills and the singer is there to accompany me ? How is this that much different ? I can't play the drums at the same time I'm playing the "C3" ( another simulation ) right ? Am I fooling anyone if I use my hands and keys to produce a sax solo ?

Nope, I'm gonna embrace the technologhy as far as it can go, 'cause like it or not, it's coming and I can't stop it. My voice works ok for blues and some other stuff. I can't really write my own stuff that includes tenor ballad vocals.. not at least if I'm gonna sing it. This technology may not ever change that, but I gotta admit, the thought of the potential for it does interest me. Thanks for the info Jim.

AJ

[This message has been edited by Bluezplayer (edited 11-19-2003).]
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#159536 - 11/19/03 02:00 PM Re: Yamaha Vocaloid Singing Synthesis
travlin'easy Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/08/02
Posts: 14553
Loc: Forest Hill, MD USA
"...into a podium for the techophobic among us." First you have to spell "Technophobic" correctly. As for members of this forum being "technophobic," well I seriously doubt it, and anyone that believes they are obviously has run across those who decry advances in technology. Everyone here uses the most advanced technology they can find that will still allow them to be performing musicians. For those who do not, or for some reason, cannot sing, this little gem may be just another tool in their arsenal of tools to enhance their performances. For those that can and do sing, this is something that may put a less vocally tallented individual in the back door or the gig you're currently enjoying.

Think about it!

Gary
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PSR-S950, TC Helicon Harmony-M, Digitech VR, Samson Q7, Sennheiser E855, Custom Console, and lots of other silly stuff!

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#159537 - 11/19/03 03:03 PM Re: Yamaha Vocaloid Singing Synthesis
Bluezplayer Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 11/10/00
Posts: 2195
Loc: Catskill Mountains, NY
I don't necessarily disagree Gary, but there's two ways to look at that back door thing. Arrangers could also allow less technically skilled keyboard players into the back door too couldn;t they ? Let's be honest here. I'm sure there are some among us who could perform solo on a keyboard / organ / piano and still entertain and maybe dazzle too. Does that include everyone who is using an arranger keyboard to entertain though ? I doubt it.

I applaud those of you who have great voices that can work well for so many different things. As I said before, I wouldn't want to hear me doing a soft tenor ballad. I wouldn't want to hear Stevie Ray Vaughan or James Dewar of the old Robin Trower band doing it either. Doesn't make them bad singers though does it ? I'd love to be able to sing like like Michael McDonald just once, but that isn't happening. On the other hand, can everyone who plays an arranger say that they can play every instrument that their arranger is trying to emulate ? Doesn't it work both ways, or is it ok to fake a guitar solo but not a voice ? What's the real answer and who's to say where that line is drawn ?

I have heard an admission or two here that there are those amongst us that aren't necessarily top skilled keyboard players too. I know for me, I'll put my keyboard skills out there anytime, and maybe I won't always be the best player, but.. I bet I don't embarrass myself very often either, and I certainly have enough skills to work without an arranger. The point is, lesser players could be taking jobs from me too if I look at it in that light. I see them now out there in bands, and in solo or duet acts. I'm glad I don't look at it that way though, mainly because I play for me at this point in my life, and to see what I can create. Maybe if I was still trying to do it for a living, I would think differently, and maybe I'd even become anti arranger altogether, realizing that some of the venues that once hosted real bands don't anymore. I'd like to think instead though that I can accept the technology for what it is and adapt to it. It's great to be able to play along with my own personal band anytime to work on my skills or create a song. Much of this was not possible when I started playing. I embrace it.

I can now hold my own on a drum set too if it doesn't get too complex ( ie jazz / jazz fusion ). Now put a sax in my hands, and Boo ( and anyone else that had to listen to it ) would probably be sick. Terry would probably wince at hearing me play his guitar. Still, I can fake a fair emulation of one on a keyboard. It won't fool anyone who has a trained ear and knows what a real sax or guitar is supposed to sound like, but.. the notes will be there in the right places and it'll sound pretty good, at least good enough for entertainment work.. provided of course, I have the other equally important skills needed to actually entertain someone. All I'm saying is that I think all of this works both ways, doesn't it ?

AJ



[This message has been edited by Bluezplayer (edited 11-19-2003).]
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#159538 - 11/19/03 03:57 PM Re: Yamaha Vocaloid Singing Synthesis
Tony W Offline
Member

Registered: 12/04/99
Posts: 836
Loc: Lancaster UK
I quite like this idea!
Ok I know it is not 'real' but like others have said in this thread how often do we get that thrown at us with the technology we utilise now?

After listening to the demo I don't see this as much different to a high end vocal harmoniser. Why does everyone (well nearly) want a T C Helicon Harmoniser as opposed to the old Digitech VHM-5 unit? Because The new voice prism sounds less robotic and false than the old digitech unit that's why. Why do we by Tyros or KN7000 or SD1 as opposed to casio or bontempi 99 units? ...Because we want our sounds to sound as close to the real thing as possible. If a keyboard offered Scat or Choral voices as good as this we would all be rushing out to buy it.

When we use harmonisers everyone in the audience know that there is some technical wizardry going on somewhere because three good looking gals and a guy dont jump out the curtain at the back to accompany us. So really this is just the next step. You buy the prog ....do the programming and hope it gives you the edge.

In five years I bet we will all be utilising this technology and think as much about it as we do now about buying a new harmoniser. Why Yamaha could incorporate this into future boards and Technics will be relying on wonderful organ voices instead (Sorry Grandpa Doug ) Actually I played a KN7000 properly yesterday and have to say I could easily love that board!!
Very best to all
Tony

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www.tonywmusic.co.uk

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#159539 - 11/19/03 05:26 PM Re: Yamaha Vocaloid Singing Synthesis
trtjazz Offline
Member

Registered: 08/01/02
Posts: 2683
I once again concur with Aj on many of his points as I have said in the past all electronic keyboards are all just smoke and mirrors, parlour tricks. The vocaloid is yet another trick to add to the bag of available tools.

For my own comments I was referring to those that play nothing but their computer to make music. While there may be a place for it, I can not stretch the definition far enough to call them musicians in my mind.

Tony I think that it differs from a vocal harmonizer in that one has to at least play a chord to get it to harmonize. With this toy one doesn't.

I do marvel at the technology and embrace what I can live with and discard what I can't, to fit my way of working and standards I set for myself, not those that others would like to set for me.
Terry

------------------
jam on,
Terry http://imjazzed.homestead.com/Index.html
_________________________
jam on,
Terry
http://www.artisans-world.com/

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#159540 - 11/19/03 05:27 PM Re: Yamaha Vocaloid Singing Synthesis
travlin'easy Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/08/02
Posts: 14553
Loc: Forest Hill, MD USA
I gues the way I look at a keyboard is the same way I looked at a guitar when I was a 17-year-old kid in the U.S. Navy--it was a great tool to make me a better entertainer. I'm a lousy keyboard player, and I cannot read music worth a damned, but when I step in front of a crowd they tell me I'm a damned good entertainer and singer. Over the years I progressed from an acoustic guitar to an electric (several), then back to a 12-string acoustic, which I still play once in a while, then went through a dozen or so keyboards and a couple drum machines. Each of these made me a better entertainer. I do the singing--not a machine, and I can still do a pretty good job with the vocals without using vocal enhancement devices. I guess the bottom line is I'm not a musician--I'm an entertainer, and that's what audiences pay me to do.

One interesting footnote to all this is I ran across a friend who has a karaoke business, and while he's booked fairly good, he tells me that the number of individuals that stand in front of an audience, at least those that are sober at the time, seems to be dropping off dramatically. Most of the time, he's up there singing until the crowd gets plastered out of their minds, then the drunks get up and make fools out of themselves.

Think I pour myself a tall glass of Kickapoo Joy Juice over ice!

Gary
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PSR-S950, TC Helicon Harmony-M, Digitech VR, Samson Q7, Sennheiser E855, Custom Console, and lots of other silly stuff!

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#159541 - 11/19/03 06:28 PM Re: Yamaha Vocaloid Singing Synthesis
The Pro Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/09/02
Posts: 1087
Loc: Atlanta, Georgia
Hmmm... very interesting. I think I understand more of the feelings here about some of this. I would consider myself more of a musician than an entertainer - playing keyboards is more than my occupation, it's my preoccupation. Whatever technology offers I'm there, and not because I enjoy gadgetry as much as I enjoy the satisfaction of making it work and creating incredible music. Being an entertainer isn't something I do as well I confess, so I compensate by aiming for the kind of audience that would appreciate my art as opposed to performing in a way that would appeal to the most people. Most people do enjoy my music anyway fortunately, and I try to be who am I rather than someone I'm not and hope for the best.

I look upon the Vocaloids as giving me another avenue to explore my skills at sequencing and MIDI with, plus composition, arranging, harmony and more. If I can demo songs easier, so much the better. If I can produce commercial music and jingles with this stuff then it pays for itself the first time it's used. I'm there. I have no beef with anyone who differs but I'm sure that if I don't make the most of the technology at hand then someone else will.

Here's some more demos, some with the Vocaloids in the lead:
http://www.soundonsound.com/soundbank/YamahaVocaloid.php
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Jim Eshleman

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#159542 - 11/19/03 07:28 PM Re: Yamaha Vocaloid Singing Synthesis
Bluezplayer Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 11/10/00
Posts: 2195
Loc: Catskill Mountains, NY
Good answers all Jim, Tony, Gary and Terry. I enjoyed reading them.

I think I'm more like Jim in my approach to all of this, but we're really not all that different either Gary, in spite of the approach and our methods. Really, the biggest difference is that it's a casual thing for me. I have a different job. After that, I just look to do the occasional venue that will allow me to feature what I think are my strengths. For me that's playing the instrument itself.

Like you, I like to get the positive feedback too, but when I do, mainly it's for the pieces I play, sometimes solo without the arranger parts, or what the audience can see and feel me play while the arranger is going ( they can tell.. most of them anyway ) or maybe if I can jump in with a band on occasion.

I haven't seen you play and for all I know you could be a great keyboard player, but from what you say here, it appears that the focus for you goes toward your vocals and entertaining skills, and that the instruments are tools that help get you there. Nothing wrong with that at all. If vocals were my strongest feature, I'd probably choose to feature them too, no matter what level of player I was. Instead, I'll take the harmonizers and any other tool that enhances them, and feature what I do best.

When I play live though, I'm not thinking in terms of a machine doing the actual singing for me. That's not what I'm looking for. I'd rather bring my vocalist for that if I need him. I just want a harmonizer / tool that enhances the voice I already have, for better or worse, and maybe something that I can add to my bag of tricks in the studio. In the studio if the thing sings better than me ( oh and I'm sure it does..lol ) , then I'll admit it right now.. I'd use it with no qualms. My music is still going to be about featuring my playing. I look at vocals as an occasional annoyance that is sometimes necessary to get someone to listen to my music... Ok.. that's a joke but maybe there is a hint of truth to it.

AJ

[This message has been edited by Bluezplayer (edited 11-19-2003).]
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#159543 - 11/20/03 07:42 PM Re: Yamaha Vocaloid Singing Synthesis
Vquestor Offline
Member

Registered: 12/14/00
Posts: 554
Sounds like "Harmony Assistant" on steroids.

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