Buy A Vocaloid Online
Have you ever had trouble getting a really good singer to sing your songs? Maybe she's a diva, and your personalities clash. Maybe he's just impossible to work with. Maybe your song is great, but your social skills aren't up to speed. Or maybe you can't afford to pay for the services of a professional singer. Have no fear! Yamaha Vocaloid is here!
Yamaha Corporation came out with its first Vocaloid in 2004. A Vocaloid is a music synthesizing computer program that produces vocals when the music and lyrics are input through the computer keyboard. The first Vocaloids were Japanese language only, but now there are English versions as well. Vocaloids use the latest technology to blend speech synthesis with artificial music. The Vocaloid program creates the correct pitches and overlays them with a phonemic level of articulation. It's really quite amazing!
Vocaloid Miku singing "Lilium"
Male and Female Vocaloids
Vocaloids can have either feminine or masucline vocal characteristics, and a choice of a Japanese accent or an English language pronunciation. The most popular Japanese feminine sounding vocaloid is called Hatsune Miku. Her male counterpart is named Megurine Luka.
Male Vocaloid Megurine Luka sings "Just Be Friends"
The tutorial below, which has to be watched in Youtube, shows you how to build a short vocal phrase for your Vocaloid. When you launch the application, an empty page for your vocals will appear. You get to choose the time signature and to control the beat setting. Then, you enter the notes one by one. You can use a virtual pencil to select each note according to the piano key it corresponds to in the visual display. Enter one note per syllable. Then enter the lyrics, and transform them, with a simple click, from the standard orthography of the language you used to a phonemic rendition. If you don't like the automatic phonemic version of any syllable, you can touch it up manually until you are satisfied with the pronunciation.
Vocaloid Tutorial Number 1
You can play back one musical phrase at a time, and you can change individual phonemes to make the pronunciation sound more realistic, or to make it conform to a particular dialectal variant.
Vocaloid Tutorial 2
In order to make musical stylistic changes to the phrase, you can decide to set the duration of each note manually (the program calls it the velocity of the note), and you can add vibrato or other specific effects such as legato.
Vocaloid Tutorial 3
Crescendo and Pitch Bend
You can also add a crescendo effect, and you can make selections concerning the pitch contours of each individual note. Not only have you set what note is to be sung for which syllable, you get to add "pitch bend", to indicate whether the note goes up or down any during its entire temporal duration. All of these little touches make the difference between something that sounds like a robot singing, and an emulation of a human singer.
Vocaloid Tutorial 4
Noise, Resonance and Gender Factor
There are other aspects of the vocal quality that can be set using the control track. They include clarity of sound, noise, resonance and something rather mysterious called "Gender Factor".
Vocaloid Tutorial 5
As Many as 16 Different Vocal Tracks
Each track is monophonic, but you can create as many as sixteen different tracks for the same vocal sequence. This opens up an opportunity for choral singing. If you decide to make a chorus, it is important to give individual vocal characteristics to each singer so they will not sound like identical copies of the same singer. You can even change the pitches in the sequence to create harmony.
Vocaloid Tutorial 6
Replacing Live Singers or Just Creating Demos for Live Singers
If you have mastered the process of creating Vocaloid singing, this means that you do not need to hire a talented human singer in order to distribute a passable demo of your song. Will Vocaloids entirely replace live singers? That seems unlikely. But there are a number of situations when having the Vocaloid option will serve as a real advantage. Perhaps the human singer you are dealing with is not a good sight reader. A Vocaloid demo will help him to learn the song. Or maybe you have an excellent musical composition that is theoretically singable, but you don't know anybody with that kind of range. Distribute your Vocaloid demo far and wide, and the right singer for the song may eventually surface. In Japan, there are pop groups who specialize in performing to Vocaloid renditions.
Vocaloids aren't all you need, but they are a nice tool to have in your musical and anime arsenal. If you want to produce an animated musical, there is no better place to start.
(c) 2010 Aya Katz
Vocaloid Ann Sings Scarborough Fair
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