Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Live from the Uncanny Valley

(Thanks to loyal reader Brett for this one.) There are a bunch of YouTube videos of the Vocaloid software singing Bach arias and chorales, but this duet from BWV 78 works much better than, say, the opening chorus of the St. Matthew Passion. The "choral" effect blunts the creepiness of Hatsune Miku's weird diction by making it sound sort of endearingly cheesy, a la Wendy Carlos's "Ode to Joy"—whereas these twins' goopy melismas are just real enough to be super disturbing. According to Wikipedia:

The series is intended for professional musicians as well as light computer music users. The programmed vocals are designed to sound like an idol singer from the future. According to Crypton, because professional singers refused to provide singing data, in fear that the software might create their singing voice's clones, Crypton changed their focus from imitating certain singers to creating characteristic vocals.
Understandable. (An idol singer! From the future! Awesome.) But this means that the technology is not here quite yet which would allow me to generate a synthetic battalion of Elisabeths Schwarzkopf...? Hey, let's work on that, Yamaha, shall we?


Marcus said...

Creepy.......yes, creepy is the best word to use.

IB said...
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bachsoc alum said...

best ever. completely made my day. perfect metaphor for how bizarre this day in general has been.

Marcus said...

How 'American Idol' Uses (and abuses) Melisma, NPR, January 11, 2007