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Could Vocaloid virtual singers steal the spotlight from pop stars?

By Damir Beciri
11 Comments13 November 2010

vocaloid-megurine-lukaMost of the today’s popular music artists use technology to add effects or adjust their singing in order to make it more interesting to new generations of listeners. A program called Vocaloid can synthesize singing of male or female voices which have been used for choruses and it has been around since 2004. One of the voices named Miku Hatsune is created by Crypton Future Media, and it is a virtual singing avatar that can be programmed  to sing any song you create.

And here comes the twist – Hatsune and her virtual colleagues have performed on sold-out concerts on limited tours in Japan. By combining 3D modeling with clear projection screen and 2 projectors behind it, Crypton Future Media software and live performance of musicians which accompany the virtual singer, they managed to create an illusion that virtual characters are performing on stage.

vocaloid-2-screenshot

The technology for Crypton’s Hatsune Miku program comes from Yamaha’s Vocaloid software which provides the means to create a realistic synthesized singing voice. The software allows users to compose music and connect it to vocals note by note. As in humans, different characters have different voice colors and vocal range in which their voice gives a more natural performance.


Aside Miku, who was modeled after a 16 year old girl, other performers on the concert were Len and Rin Kagamine, who represent a 14 year old boy and a girl, and bilingual (English and Japanese) Luka Megurine, who represents a 20 year old woman with a more adult singing voice and figure. Yamaha doesn’t directly market the software itself, instead relying on licensed developers like Crypton (in Japan) and Zero-G (in the UK) to sell various products based on the technology.

You can share the songs you create via sites like Piapro (site available in Japanese language). Writing music for virtual avatars has become so popular that Crypton has established a music label, KarenT, and you can see many of the associated music videos for these songs on KarenT YouTube channel.

Although the projection (which was referred as a ‘hologram’ by some) isn’t that impressive and it is a bit pixelated when it is watched from a closer range, there is no doubt that more impressive visual shows could be arranged with the advancement of technology. Even the vocal programs are becoming more advanced with larger banks of sounds that offer more natural performance, including better pronunciation and even breathing.

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11 Comments — Leave your response!

  • Miku fan
     

    Yes they will!

    GOGO Hatsune Miku!

  • kagamien forever
     

    they already have. its the ‘breathe’ effect.
    and they forgot len.

  • Damir Beciri
     author

    Actually, Len sings in the 2nd video with Rin.

  • Vocaloids
     

    The idea is very interesting. There are many benefits to a digital voice/singer. You don’t have to pay them, don’t have to protect them, they’ll never grow too old, get sick, or say no to a concert, since they are totally computerized. This technology is amazing, and it will be interesting to see if it is incorporated in anything other than concerts in the future.

  • brettstaylor
     

    One day a vocaloid singer will sing at the SuperBowl, maybe LX ???
    I’m ready. I want to see a vocaloid concert, Hatsuni Miku most of all…
    I am 57 years old and I love it!

  • Kwanza
     

    i wish i saw one one day!! They’re amazing!

    There go my girls Hatsune Miku and Megurine Luka!!!!(;

  • Bak nam lee
     

    they put a picture of megurine luka up at the top instead of Hatsune Miku which they reference in that chapter. it is a facepalm moment (sigh)

  • Damir Beciri
     author

    If you clicked or hovered the image, you could see that we mentioned Luka Megurine in the description. The title mentions vocaloids, not Miku :)

  • VOCALOID
     

    Luka is my all time favorite Vocaloid. GO LUKA!!!!!!!! Hopefully Luka will overtake Miku’s spotlight and become more popular, she’s way better than her! I’m not trying to be mean, but I totally like her a lot more! She’s so pretty.!

  • ken
     

    It’s too bad you didn’t have a video of Luka singing. Her voice is even more beautiful than her looks.

  • Damir Beciri
     author

    We had that video because the song is catchy and it shows her bilingual ability, but it keeps on getting deleted. I just added it back into the article. :)

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