Friday, September 28, 2012

A Vocal Argument on the Vocaloids

Keeping with the music theme, please guess which music video uses a human voice (or if both do, or neither)

If you say: none, you are partially right. If you say both, you are also partially right.

Now that your brain is twisted into Twizzlers at the paradox let me explain:  All of these songs were sung by Vocaloids – a synthesizer program. According to "By entering in a melody and the lyrics of a song, the program is able to then sing the song for you using a synthetic voice." They all have phonetic banks courtesy of human voice providers, but the machine puts the sounds together so that the synthesizer seems to be singer. What’s also interesting about the Vocaloids are their “mascots”, human images that represent the synthesizer in media and promotion projects. The second song, “Upper Ground”, is attributed to the Vocaloid “Mew”. Mew's voice provider is Miu Sakamoto the drawing below is the mascot for her program.

I’ve mentioned the Vocaloids before because they are “virtual celebrities” in a sense. Hatsune Miku for one usually has numerous concerts like any other musical performer such as Katy Perry and Adele. 

Think about it. A synthesizer competes with and is compared to humans. If some people complain about artists using auto – tune to fix their voices then what would they say about idol singers that are merely tuned voice from a machine? On the surface it seems unfair to judge them on the same level because human performers get sick, lose their voices, have pitch problems and Vocaloids don’t have to worry about any of these.

But that’s merely on the surface. If anything the Vocaloids get as much gripes as their flesh and blood counterparts. Even machines aren't perfect enough for humans to find nothing to pick at. For instance, Vocaloid Lily (the synthesizer program uses the mascot above), who can be tuned to sound practically anyway “she” wants, will still get:

  •  complains about her outfits ( “…[KEI] sorta doom her to be just a body, not much of a character. I live for beauty, but this is just a little bit too slutty.” –Higurashi on zerochan ),

If you replace her name with Lady Gaga or Nicki Minaj, critiques on "slutiness" and "copying" are eerie similar.

So it the case of these man - made artists, an old quote comes to mind: “The more things change the more things stay the same.”

*The first video is "Dream Tunnel" by the Internet Co. Vocaloid Gachapoid
*Mew's design is by Ryuji Otani
*Lily's design is by KEI who also designed other Vocaloids like Luka Megurine and Miku Hastune

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