Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Synthesized Singers

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the max-headroom dept.

Music 383

ctwxman writes "Over the past few decades, advances in computer hardware and software have eliminated many jobs... some technical, some menial, but none artistic. As an on-camera performer in television, I've always was believed that I was 'bulletproof' as far as replacement through technology was concerned. Not so fast. Recently, The Sinclair television stations began using 'central casting' to bring news and weather anchors from a central location (near Baltimore) to the local outlets. Still, real people are needed, just not as many. But now, even real performers may be replaced. The New York Times (inhalation of airplane glue required) reports on a new technology which allows synthesized singers to sing. Imagine having a singer with a world-class voice at your disposal, any hour of any day. She's just standing at the ready, game to perform whatever silly song you might make up for her: a ballad about her love for you, a tribute to your best friend's golf game, a stirring rendition of the evening's dinner menu. Scary."

cancel ×

383 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

gay (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7545619)

totally gay, we're all gay

Re:gay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7545786)

i just caught my dog eating the toilet paper so I KICKED THE FUCKING SHIT OUT OF IT

Google Link (4, Informative)

Ryan Stortz (598060) | more than 10 years ago | (#7545620)

Google partner link [nytimes.com] ...and yes. I did use my subscription to get it. :P

You Failed It (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7545622)

You Failed It

Re:Google Link (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7545634)

I wanted to inhale the glue though :(

You Failed It (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7545647)

You Failed It

Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7545825)

Huh?

This isn't really NEW (4, Insightful)

Arker (91948) | more than 10 years ago | (#7545685)

It sounds like they've gone to much greater lengths on this project than any I'm aware of in the past, but the basic thing here has been out for a long time. Most any keyboard you can buy has human voices. A single sample can be spread out over your keyboard and sing any pitch you want, even glides and stuff, pretty easily. But it's generally fairly rudimentary - 'ahh' and 'ohh' or similar, you can actually do some nice sounding background vocals but not sing verses.

From the description in the article, this 'new' thing is really just an inevitable extension of that - they spend about 5 days with a singer, recording her singing many different phonemes and different effects, so that you can then piece together the words to your own song and put it to your own melody in her voice. And, for the moment, they're still aiming at producing background vocals, just more complex ones with the ability to do actual lyrics instead of a oohs and aaahs. Could be kind of cool, but it definately doesn't sound like a 'quantum leap' - just an extension of long-existing technology. I've been expecting to see someone do this for well over 10 years now, ever since I first got to play around with a digital synthesizer.

Re:Google Link (1)

Joey Patterson (547891) | more than 10 years ago | (#7545733)

inhalation of airplane glue required

I never knew that letting someone else inhale the airplane glue for me would be so informative.

Thanks a bundle.

dick (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7545621)

bill gates is a dick

So combine.... (5, Funny)

panxerox (575545) | more than 10 years ago | (#7545624)

this with the story "Decoding the Algorithm for Pop Music" and a synthetic DJ and who needs the radio anymore? Throw in a few digital actors and you can have your very own 24 hour copyright free mtv! A whole new meaning to "homebrew music" And what better way to bring down the RIAA than to replace them with software its not like its going to be any more original.

Re:So combine.... (5, Funny)

Junta (36770) | more than 10 years ago | (#7545649)

And while you are at it, put in some AIs to listen and watch the crap...

Re:So combine.... (2, Funny)

lurker412 (706164) | more than 10 years ago | (#7545767)

The only thing lacking would be some autonomous agents to post critical comments about all of the above to /.

Electric Monk (4, Funny)

Kris_J (10111) | more than 10 years ago | (#7545794)

The Electric Monk was a labour-saving device, like a dishwasher or a video recorder. Dishwashers washed tedious dishes for you, thus saving you the bother of washing them yourself, video recorders watched tedious television for you, thus saving you the bother of looking at it yourself; Electric Monks believed things for you, thus saving you what was becoming an increasingly onerous task, that of believing all the things the world expected you to believe.

Copyright free my foot (1)

yerricde (125198) | more than 10 years ago | (#7545663)

and you can have your very own 24 hour copyright free mtv!

A good music industry lawyer will probably be able to argue that any song you write, even using algorithmic composition, infringes the copyright in at least one existing top-100 hit. Details [slashdot.org]

Re:So combine.... (1)

G-funk (22712) | more than 10 years ago | (#7545820)

"Looks like those clowns in congress did it again. What a bunch of clowns!"

well that explains it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7545635)

I knew Britney Spears' voice couldn't be real!

Same goes for her boobs.

Re:well that explains it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7545674)

I knew Britney Spears' voice couldn't be real!

Who cares... if I was with her she would be unable to produce sound with her mouthful anyway :-)

Johnny Cab (1)

t0ny (590331) | more than 10 years ago | (#7545775)

I cant wait until cab drivers are replaced. Im tired of getting cut off in rush hour traffic...

Coming soon to Kmart ...JACKSON in a box !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7545637)

Well the rest of him is synthesized already ;-)

Re:Coming soon to Kmart ...JACKSON in a box !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7545686)

Coming soon to JACKSON... *big* uncle Jon !

Re:Coming soon to Kmart ...JACKSON in a box !! (0)

webtre (717698) | more than 10 years ago | (#7545700)

comes with wine and sleeping pills (refills not availible yet)

5 4 3 2 1 slashdot (-1, Redundant)

webtre (717698) | more than 10 years ago | (#7545638)

Could I Get That Song in Elvis, Please? By BILL WERDE Published: November 23, 2003 [I] magine having a singer with a world-class voice at your disposal, any hour of any day. She's just standing at the ready, game to perform whatever silly song you might make up for her: a ballad about her love for you, a tribute to your best friend's golf game, a stirring rendition of the evening's dinner menu. Advertisement Close friends of Madonna or Mariah may already have had that pleasure, but for everyone else a new technology called Vocaloid may offer the next best thing. Developed at Pompeu Fabra University in Spain and financed by the Yamaha Corporation, the software, which is due to be released to consumers in January, allows users to cast their own (or anyone else's) songs in a disembodied but exceedingly life-like concert-quality voice. Just as a synthesizer might be programmed to play a series of notes like a violin one time and then like a tuba the next, a computer equipped with Vocaloid will be able to "sing" whatever combination of notes and words a user feeds it. The first generation of the software will be available for $200. But its arrival raises the prospect of a time when anyone with a laptop will be able to repurpose any singer's voice or even bring long-gone virtuosos back to life. In an era when our most popular singers are marketed in every conceivable way ? dolls, T-shirts, notebooks, make-up lines ? the voice may become one more extension of a pop-star brand. The human voice has proven the most difficult of all sounds to synthesize. Digital technology can produce something clear enough to convey meaning, but only in a clipped monotone that sounds more like a robot than a real live person. A convincing human voice, spoken or sung, with all its complex, flowing articulations and quivering uncertainties has been unattainable. Yamaha has not yet made Vocaloid available for scrutiny, but judging by some early samples and demonstrations, the company seem to have made that quantum leap. You can think of the software as a kind of audio font: musical notation and lyrics can be translated into the chosen voice, then saved for replay, just as a word processor might translate a text into Helvetica or Times New Roman and print it out as many times as you like. These fonts are made up of a database of phonemes, the basic sounds that make up any language. To create the database, technicians record a singer performing as many as 60 pages of scripted articulations (like "epp, pep, lep"). Assorted pitches and techniques like glissandos and legatos are also thrown in the mix; with all the combinations, the process takes a week of five-hour singing days. The resultant font is "reminiscent" of the singer's voice, says Ed Stratton, the managing director of Zero-G Limited, a London-based company that has licensed the Vocaloid technology. Zero-G is using Vocaloid to create the first of these fonts: Leon, described as a "Virtual Soul Vocalist," and Lola, his female counterpart. The digitized duo will make their debut in January at the International Music Products Association conference in Anaheim, Calif. The technology first attracted attention in March at Musikmesse, an annual music technology conference in Germany. Paul White, the editor of the British audio gear magazine Sound on Sound, was there for the demonstration. "A few simple tools were used to adjust inflection, tone, vibrato and so on," wrote Mr. White. "Within minutes, the computer was singing like a professional!" A Vocaloid version of the song "Amazing Grace" ? recorded with prototype technology, yet still more human sounding than any previous vocal synthesis ? was released on Yamaha's Web site shortly after the conference. Quickly, that sample drew links from sites in the Netherlands, Germany, France, Japan, Russia and the United States, setting Internet message boards and chat rooms buzzing. In the case of Leon and Lola, session singers were hired to record what Mr. Stratton calls "generic soul-singing voices." The decision to start with soul was purely a marketing calculation: Mr. Stratton figured that the most common use of Vocaloid, at least in its early stages, would be to serve as background singers. With a soulful sound, the company could target a commercial market that ranges from Justin Timberlake to Jay-Z. (Page 2 of 3) But Mr. Stratton has many more plans. Soon, he said: "You'll buy new fonts and then any song you write, you can hear it sung a number of ways. You might hear what it sounds like sung by a soul singer, and then an operatic voice or a choir boy." Hit music producers like Dan (The Automator) Takemura (a creator of the Gorillaz, a band that appeared only in an animated form, but sold several million albums anyway) and the Matrix (the trio of Scott Spock, Graham Edwards and his wife, Lauren Christy, that produced the three No. 1 hits from Avril Lavigne's last album) say they are likely at least to try recording with Vocaloid instead of backup singers. "As producers, you run into some artists and oh god, it's so hard to get the right vocal," Mr. Spock said. "It's intriguing, this idea of `O.K., just give me all your vowels and all your consonants and I'll see you later.' " Advertisement Mr. Takemura says he would want to use the software to create sounds that human voices could not. "The first producers to work with this are probably going to have a hit just based on the novelty factor," he said. But, he warns, "it's the imperfections in a voice, the happy accidents, the human-ness that are often what's best in a song." The market for synthesized voices extends well beyond recorded music. For example, cell phone ring tones ? a rapidly expanding field ? already use synthesized voices to personalize incoming calls. The DA Group, a Scottish company, uses patented technologies to animate several popular virtual stars, including Ananova, the British newscaster who exists solely online as a lifelike, digital countenance, and Maddy, the bank teller avatar who is being tested on ATM's in several markets around the United States. After listening to some Vocaloid samples online, Mike Antliff, the company's chief executive, said, "I'm going to have my research team look into this as soon as I get off the phone." Vocaloid's next application will be Miriam, a third font that Zero-G expects to release later in 2004. (A Japanese company, Crypton, expects to release its own font ? "Japanese Pops," a bubbly female voice ? in March.) Miriam is based on recordings of Miriam Stockley, a singer for the new age group Adiemus, which has worldwide album sales in excess of several million. "At first I was quiet horrified by the idea," Ms. Stockley said. "People tend to pay a lot of money to get my sound, and here I am putting it on a font." She changed her mind, she said, because "you can't fight progress, no matter how strange it sounds." She also negotiated an undisclosed percentage for each copy of Miriam that sells. But once Miriam the vocal font is out there in the public, Ms. Stockley the actual singer has little control of how it will be used. Anyone who legally purchases the font is entitled to use it to write songs for commercial purposes, though they're not allowed to market them as Ms. Stockley's own recordings. Mr. Stratton reiterated the point, "when vocal fonts are used, the performer is the user and Vocaloid is an instrument." In the long term, Mr. Stratton is aware that the true killer application will be recognizable celebrity fonts ? the Elton, say, or the Aretha. But so far, none of the world's most famous voices have volunteered. Michael Stipe of R.E.M. heard a Vocaloid version of "Amazing Grace" online, and he said he was impressed. (The Yamaha Corporation includes samples with a recent press release at www.global.yamaha.com/news/20030304b.html .) But he wasn't prepared to rush out and have a font created. "I would hate to think that 250 years from now Altria would use the Michael Stipe voice to sell organic soy to a Mars landing," he said. "It's intriguing in 2003. I'm not sure about 2303." If Napster and other online file-trading programs have taught the world anything, it's that once a technological cat is out of the bag, it can be difficult to control. What's to stop dilettantes from creating their own fonts? Could it be long before falsified but entirely convincing clips of Britney Spears begging for Justin's forgiveness circulate on the Web ? to say nothing of George Bush conspiring with Tony Blair about weapons of mass destruction? "It is a matter of time before Yamaha makes this technology available for consumers to make their own fonts," Mr. Stratton said. But at present, the process, which requires a deep knowledge of phonetics and audio engineering, is too complex for ordinary consumers. Even if an ingenious audiophile were to untangle the process, however, he would still need a database of thousands of articulations ? more than someone would be likely to cobble together from available recordings. As for famous voices now lost to time, if they left behind a substantial enough catalog, it might be possible to produce at least a portion of the required phoneme database. The rest of the required vocals could come from a sound-alike singer. Elvis seems like an obvious candidate for vocal reanimation. Recently (and for the first time), his estate licensed a couple of his songs for dance-floor remixes; one of them became a No. 1 single in England. Licensing Elvis for Vocaloid would be a different matter, though, says Gary Hovey, vice-president of entertainment for Elvis Presley Enterprises. "If someone came to us and said, `We want Elvis to sing this new song,' we'd have a lot to contemplate," he said. "We tried to retain the integrity of his original song with the remixes. Now you're talking about a whole new vocal performance of a song he never sang or knew? How do we know he'd want to sing it?" Advertisement "Believe me, that would go all the way to Lisa," he added, referring to Elvis's daughter, Lisa Marie Presley, who owns Elvis's estate. Still, there is the potential for enormous money to be made, even by Elvis standards. How much would an advertiser pay to have Elvis sing a new jingle? How easily would a new "Elvis" song climb the pop charts ? if only for the novelty value? Mr. Stratton is optimistic about the prospect. "No font comes out of the box with a singer's timing and expressions," he said. "It's just the tone of his voice and his pronunciations. The finer bits of expression ? timing, pitch bend, the sorts of things that add real character ? would have to be added by the user working with the font. It would take a great deal of effort to make it sound just like Elvis. But you could do it." Once a full palette of vocal fonts is available (or once Yamaha allows users to create their own), the possibilities become mind-boggling: a chorus of Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong and Frank Sinatra; Marilyn Manson singing show tunes and Barbra Streisand covering Iron Maiden. And how long before a band takes the stage with no human at the mike, but boasting an amazing voice, regardless? In fact, in today's world of computer-produced music, who needs humans at all? Vocaloid could be used as part of an integrated music-generating machine. Start with any number of existing programs that randomly generate music. Run those files through Hit Song Science, the software that has analyzed 3.5 million songs to determine mathematic patterns in hit music. (Major labels are already taking suggestions from it ? "Slower tempo, please, and a little more melody at the bridge.") Throw in a lyric-generating program, several of which can be found free online, and then route the notes and lyrics through Vocaloid to give the song a voice. It might not be a hit, but the process could provide inspiration for a lot of lonely songwriters. At this early stage of its development, the future life of this technology is as much fun to think about as the almost-human voices could be to play with. At the very least, Vocaloid promises to bring a whole new copyright-infringing definition to the phrase "losing one's voice." We may soon know if an unmanned computer could produce hit singles or the voice of tomorrow's virtual pop hero. Lisa Marie, any thing to say about that? And really, can we even be certain it's you? Bill Werde writes about the arts and technology.

you, sir, are a moron (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7545677)

The New York Times isn't going to get slashdotted.
Nice formatting, by the way. Sure is easy to read something when it's one long stream of text.
You suck.

Here is the demo MP3 (5, Informative)

UnderScan (470605) | more than 10 years ago | (#7545639)

From >a href="http://www.zero-g.co.uk/index.cfm?articleid= 802">http://www.zero-g.co.uk/index.cfm?articleid=8 02
LOLA Demo 1 -Little Bird (MP3) [zero-g.co.uk]
Demo 1: "Little Bird".
(NOTE - the lead vocal line on this demo is NOT by Vocaloid - it is a real singer. Please listen to the backing vocals!). This demo illustrates well how LOLA has been used to create a simple backing vocal arrangement for a personally-produced song. The song was written and performed by one of the Zero-G singing synthesis development team, Andy Power. Andy is singing the lead vocal himself, with his real voice, but he was able to add the backing vocals to his song purely by creating them all using LOLA. Although this is only a very simple example, it immediately illustrates LOLA's usefulness in an everyday situation.


Re:Here is the demo MP3 (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7545687)

There are some more samples here [vocaloid.com] too.

cheers.

Re:Here is the demo MP3 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7545752)

I wonder if there is a reason why all the generated voices are backup vocals only, that are all masked with real voices? And that the only full featured vocal song that was generated with this program was not in English? I was really hoping to be able to see what this app is capable of on its own.

Re:Here is the demo MP3 (3, Informative)

JoshRoss (88988) | more than 10 years ago | (#7545782)

Here [zero-g.co.uk] is a solo. And, yes it does sound like a vocorder.

Re:Here is the demo MP3 (1)

JoshRoss (88988) | more than 10 years ago | (#7545730)

The voices seem rather smooth. I wonder how much time was spent tweeking the Ooos? I wish that I could use this software in my IVR. I think that it is important to remember that the software voices are not yet imperfect enough to be the lead vocals. Yet beeing a key word. I could have some fun with this.

My voice is my passport, verify.

Re:Here is the demo MP3 (4, Informative)

XorNand (517466) | more than 10 years ago | (#7545751)


Forget backing vocals, here's a sample [online.fr] of "Amazing Grace" mentioned in the article. Not perfect, but quite impressive.

Typo (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7545642)

She's just standing at the READY, GAME to perform whatever silly song you might make up for her

This must be a dupe... (5, Funny)

Motherfucking Shit (636021) | more than 10 years ago | (#7545643)

The New York Times (inhalation of airplane glue required) reports on a new technology which allows synthesized singers to sing.
C'mon Slashdot, enough with the old stories already. Britney Spears has been "singing" for years now!

Scary? (2, Insightful)

FatRatBastard (7583) | more than 10 years ago | (#7545645)

She's just standing at the ready, game to perform whatever silly song you might make up for her: a ballad about her love for you, a tribute to your best friend's golf game, a stirring rendition of the evening's dinner menu. Scary.

Imagine a composer getting up in the middle of the night, going to his newfangled magical "keyboard" and whipping up an entire symphony without the need for a full orchestra..... ooooh... scary.

Man, for a bunch of geeks sometimes the /. crowd come off as downright luddites.

Re:Scary? (1)

The Only Druid (587299) | more than 10 years ago | (#7545682)

"Imagine a composer getting up in the middle of the night, going to his newfangled magical "keyboard" and whipping up an entire symphony without the need for a full orchestra..... ooooh... scary."

Thats not scary, thats dreamlike. I'm an artist by hobby (its a minor, not a full degree), and one of the largest frustrations is the variety of ways you need help for things - in my case, sculpture often requires assistance in casting objects, for example - and in music its only worse: if you're a composer, you need individual artists to play all those parts. If I were a composer, I'd be PRAYING for them to release such a toolset...

Re:Scary? (4, Insightful)

cgranade (702534) | more than 10 years ago | (#7545777)

This isn't about tech. It's about the need for human creativity and artistry being diminished. I, as a geek, like tech to the extent that it reduces the tedium and frees us to be creative. This is realizing that the very thing we love can be used to work against us. And that is the realization that is truly and deeply scary.

Re:Scary? (2, Insightful)

John Miles (108215) | more than 10 years ago | (#7545829)

It's about the need for human creativity and artistry being diminished.

Aw, c'mon. They said the same thing about player pianos.

I, as a geek, like tech to the extent that it reduces the tedium and frees us to be creative. This is realizing that the very thing we love can be used to work against us. And that is the realization that is truly and deeply scary.

This sort of artistic Luddism has no place in today's world. If you're worthy of the self-applied title "geek," you'll find ways to use this technology to create sounds and effects, maybe even entire musical genres, that were never possible or practical before.

This isn't going to put Loreena McKennitt out of business, but I could see it giving Enya the willies.

Re:Scary? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7545819)

because us geeks know much better than the average joe, what impact the technology has on society, good or bad.

personally I think this just means more dreck on the records other people buy, and it makes the music created "by hand" all that much more enjoyable.

More like a sampler than a synth (1, Informative)

zalas (682627) | more than 10 years ago | (#7545646)

From the article, it seems that it was not synthesizing the singing from scratch, but was rather using a complicated sample set to recreate the voice. What I thought they were going to do was bring to fruition physically-based synthesis of the human voice. By the way, using a sample set IMO is going to reduce the amount of expression you can get with a song, especially if one were to use a very limited set of samples. And I really hope I don't start hearing the SAME VOICE in every freaking song because of this.

Re:More like a sampler than a synth (1)

Junta (36770) | more than 10 years ago | (#7545669)

Sounds kinda like Cher's song of late.. A few samples with no range, no expression... yep.... already there.

Formant synthesis (1)

yerricde (125198) | more than 10 years ago | (#7545680)

What I thought they were going to do was bring to fruition physically-based synthesis of the human voice.

You're looking for "formant synthesis." SoftVoice text-to-speech software already does this, but its singing sounds a bit robotic. You may know SoftVoice as the voice behind "Invasion of the Gabber Robots (All Your Base Are Belong to Us)" by The Laziest Men on Mars.

the machines (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7545650)

have won.

This is not new technology... (3, Funny)

lewko (195646) | more than 10 years ago | (#7545652)

"a new technology which allows synthesized singers to sing"

I suspect Milli Vanilli, BROS, Christina, Brittney and N*sync may be suing for prior art.

Re:This is not new technology... (1, Insightful)

farrellj (563) | more than 10 years ago | (#7545814)

I would remove Christina from that list, that chic can sing! At 5 years old that chic could sing better than 90% of the people on the charts today.

I'm not a fan of her music, but credit where credit is due!

Macintosh speech synthesis (5, Funny)

Amiga Lover (708890) | more than 10 years ago | (#7545653)

The new voice with Panther (Mac OSX 10.3) is scary. Vicki can send shivers up my spine anytime. I KNOW it's only a manufactured voice, a speech synthezizer, but dammit it's a sultry one.

I'm almost considering getting a mac just to listen to her.

Re:Macintosh speech synthesis (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7545676)

I don't know what kind of 'glue' your 'sniffing' but the voice (Victoria actually) sounds like a school librarian but I guess if you think that's sexy that's you'r problem

Re:Macintosh speech synthesis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7545697)

there's Vicki and victoria, genius

Re:Macintosh speech synthesis (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7545718)

Hey dude, maybe he finds librarians sexy. You know, the one you just know would look hot if she unrolled her hair from its bun, took the plastic-rimmed glasses off, and unbuttoned the top button or two of her blouse?

Re:Macintosh speech synthesis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7545734)

by Amiga Lover (708890) on Monday November 24, @12:01AM (#7545653)
I'm almost considering getting a mac just to listen to her.

Yeah I can just her now....

"EEEEMiga ^H^H^H^H^H... MACeeee Speaking"

Re:Macintosh speech synthesis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7545750)

You have a spine?

Re:Macintosh speech synthesis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7545770)

coming from an AC? bwahaha!

Re:Macintosh speech synthesis (1)

JoshRoss (88988) | more than 10 years ago | (#7545792)

I have been trying to find samples of the new and improved TTS in OSX 1.3. Too bad apple did not decide to offer samples on their site.

Hrmm (5, Funny)

acehole (174372) | more than 10 years ago | (#7545658)

I can see the live concerts now... packed with people in the crowd, latest pryrotechnics ready to go, all the latest visual and audio gear deployed.

And in the middle of the stage, a beige computer tower with a monitor, keyboard and mouse and a technician on hand to wiggle the mouse every 10 minutes so the flying windows screensaver doesnt come on.

Re:Hrmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7545694)

Guess you've never been to a Gorillaz concert - it was just that!

total rip off.

Re:Hrmm (1)

Minna Kirai (624281) | more than 10 years ago | (#7545738)

[theroseking.net]
"And in the middle of the stage, a beige computer tower"

(That picture is a recreation from Macross Plus [imdb.com] . Although the idea of computerized [amazon.com] singers [schlockmercenary.com] is not uncommon in scifi)

Re:Hrmm (3, Funny)

quonsar (61695) | more than 10 years ago | (#7545763)

yeah, and it would be about two minutes later that some "indie" or minimalist "punk" puts on a show featuring nothing but the flying windows screen saver. hordes will flock to throw money at this breakthrough expression of genius, and among the original flying windows fans there will be bitter talk of how it "sold out to the man".

Re:Hrmm (1)

Kris_J (10111) | more than 10 years ago | (#7545823)

You almost described the concert scene in Macross Plus.

I'm personally very interested in computer generated artists. I have a CD single of each of Sharon Apple and Kyoko Date -- both sung by a human voice and generally ficticious as far as being a Virtual Idol is concerned, but none the less interesting as projects go. I also enjoy Idoru by William Gibson, in which the central character is an AI performer. Much as computer generated art has been, historically, underwhelming it is only a matter of time before it equals then surpasses human creativity. (Of course, that's a simplistic phrasing -- since a computer is made by humans, it's work is no less made by humans than a painting where the paint is applied using a brush.)

the future of music (4, Interesting)

qewl (671495) | more than 10 years ago | (#7545661)

What is really cool is when machines can do what people cannot do. The first sign of this was several decades ago when drum machines and analog synthesizers came about. The drum machines could play beats so fast and hit more instruments simulateously than a single person has limbs for and the synthesizers could create entirely new sounds. In the present, there are pitch machines which put singers' voices at a desirable pitch when singing. Hopefully next we'll have robots/machines with AI that can create their own insightful, fun, or intelligent lyrics to songs and sing them to an original beat. Popular music analyzers(just posted on /.) are already capable of predicting what tunes have potential. Music is a product of man, whether it is created through human hands or machines. You can't mentally hold yourself back to the idea real music is only a direct product of man.

Scary, or progress? (1)

Sheetrock (152993) | more than 10 years ago | (#7545666)

In a way, being able to have a synthesized singer belt out any tune you'd wish demonstrates the real value of music: zero. Kind of makes the whole P2P thing look dated, in a way.

It's ironic that the very tools the music industry uses today to guarantee pitch-perfection are tomorrow going to undermine their own success, much as people giving away software are doing in many ways for the software industry. Perhaps the only thing guaranteed is acting, as Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within demonstrated, although eventually computers may catch up with live actors as well.

But progress is inevitable. And as things that were once worth money become free, we become open to do more things. So I'm not too dismayed by the concept that computers will tomorrow handle (Handel?) music composition as easily as they handle music piracy today.

Ah (2, Funny)

Cuthalion (65550) | more than 10 years ago | (#7545668)

Imagine having a singer with a world-class voice at your disposal, any hour of any day. She's just standing at the ready,

Is her name Sharon Apple?

Re:Ah (1)

Hungus (585181) | more than 10 years ago | (#7545745)

No, you have to go back further (though still within Mikimoto Haruhiko's [anime.net] works). Think EVE [kimonocels.com] from MegaZone 23 [amazon.com] parts I,II, IIIa and IIIb

Don't forget... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7545670)

...to pay your $1499 licensing fee you cock-smoking teabaggers.

Remember, the price went up November 1st.

Copyrighting one's voice? (3, Interesting)

TheRedHorse (559375) | more than 10 years ago | (#7545672)

Serious legal issues arise when creating "voice fonts" made from singing material previously released by artists. I doubt the RIAA or the artists themselves will like this new techonlogy at all. If this technology is a success then I forsee a push by the RIAA/artists themselves to get their voices copyrighted.

As an example, Harley Davidson (the motorcycle company), tried to get it's unique motorcycle engine sound copyrighted and failed. Will this change the copyright office's stance?

Ehhhh... (1, Funny)

Faust7 (314817) | more than 10 years ago | (#7545673)

But now, even real performers may be replaced.

They already have been. Who would call Spears, Aguilera, or Milli Vanilli "real"?

a stirring rendition of the evening's dinner menu.

Sorry, but "Pasta Roni" sung is going to be underwhelming, no matter how good the voice is.

new "html" (2, Interesting)

penguinoid (724646) | more than 10 years ago | (#7545684)

The problem with computer-synthesized voice is that it will not correctly convey emotions, and (if plaintext) will not even stress the right words. And it would be a bitch to write the appropriate tags.

eg
I didn't say he did it.
I didn't say he did it.
I didn't say he did it.

Re:new "html" (0, Troll)

quonsar (61695) | more than 10 years ago | (#7545732)

nobody gives a shit what you say anyway.

listen to it here (1)

bhny (97647) | more than 10 years ago | (#7545698)

the have some samples here [soundonsound.com]

sounds synthetic to me

Re:listen to it here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7545764)

Not only does it sound synthetic, its fucking scary!

Who would do this? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7545701)

They said that they needed someone to sing 5 hours a day for a week...so that they could make him/her obsolete? In what life would you make yourself obsolete in your chosen profession for a weeks pay?!

Re:Who would do this? (1)

Minna Kirai (624281) | more than 10 years ago | (#7545797)

In what life would you make yourself obsolete in your chosen profession for a weeks pay?!

It only takes one "traitor" to spoil it for all the rest. (Ok, you'd really need singers to represent 5-20 categories). It's unlikely that ALL singers are forward-thinking enough to understand that completing this one particular job might destroy their profession.

And even if vocal performers some how come to a shared, rational decision not to submit voices to machines, how long could they hold out? On one side, the TV industry will keep raising the payment offered for the week's work. On the other side, someday a singer is going to be facing bankrupcy and eviction, and turn to the only clear payout.

I hate to shoot your ego, but... (2, Interesting)

littlerubberfeet (453565) | more than 10 years ago | (#7545703)

I write music and produce for TV series. I have never had to use a musician. Ever. My boss uses live performers occasionally for shows that might win Emmys. I use Machfive and Digital Performer 4.1. Samplers, especially the 300 dollar Machfive platform/plugin have eliminated the need for live artists in my business. Hell, I will be recording a rap (bleh) artist soon, and the only live recording will be his vocals. The rest will be sampled.

Your time is coming to an end, but I will say that synths and samplers don't match live studio musicians...yet. Vocalists are still safe, at least until Apple fixes their Speech voices.

Q: What do you call someone... (2, Funny)

wardomon (213812) | more than 10 years ago | (#7545769)

who hangs out with musicians?

A: A drummer.

ba dum dum chsst

Re:I hate to shoot your ego, but... (1)

Minna Kirai (624281) | more than 10 years ago | (#7545772)

I write music and produce for TV series. I have never had to use a musician.

The submitter is a weatherman, BTW. A career that's ripe to be surrendered to machinery. All newreading "talking heads" might be replaced with CGI within a decade, but on-air "meteorologists" will be the first to go, since the content they read is the least varying.

As far as music, though, the first big use of this specific tech will be advertising jingles. Seriously, hardly any other kind of TV production desires to have any verbal lyrics. (Unless they're playing licensed pop music)

Re:I hate to shoot your ego, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7545785)

I hate to ruin your surprise, but...

I will be recording a rap (bleh) artist soon, and the only live recording will be his vocals. The rest will be sampled.

Rap has been recorded and performed that way for nearly 20 years.

Mac Speech Voices (1)

General Sherman (614373) | more than 10 years ago | (#7545705)

Anyone who's had a mac has been able to hear synthesized singing since Mac OS 8. Gogo Cellos and Bad News

The light you see at the end of the tunnel...
is the headlamp of a fast approaching train!

I find it interesting... (2, Funny)

TheLoneDanger (611268) | more than 10 years ago | (#7545706)

I find it interesting that the first voices they've decided to use are "SOULful" voices.

Choose Life! (1)

quonsar (61695) | more than 10 years ago | (#7545714)

As an on-camera performer in television YOU'RE GEORGE MICHEAL! I KNEW IT!!!

Here are some samples (2, Informative)

AltImage (626465) | more than 10 years ago | (#7545715)

There's an English press release here on the Japaneese Yamaha site with some clips available. They're in some weird format that requires a special player. The player is Windows only and is in Japanese. Still easily installable...just click where you think 'Next' should be. Here's a direct link to the player:

Player [music-eclub.com]

The samples are very good and worth the trouble if you're interested in this. While not perfect it is better that I was expecting and I could see how it could be passable for a real person in certain situations.. Here are some direct links to the samples:

Kimi no uwasa / Male lead vocal (Japanese song) [yamaha.co.jp]
Sarasara yukigeshiki / Chorus (Japanese) [yamaha.co.jp]
Amazing Grace / English example [yamaha.co.jp]

Synthesize Politicians? (1)

tintruder (578375) | more than 10 years ago | (#7545717)

Imagine the depth of lies which could be covered up if politicians started using this technology.

Little would you know that while your local senator or rep are being televised bellowing out meaningless torrents of weasel-words on CSPAN, they may well actually be off porking an intern or on a lobbyist-paid junket.

When potentially used on one end of a "live" webcast or other broadcast, the possibility of creating "digital alabais" rears its head.

This is one mode of media where it may be necessary and desirable to use DRM techniques to mark a synthetic broadcast as synthetic.

Heck, maybe use the HDTV Broadcast flag for this purpose instad?

Re:Synthesize Politicians? (1)

Omni Magnus (645067) | more than 10 years ago | (#7545755)

WTF are you talking about. They can just record the speech in advance and then play it back "live". Lay off the pot.

zerg (0)

Lord Omlette (124579) | more than 10 years ago | (#7545724)

I believe I speak for all the Republicans visiting this site when I say, "Get a job, hippie!"

Endless Listening (4, Interesting)

trippinonbsd (689462) | more than 10 years ago | (#7545726)

Combine these synthetic vocals with some randomized instrumentals and pipe it into your 'hitablity` algorith (covered here [slashdot.org] and here [slashdot.org] ) and generate endless pop music!

Re:Endless Listening (2, Funny)

brahmsnotbombs (661527) | more than 10 years ago | (#7545818)

Isn't this just Britney Spears?

Techno (1)

frankjr (591955) | more than 10 years ago | (#7545729)

Very soon this is going to replace all the chipmunk vocals.

Listen for yourself (1)

|bazop| (77229) | more than 10 years ago | (#7545739)

Hear [yamaha.co.jp] a sample of 'Amazing Grace' sung through the Vodaloid.

--J.

Re:Listen for yourself (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7545754)

wtf is an mrl file

Re:Listen for yourself (1)

|bazop| (77229) | more than 10 years ago | (#7545807)

wtf is an mrl file

Midradio Player [music-eclub.com] (Japanese) will play it.

--J.

Re:Listen for yourself.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7545771)

Hear a sample of 'Amazing Grace' sung through the Vodaloid.

And here is a sample of 'Daisy Daisy [moviesounds.com] ' being sung through the Vodaloid...

"Daisy....Daisy.....Give me your answer due.....I'm half-crazy....all for the love of you...."

Soundtrack for my life (2, Interesting)

DanThe1Man (46872) | more than 10 years ago | (#7545740)

I want a soundtrack for my life. Like when something goes good, there would be a choir of "hallelujah". So far I only have this site [albinoblacksheep.com] for when I mess up.

Re:Soundtrack for my life (1)

zalas (682627) | more than 10 years ago | (#7545824)

That reminds me of that Family Guy episode, when he gets a theme tune attributed to him :)

Just What I Want (1)

limekiller4 (451497) | more than 10 years ago | (#7545741)

I realize I'm not really adding to the discussion here but I've recently gotten into making techno (Cool Edit Pro 2 and Reason are excellent) and being a huge fan of Tracy Thorne-esque voices on techno tracks, I was just wondering the other day why I'd never heard of such a tool.

So ...this is excellent. $200 and soon.

Someone's gotta say this... (1)

wardomon (213812) | more than 10 years ago | (#7545748)

I welcome our new Robotic Vocal Overlords.

All I want... (1)

_Sexy_Pants_ (703751) | more than 10 years ago | (#7545749)

...Is the ability to magically summon that sound effect from reading rainbow right after the kids say what they think of the book.

nytimes registration not bad, but.. (3, Funny)

theycallmeB (606963) | more than 10 years ago | (#7545766)

Having been in a research enviroment where exposure/inhalation of airplane glue fumes (we were gluing up parts that were installed and flown on a real airplane (OK, it was tilt-rotor, and those are not real airplanes, but-still) so it counts as airplane glue), I can attest that attempting to sign into the NyTimes website can be greatly hampered by inhalation of airplane glue. Further, when some of those glue-tubes say 'use in a well ventilated area' they mean outdoors in a hurricane.

Now excuse me while I go try find where my brain cells went.

synthisized niggers (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7545776)

synthisized niggers

pfft (1)

ShadowRage (678728) | more than 10 years ago | (#7545795)

at least we'll be hearing talent again.

This is a science fiction novel... (2, Informative)

farrellj (563) | more than 10 years ago | (#7545798)

I recommend everyone pick up a copy of "Little Heros" By Norman Spinrad...it is to the music industry today what "The Shockwave Rider" by John Brunner is to Hacking. Highly, Highly recommended, esp in light of this story about the potential of artificial performers...

ttyl
Farrell

Samples (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7545800)

http://www.global.yamaha.com/news/20030304b.html

at the bottom of this page. You need some kind of back-assward player to hear them, though.

Finally! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7545810)

We can replace Britney Spears musical endeavors with a small shell script. Then she'll be able to fully devote herself to just looking hot.

Virtual Singer (1)

dcuny (613699) | more than 10 years ago | (#7545816)

Virtual Singer [myriad-online.com] has been out for some time, and it allows you to generate synthetically sung vocals, like this bland rendition of "Strangers in the Night." [myriad-online.com]

Fun toy.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>