Vocaloid: A new way to create music
It seems simple, yet a common complaint for pop stars is the heavy auto tuning on their voices makes them sound like robots. Well, what if it went the opposite way? What if you were able to tune a robot to make singing sound more human?
Well, that’s what Vocaloid is.
Created in Japan, Vocaloid is a virtual singing synthesizer. This allows the user to create a song using a synthesized voice, making the Vocaloid a bit like an instrument. Put simply, singing robots. It takes a little bit of skill and practice, but the software is easy for anyone to use.
While Vocaloid wasn’t originally intended to be a commercial project, Vocaloid soon took over, and now it’s basically up for common use by anyone who can afford to pay for the product. Each Vocaloid has their own name and are considered virtual idols. There are thousands of different Vocaloids, each with their own voices, but some of the most well known Vocaloids are Hatsune Miku, Kagamine Rin and Len, Gumi, Luka Megurine, Kaito Shinon, and Mekio Sakine.
Vocaloid is found pretty much everywhere in music. A number of iconic songs have been created with the program, including hits like “Tell Your World”, “Ghost Rule”, “Electric Angel”, and about a million more. Some songs have a rock and roll vibe such as “Roki”, others have a deep story with classical music such as the “Story of Evil” songs, others are more pop based such as “Dreaming ChuChu”. There is a song for everyone because there are so many different producers that insert their own styles into every song.
Vocaloid has also been known to have live shows, utilizing holograms to bring the virtual beings to life such as Miku Expo. There are also Vocaloid video games known as Project Diva, which are rhythm-based games.
While Vocaloid can be seen as primarily Japanese, that’s actually far from the truth. Many Vocaloids have voice banks for different languages such as English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, and Catalan. There are a number of different English Vocaloid songs, one of the best being a young German producer named KIRA who was only 16 when he created some of his best songs, among many others. Other companies have even created similar programs called Utau, and SynthV, Utau even allows you to create your own voice bank, which has led to some interesting creations.
Due to the appealing nature of Vocaloid, the ease to use the program, and the amount of diversity and creativity there is in the fandom, Vocaloid may seem a little strange, but it’s definitely popular. Producers like KIRA, Giga, Crusher, and Kyaami have been able to create amazing musical pieces with these programs to the point where the Vocaloids actually sound realistic. It allows creators to create songs with relative ease, and it allows a lot of creative freedom for composers.