Yamaha developing Vocaloid keyboard

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An increasing amount of Japanese pop music of late is eschewing vocal cords for Vocaloid, a series of voice synthesizers developed by Yamaha that is designed to fill the role of human singers. The most famous of these is Hatsune Miku, which has an image and persona more visible than many "real" Japanese stars, though it's otherwise quite a niche phenomenon. One problem with Vocaloid tracks is the difficulty of authentic live performances, but Yamaha is working on something to combat this — a real-time Vocaloid keyboard that allows players to "sing" syllable by syllable.

The keyboard is made possible by the relative simplicity of Japanese phonology, with only fifty or so possible syllables in the language altogether. Syllables are selected by simultaneously pressing a Roman alphabet key with a D-pad-shape modifier for one of the five Japanese vowels — so, for example the "K" key with an "A" directional press would result in a "KA" consonant. This is all done with the left hand, with the right hand controlling each syllable's pitch via a standard keyboard layout, and there's an LED display to confirm character input. The interface seems simple and logical for Japanese speakers, though it will take some practice to get right — Yamaha says that several players so far have been able to play nursery rhymes after around three hours with the device.
The keyboard is still in development with no solid plans for a commercial release, and the prototype still looks pretty rough from a design standpoint. The company says it's more likely that it would provide the sound chip inside for other companies to use in their own hardware. However, if a product ever sees the light of day it could well be the next step along the way to Vocaloid domination of J-pop.



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Tom Bombadildo

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Great...that's all we need, more people who think they can sing...sing.
Vocaloid is cool when done right. It's just overly rated by weeaboos because of Hatsune Mikshit.

That said, I did enjoy some songs from Project Diva 2nd
*video snip*
The problem is there aren't very many people who can do it right.

Also, Project Diva 2nd has some ok songs.
 
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FluffyLunamoth

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Great...that's all we need, more people who think they can sing...sing.
Vocaloid is cool when done right. It's just overly rated by weeaboos because of Hatsune Mikshit.

That said, I did enjoy some songs from Project Diva 2nd
*video snip*
The problem is there aren't very many people who can do it right.

Also, Project Diva 2nd has some ok songs.

On the contrary, there are lot of really good Vocaloid songs. Yeah, you get your crap stuff every now and then, but there's still a lot of good with it
 

RedJiggly

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I think it's great that there is such a novel idea. Of course, it won't beat normal singing. I'm happy that they decided not to release it as a commercial product.

I think Miku Hatsune and similar characters are overrated. With this I mean not so much the music, as the characters and everything around it. I think Singing Synthesizers(Vocaloid or not) themselves are not valued enough. Of course they are not better than 'real' singing, but they can produce some nice effects, for instance I really like the extremely fast way that lyrics are sung in some songs by vocaloid voices.

Still, we've come a long way:

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yuyuyup

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It's incredible that the seemingly extremely complex Japanese language can be broken down into such few buttons. Or maybe I overestimate the Japanese language.

This is the song I would write for such a device:
Boobies Boobies, why not more, let's all go to the booby store
 

prowler

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