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Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

With Vocaloids, Who Needs Singers?

I am always amazed at how advanced computer speech has become over the years. Remember those old speech devices in the 80s? That's nothing to the software I'm going to introduce you to now.

VOCALOID is an entirely NEW kind of instrument, that uses the natural tone and articulation of a real human voice as its source - allowing the user to synthesize incredible vocals, the like of which have never been experienced before. It can also sound like a real singer if required, with an unprecedented degree of realism for a synthesizer.

From the website:

"When it comes to creating vocal tracks, Yamaha's VOCALOID singing synthesis technology brings you exciting new options. Even a singing voice can now be SYNTHESIZED to a remarkable degree, through LOLA, LEON, MIRIAM, PRIMA and SONIKA, the VOCALOID virtual vocalists from Zero-G, thanks to the incredible new technology developed by Yamaha."

Let's take a closer look at one of these voices, TONIO.

"Once TONIO is installed into your PC he will allow you to create synthesized singing of unprecedented quality and remarkable realism.

With a vocal register that covers both baritone and tenor TONIO has a voice that will satisfy the most demanding of compositions. . Tonio has a voice that is full of unmistakable character, colour and charm. He will hit those high notes every time with perfect accuracy. Whether it's soaring leads, harmonies or backing vocals, Tonio can sing any word from the English language (and other languages too with a little work). Tonio is also very well suited if you want to be adventurous and experimental, since his voice can be easily modified and shaped in many ways.

In addition to singing any words or combination of syllables or phonemes you can imagine, TONIO will spread any sustained vowel (or voiced consonant) across as many notes as you like, with perfect legato. You can select from several different natural vibrato types and drag and drop your chosen type to any note or notes, and control the time-position and amount of the vibrato, and that's just the beginning.

IMAGINE what all this could mean for your music Now you can COMMUNICATE emotion so directly. You can add HUMANITY to ANY production in ANY style, with your own private virtual vocalist. You can create backing vocals in harmonies for your tracks. With skill and application you can create unprecedented vocal realism. OR... you can live in the exciting world between human and machine, where Vocaloid can even provide vocals that sound like they were performed by a superhuman virtuoso android. Using Vocaloid in this way, as a true hybrid of human voice and synthesizer, the potential for innovation is limited only by your own imagination."

Click this link to visit the Vocaloid DEMOS and TRYOUT Software page.

NOTE: As cool as this software is, I don't believe it to be accessible with screen reading technology.

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