Feeds

Computers taught to sing using autotuning talent show

Avoids need for 'fictionalised family tragedies'

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Japanese boffins say they have developed a process whereby computers can be taught to sing so well that they are indistinguishable from talented human performers.

It was already possible to produce artificial singing, by inputting lyrics and musical scores into software packages such as Vocaloid. The results are easily distinguished as artificial, but this can be remedied by careful tweaking to add such things as tremolo and vibrato effects.

miku

Vocaloid's Hatsune Miku, a singing synthesizer application, was based on the voice
of Japanese voice actress Saki Fujita. The new-school tech means synthetic vocals
can be achieved without real-voice input.

This process, however, is time-consuming and leaves artefacts in a recording which give away its artificial source. It's possible to automate the tweaking process, but – according to Akio Watanabe and Hitoshi Iba of Tokyo University's IBA Laboratory, anyway – this has so far required furnishing the software with a human rendition of the same song, rather defeating the point of the exercise.

Watanabe and Iba say they've cracked this, however, by using an "evolutionary" process to refine an artificially generated song. This involves running Vocaloid eight times with the output tweaked in eight random different ways. A human producer listens to the eight results and moves slider bars in the software to reflect how well each "frequency curve" modification has performed in certain respects.

The curves which produced the best results are then used as "parents" to create a new generation and the process is repeated as required in a survival-of-the-fittest process apparently somewhat akin to a TV talent show.

"Eventually, the fittest frequency curves will emerge that endow the synthetic vocal with the most realistic characteristics of human singing," says Watanabe.

A statement issued by the IBA lab adds:

For anyone who is bored with the so-called real-life characters that present themselves to TV "talent" shows, an optimized frequency curve and a synthetic vocal could be the new sensation they are looking for, but without the baggage of bad teeth, terrible hair extensions and fictionalized family tragedies.

The researchers' paper Creating singing vocal expressions by means of interactive evolutionary computation is published in the International Journal of Knowledge Engineering and Soft Data Paradigms. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Munich considers dumping Linux for ... GULP ... Windows!
Give a penguinista a hug, the Outlook's not good for open source's poster child
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
Time to move away from Windows 7 ... whoa, whoa, who said anything about Windows 8?
Start migrating now to avoid another XPocalypse – Gartner
You'll find Yoda at the back of every IT conference
The piss always taking is he. Bastard the.
HANA has SAP cuddling up to 'smaller partners'
Wanted: algorithm wranglers, not systems giants
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.