Feeds

Computers taught to sing using autotuning talent show

Avoids need for 'fictionalised family tragedies'

Boost IT visibility and business value

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. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Captain Kirk sets phaser to SLAUGHTER after trying new Facebook app
William Shatner less-than-impressed by Zuck's celebrity-only app
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
Apple fanbois SCREAM as update BRICKS their Macbook Airs
Ragegasm spills over as firmware upgrade kills machines
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
Chrome browser has been DRAINING PC batteries for YEARS
Google is only now fixing ancient, energy-sapping bug
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
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.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.