09 October 2009

Vocaloid - The Sounds of Tomorrow

by 12:48
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EDIT: Links to selected songs added at the bottom. For albums, please torrent it yourself or purchase a copy and support Hatsune-sama
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I've been seeing a lot of confusion between the term, Vocaloid, especially with people who just heard the word. Some ask what anime or OVA is this, meaning they haven't bothered to actually google about it. Hopefully this post would clear up a few things along with a short summary...



Vocaloid





So what's a vocaloid? Its an voice synthesizer application developed by Yamaha Corporation. Keying in a word or note and the program will generate a voice for the desired lyric. String up a bunch of lyrics together and voila! You have created your first song!

As if it was that easy... putting a lot of kanji/hiragana/katakana together and trying your very best to make it not sound like it was sung by a tone deaf person... well, go ahead and try.

So Vocaloid started off as a simple program, not gaining popularity that fast as it was almost akin to the voice synthesizer software Apple had.

A few still popular first generation
"Character Vocal Series", such as


Kaito and

Meiko


Apparently, the voice developers decide to take it a notch higher, with the release of ...



Vocaloid2


So what's so different? Yes, its still a voice synthesizer but with real voices!

All japanese phonetics were recorded by amateur(now famous) or professional singers and stored in the program. Now you can string words together without having to hear a robotic voice!

Some famous singers as well pitched in, such as Nakajima Megumi! (love her voice!) If you all can't recall, she was the seiyuu for Ranka Lee in Macross Frontier, with hit songs like "What 'bout my Star?" and "Seikan Hikou".


Crypton decided to name a vocal character after her, Megpoid.


Well that's pretty much for the older generation like...

Gackpoid (from Gackt) as well.


Now for a more a more well known Vocaloid and its successors.


Hatsune Miku

The first installment of the Vocaloid2 Character series. Her name was developed by combining the kanji, Hatsu (, First) Ne (, Sound) Miku (未来, Future).

Why she does sounds so real? Even though in reality, she doesn't exist except in cyberspace?


Here's a small news report by "Asahi .com" on how she shot to stardom...



Thanks to the lending of voice by Fujita Saki (藤田咲), she was shot up to stardom as the unknown voice to Hatsune Miku, both as a virtual idol and a seiyuu.

From there, a lot more popularity was gained. After Vocaloid2 was released, song writers developed their own songs. Thanks to media and creativity hub,
Nico Nico Douga (ニコニコ動画), which is like the Japanese version of Youtube, people started to upload their songs or ask for ideas regarding to their creation.

Because Fujita Saki was scouted in 2007 by Crypton, more professional songs were heard. Amateur writes could develop their own songs, despite the limitations like not owning a full studio to create music.


As such, official albums were released to the public, such as "Re:Packaged" with livetune feat. Hatsune Miku. Many didn't expect the following to occur...


Re:Packaged sold approx. 20,000 albums, shooting the album into Oricon charts at 5th, beating many more famous singers and artist. One of my favourite albums was well, with titles like "Anthem", "Packaged" and "over16bit両".

Later, an album by
Supercell, a doujin group but gained over night sensation with their release of "Melt"(メルト) by Hatsune Miku, with the use of the voice synthesizer.



Their album comprises of many hits and awesome songs like "Love is War" (
Koi wa Senso, 恋は戦争), "Black Rock Shooter", "World is Mine" and "Let's Spin Wildy".


All composed by Ryo, the leader as composer and lyricist for Supercell. The genius behind the production of "Melt" as he did everything, made a professional debut with "Sony Music Entertaimemt" with the album "Supercell feat. Hatsune Miku".

Did I mention it reached Oricon charts again? At 4th place? And is certified a Gold status?



Kagamine Lin and Ren

A twin vocaloid series, which debuted together with Hatsune Miku in December 2007. Their family name is from the the word mirror (Kagami, ) and sound (Ne, ). Their given name is "Left/Right" apparently. Haha.


Eventhough they are "fraternal twins", they are not brother and sister but actually reflections of a mirror. Thus, there's a two side of them that exist together. Confusing right?

One of their all time famous song (that's in my opinion) is Heart Miracle (
ココロ・キセキ)

WARNING: This video may stir the heart in a sad way (prepare some tissue nearby).







A refreshing song from a duet with Hatsune Miku and Kagamine Rin, Reversed Rainbow (逆さまレインボー)



Megurine Luka



The latest addition to the Vocaloid family! Her name comes from the meaning for surround/circulate (Meguri, 巡) and sound (Ne, 音).

Very popular as well, as she is the first type of the character series to sing both in Japanese and English. Quite impressive, despite her predecessors installed with other languages like German and Spanish for example.

One of her songs, "RIP=RELEASE" was a reply to Kagamine Len's "SPICE!" as there were both written by Ryuusei-P.




Well that's all the time I can spare for now. Hope you guys aren't confused by now with the word "Vocaloid".

Here's a list of my favourite songs and some recommendations if you're interested. Just google or yube them (means youtube it). [title],[character],[album]

  • Anthem (miku) "Re:Packaged"
  • Packaged (miku) "Re:Packaged"
  • overbit16両 (miku) "Re:Packaged"
  • Love is War (miku) "Supercell"
  • HeartBreaker (miku) "Supercell"
  • Black Rock Shooter (miku) "Supercell"
  • Kurukuruma Kunosugoiyatsu (miku) "Supercell"
  • World is Mine (miku) "Supercell"
  • SPICE! (len)
  • Palette World Breakdown (miku)
  • Miku Miku ni Shite Ageru (miku)
  • Reversed Rainbow (rin & miku)
  • Melt (miku)
  • Kokoro Kiseki (len & rin)


So hurry up and join the Vocaloid Madness~! Cheers!




4 comments:

Anonymous said...

nice review on vocaloid ..^.^
totally make me understand ...i feel like getting a program too

The Extroverted Otaku said...

Err... thanks. =3

denieru said...

But i still have a doubt, what the word vocaloid actually means?
I bet for Vocal Android, anybody knows about this?

The Extroverted Otaku said...

Vocal Android mights be the best description, but the voice synthesizer program was around long before the Vocaloids were created. Possibly, Yamaha decided to create/incorporate "virtual idols" for the voice banks, giving "life" to their program, personified as an individual, now known as Vocaloids. This could be a tactic to make the program more approachable as an "idol" program, not a "voice" program.
But that's just me....

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