What comes to mind when you hear the term vocaloid?
If you are familiar with it the first name that may come into mind may be Hatsune Miku, the world famous virtual pop star introduced by Crypton along with her other friends. But does your curiosity ever dig deeper beyond the blue haired diva? What about the logistics and creativity it takes to create the beloved characters you have come to love and appreciate through art, music, and games; or the core of what vocaloid really is, and how people stumble into and become a part of this world that is teeming with opportunity and imagination? There is a lot more that is hiding behind the surface, and that is where the real magic is happening.
▍What is Vocaloid?
Hatsune Miku is commonly mistaken to be the answer of what vocaloid is, when in reality she is just a part of it. In fact, vocaloid is a voice synthesis technology and software developed by YAMAHA. The software is used by inputting melodies and lyrics and combining them with the voice banks.
Hatsune Miku is just one of the many different voice banks vocaloid provides within its software. But these would not be also named vocaloids – these are considered virtual singers since the voice donors voice is manipulated and synthesized to the creators liking to make all kinds of songs. The software is intended for professional musicians as well as light computer music users. Japanese musical groups such as Livetune of Toy’s Factory and Supercell of Sony Music Entertainment Japan have released their songs featuring Vocaloid as vocals.
The possibilities are honestly quite endless once you get a hold of the software. Voice banks range from female, male, childlike, and mature sounding voices. It can be considered a musician’s blank canvas.
Now comes the familiarity within vocaloid. Virtual singers are essentially the voice banks within the vocaloid software. But if popular enough they can develop into beloved characters with names and faces such as Len and Rin Kagamine – popular virtual singers produced by YAMAHA and Crypton using vocaloid. They are the second product of Vocaloid2 Character Vocal Series developed by Crypton. Their level of popularity has swelled and grown to the point where their potential goes well beyond music.
Due to an ever expanding imagination these particular virtual singers can be found all over youtube with countless songs, games for ps3, ps4, and 3DS, figma and nendroid figures, and even live concerts all around the world. They are the product of using vocaloid in every aspect that can be utilized.
▍The Music of Vocaloid
Let’s be honest here, we all enjoy the virtual singers who present amazing songs, but it’s in fact the brilliant music and such songs that are the real stars when it comes to vocaloid. There are many different artists who utilize the same virtual singers in the software but everyone has their own unique style to call their music their own. Thanks to vocaloids, musicians and artists are given these enormous blank canvases that allow them to show their creativity and style.
Source: Sillicon Era
Not all music is upbeat and needs to sound like pop. Many songs created by using vocaloid can sound like beautiful ballads, dark stories told in song, and just downright anything. It all depends on the musician.
Many musicians have been given great opportunities due to the music they have created using vocaloid and the virtual singer they have chosen to be the vessel of their song. Those who choose Crypton’s virtual singers ( i.e. Hatsune Miku) may have the opportunity to have their music featured in popular games such as the Hatsune Miku Project Diva series, Hatsune Miku Future Tone, and Hatsune Miku Project Mirai. They also hold the chance to have their music performed in live concerts by these singers.
▍Beyond The Music
It doesn’t stop at opportunities for musicians. Vocaloid inadvertently creates amazing exposure for upcoming artists and animators. Much of the music have background videos or art to help represent the story the lyrics are telling. Such illustrations require passionate people who hone their skills. The exact same goes for videos that include animation. It’s more than hard work that goes into their works. It’s their passion and their ability to turn lyrics into images that really puts the cherry on top when it comes to creating music from vocaloid.
Take the song Synchronicity for example.
This is a three chapter song, meaning there are three different songs to convey the story that is told within the lyrics. In all three songs, slight animation and beautiful art is used to best represent and tell the story. The artist’s design of the virtual singers in the setting of Synchronicity alone help wove in another piece to the story. The virtual singers’ voices aren’t the only things that are manipulated, it’s their appearances and personalities as well, but there is so much attention directed towards the music itself that the attention and appreciation towards the artists and animators designs are often forgotten.
Vocaloid is so much more than the name of Hatsune Miku. In a way it’s becoming its own culture within the world of music. For there is so much depth and detail that goes into just a single song using the software. Anyone with the right passion and drive can take part in this amazing process of creativity. Vocaloid was made for creators and the results from such creators are phenomenal. And as long as there are still creative, musical, and artistic minds, you can expect to see more creations produced with the help of vocaloid.
• The World of Virtual YouTubers
Adorkable gamer, aspiring writer, anime convention addict, and rhythm game specialist ^~^