Japanese Computers Can Sing Better than You Now, Too

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Did you know Japan had singing computers? I sure didn’t, at least until I stumbled on a report from this morning indicating that they not only did have machines that’d outperform half of American Idol’s starry-eyed hopefuls, but that a team of scientists from Tokyo have improved the program’s artificial algorithms to make the machines sound more human-like.

Here’s what one of the programs, VocaListener, currently sounds like:

[youtube=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0-PnGtAnVG0″&w=450&h=43%5D

Sounds pretty close to human, right? I sure wouldn’t be able to tell it was a robot on first listen. (Plus it’s catchy in a J-pop/guilty pleasure sort of way.)

But according to Science Daily, a few of the researchers from the Graduate School of Engineering at The University of Tokyo have found a way to make the inflections sound more human. The vocals posted above are built from a single type of frequency curve, meaning there’s little variation when you go from note to note. But the graduate researchers have programmed in a new type of frequency wave that has a lot of the same tics as human singing.¬†Essentially what they’ve done is¬†recreated the nuances that lend our voices their character.

Kind of weird, especially when you consider most musicians nowadays use auto-tune to sound more like machines.

(via Science Daily)

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