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Vocaloid facts for kids

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Vocaloid logo.svg
Interface of Vocaloid 5
Developer(s) Yamaha Corporation
Initial release January 15, 2004; 20 years ago (2004-01-15)
Stable release
Vocaloid 6 / October 13, 2022; 18 months ago (2022-10-13)
Operating system Microsoft Windows
iOS (Mobile Vocaloid Editor, Japan only)
Available in Japanese, English, Korean, Spanish, Chinese, Catalan
Type Voice Synthesizer Software
License Proprietary

Vocaloid (ボーカロイド, Bōkaroido) is a singing voice synthesizer software product. Its signal processing part was developed through a joint research project led by Kenmochi Hideki at the Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona, Spain, in 2000 and was not originally intended to be a full commercial project. Backed by the Yamaha Corporation, it developed the software into the commercial product "Vocaloid" that was released in 2004.

The software enables users to synthesize "singing" by typing in lyrics and melody and also "speech" by typing in the script of the required words. It uses synthesizing technology with specially recorded vocals of voice actors or singers. To create a song, the user must input the melody and lyrics. A piano roll type interface is used to input the melody and the lyrics can be entered on each note. The software can change the stress of the pronunciations, add effects such as vibrato, or change the dynamics and tone of the voice.

Various voice banks have been released for use with the Vocaloid synthesizer technology. Each is sold as "a singer in a box" designed to act as a replacement for an actual singer. As such, they are released under a moe anthropomorphism. These avatars are also referred to as Vocaloids, and are often marketed as virtual idols; some have gone on to perform at live concerts as an on-stage projection.

The software was originally only available in English starting with the first Vocaloids Leon, Lola and Miriam by Zero-G, and Japanese with Meiko and Kaito made by Yamaha and sold by Crypton Future Media. Vocaloid 3 has added support for Spanish for the Vocaloids Bruno, Clara and Maika; Chinese for Luo Tianyi, Yuezheng Ling, Xin Hua and Yanhe; and Korean for SeeU.

The software is intended for professional musicians as well as casual 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. Japanese record label Exit Tunes of Quake Inc. also have released compilation albums featuring Vocaloids.


Excitation plus Resonances (EpR) voice model (Bonada et al. 2001, Fig.1)
Voice model developed before the Vocaloid, Excitation plus Resonances (EpR) model, is a combination of:
  • Spectral Modeling Synthesis (SMS)
  • Source-Filter model
The model was developed in 2001 as a source-filter model for voice synthesis, but was only implemented on top of the concatenative synthesis model in the final product as a method of avoiding spectral shape discontinuities at the segment boundaries of concatenation.
(based on Fig.1 on Bonada et al. 2001)

Vocaloid's singing synthesis [ja] technology is generally categorized into the concatenative synthesis in the frequency domain, which splices and processes the vocal fragments extracted from human singing voices, in the forms of time-frequency representation. The Vocaloid system can produce the realistic voices by adding vocal expressions like the vibrato on the score information. Initially, Vocaloid's synthesis technology was called "Frequency-domain Singing Articulation Splicing and Shaping" (周波数ドメイン歌唱アーティキュレーション接続法, Shūhasū-domein kashō ātikyurēshon setsuzoku-hō) on the release of Vocaloid in 2004, although this name is no longer used since the release of Vocaloid 2 in 2007. "Singing Articulation" is explained as "vocal expressions" such as vibrato and vocal fragments necessary for singing. The Vocaloid and Vocaloid 2 synthesis engines are designed for singing, not reading text aloud, though software such as Vocaloid-flex and Voiceroid have been developed for that. They cannot naturally replicate singing expressions like hoarse voices or shouts.

Cultural impact

Miku hatsune cover
Hatsune Miku is partly responsible for Vocaloid's success.

The software became very popular in Japan upon the release of Crypton Future Media's Hatsune Miku Vocaloid 2 software and her success has led to the popularity of the Vocaloid software in general. Japanese video sharing website Niconico played a fundamental role in the recognition and popularity of the software.

As the recognition and popularity of the software grew, Nico Nico Douga became a place for collaborative content creation. Popular original songs written by a user would generate illustrations, animation in 2D and 3D, and remixes by other users. Other creators would show their unfinished work and ask for ideas.

A cafe for one day only was opened in Tokyo based on Hatsune Miku on August 31, 2010. A second event was arranged for all Japanese Vocaloids. "Snow Miku" was also featured on an event as a part of the 62nd Sapporo Snow Festival in February 2011. A Vocaloid-themed TV show on the Japanese Vocaloids called Vocalo Revolution began airing on Kyoto Broadcasting System on January 3, 2011. The show is part of a bid to make the Vocaloid culture more widely accepted and features a mascot known as "Cul", also mascot of the "Cul Project". The show's first success story is a joint collaboration between Vocalo Revolution and the school fashion line "Cecil McBee" Music x Fashion x Dance. Piapro also held a competition with famous fashion brands with the winners seeing their Lolita-based designs reproduced for sale by the company Putumayo. A radio station set up a 1-hour program containing nothing but Vocaloid-based music.

During the events of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, a number of Vocaloid related donation drives were produced. Crypton Future Media joined several other companies in a donation drive, with money spent on the sales of music from Crypton Future Media's KarenT label being donated to the Japanese Red Cross. In addition, a special Nendoroid of Hatsune Miku, Nendoroid Hatsune Miku: Support ver., was announced with a donation of 1,000 yen per sale to the Japanese Red Cross.

In 2012, Vocaloid was quoted as one of the contributors to a 10% increase in cosplay related services.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Vocaloid para niños

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