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Singing with your hands March 26, 2012

Filed under: Other — Emily Wagner @ 11:30 pm

Yamaha has developed a new keyboard that allows musicians to sing without opening their mouths.  A new solution for the musically inclined who have not mastered the art of singing, this keyboard prototype has users input lyrics with the left hand, and music with the right.

The current commercial version of Vocaloid 3 requires users to input music and lyrics on a PC prior to performance.  With this new keyboard, a live singing synthesizer is an option.

The Vocaloid keyboard prototype is manufactured for Japanese users.  There are 16 buttons for inputting consonants, vowels, and two types of voicing marks used in the Japanese written language with the left hand.  There are then keys of a piano to the right. The entered text is displayed by an LED display above the keys to allow the content to be checked.  There are also three knobs to the left of the display to adjust the vocal sound.

A Yamaha spokesman says that the keyboard is not only great for live performance but also may be easier for those able to play a keyboard who are not comfortable with the current Vocaloid computer software.

A concern might be the difficulty of playing the keyboard.  Typing lyrics as you’re playing the music seems overwhelming.  The Yamaha spokesman also said that several keyboard players evaluating the system were able to perform simple nursery rhymes after about three hours.

Currently, Yamaha has no plans to release the Vocaloid commercially but says that the device’s sound chip can be provided to other companies who are interested in pursuing it.

I think that this is an extremely interesting piece of technology with great potential.  I don’t think that synthetic singing will ever be as good as a great live singer but this could be a cool way for people to get their songs out there if they’re not comfortable singing.  This would also be a great way for songwriters to present their songs to singers who want to perform them.

Here is a video of the Vocaloid keyboard in action:

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