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Yamaha vocaloid recreates voice of late singer

The voice of Japanese vocalist Hibari Misora has been brought back to life using an AI-enabled singing synthesiser, courtesy of Yamaha and national broadcaster NHK

By Anna Grace on 08 Oct 2019

Yamaha vocaloid reproduces voice of Japanese vocalist Hibari Misora

Hibari Misora's likeness performs on NHK's show

Yamaha Corporation has reproduced the voice of legendary Japanese vocalist Hibari Misora, through its trademarked Vocaloid:AI singing synthesis technology.

The public debut of the technology took place on the television programme Bringing Hibari Misora Back with AI, broadcast in Japan on 29 September by the NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation).

The NHK-led project used Yamaha’s technology to present a live performance of a new song by Misora, to commemorate the 30th anniversary of her death. A high-definition, 3D video reproduced the singer’s likeness for the rendition.

Vocaloid:AI is an adaptation of Yamaha’s original Vocaloid, released in 2003. The new version uses artificial intelligence to improve the reproduction of tonal changes, taking recordings of artists’ songs and speech as machine learning data.

“This new evolution of singing synthesis technology has illuminated new possibilities in music”

“We believe it was the Yamaha technologies and sensibilities cultivated over 130 years of developing and producing musical instruments and audio equipment which enabled us to successfully capture the essence of her singing,” comments Koichi Morita, general manager of the research and development division of Yamaha Corporation’s technology unit.

“Our cooperation in this project with this new evolution of singing synthesis technology has illuminated new possibilities in music by transcending the barriers of time to dazzle listeners with incredible singing.”

Vocaloids, or singing synthesisers, are being used increasingly across the entertainment industry. Hatsune Miku, a Japanese vocaloid embodied by a hologram of a 16-year-old girl, has sold out venues across the United States and is embarking on a 2020 European tour, playing shows at the O2 Academy Brixton (5,000-cap.) in London, La Villette (6,000-cap.) in Paris, Berlin’s Verti Music Hall (4,350-cap.), the Sant Jordi Club (4,620-cap.) in Spain and Amsterdam’s 17,000-capacity Ziggo Dome.

Artificial intelligence has also been used to recreate living celebrities, with “digital twins” being produced for Chinese girl group SNH48 and celebrity television hosts.


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