Have you ever wondered what the very first Vocaloid sounded like ?
To most of you, the first vocaloids were respectively Yamaha’s Lola and Leon right ? Well think again, because this piece of audio was created in 1961 and sung by a computer known as IBM 7094 wherein the voice in addition to the music were entirely programmed on their own. It was later payed homage to in Stanley Kubrick’s iconic movie 2001: A space Odyssey, sung by the A.I Hal.
Who would have known back in 1961 that such an invention would end up becoming, today, the musical phenomenon that we all know and (admittedly not all of us) love. Let’s take a moment to acknowledge the Vocaloid’s historical roots in this already impressive attempt to sing a well known classic.
Synthesized singing voices nowadays can be made by just about anyone, using the UTAUloid software but i think that people overlook how much of a gigantic task it was to arrive to this point. I’m aware a lot of people really dislike how most of the vocaloids sound like but you have to give credit where credit is due, the technology and programming that goes into making one is impressive.
The programmers have to take into account the vibrations that come out of different kinds of singing and have modulate them in an incredibly meticulous fashion in order to give off the desired effect. Hence why not all vocaloids are created to sing the same kind of music. Miriam being made to sing Opera for instance or Hatsune Miku’s tones more suited to fit pop music.
It took Yamaha 4 years to create the first vocaloids. (development started in march 2000 and Lola & Leon were first released in 2004) and another 7 additional years for vocaloid 2 to come out in 2007 and Vocaloid 3 in 2011.
And today the Vocaloid phenomenon has exploded with several dozen vocaloids on the market singing virtually any kind of musical style with an incredible diversity of voices and now languages (Korean,Japanese,English,Spanish) and a lot of the reason why vocaloids have garnered their fame is because of the creative possibilities behind having your own talented popstar to sing the music you produced.
Vocaloids only exist because of the people who use the software. Ordinary people, and nowadays professionals alike utilize it. And of course, putting a face on the voices was an inspired choice because it makes people feel like they are giving life to a program. With their lyrics they make the characters feel, they make them laugh, cry, talk about a bad day, a tragedy, or complete nonsense. Because of all of the humanity we breathe into them they become lovable and iconic characters.
And all of this, Miku,Luka, Rin, Len, Gumi, Gakupo, Meiko, Kaito, Lily, SeeU, IA and all of the others draw their roots in IBM 7094’s
simple yet oddly nostalgic voice. So Let’s pay respect to it. The absolute first vocaloid.