Music: Hatsune Miku 3D Live in Los Angeles on the 2nd July 2011

by listic1 min read26th Jun 201122 comments


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Hatsune Miku is a singing synthesizer application with a female persona, developed by Crypton Future Media using Yamaha's Vocaloid technology. She will be preforming live in the NOKIA Theatre in Los Angeles Convention Center on the 2nd July 2011, during the ANIME EXPO 2011.

Vocaloid technology was first released in 2004, but didn't meet wide recognition at first. When designing the second generation of Vocaloids, Crypton Future Media asked the manga artist Kei to design an avatar for their upcoming synthesized voice. The first to be released, "CV01 - Hatsune Miku" became runaway success, as thousands of internet users started making their songs with Hatsune Miku. Sega made a game and helped with organizing the first solo live perfomance in Tokyo on March 9, 2010, titled "Miku no Hi Kanshasai 39's Giving Day"(Miku's Day Thanksgiving). The concert included some of the best songs made by users, performed by Hatsune Miku and a band of human musicians. The concert in LA on 2nd July, 2011 should be the second of a kind and the first one outside Japan of that level (there was another event, and it is said to be not that good without Sega's involvement; but now the organisers promise "a few improvements over the original event")

Examples of Vocaloids in action:

Vocaloid Sweet Ann (English): Let it be (the Beatles)

Vocaloid Hatsune Miku (Japanese): Nebula (Tripshots)

The previous event "Miku no Hi Kanshasai 39's Giving Day"(Miku's Day Thanksgiving) on March 9, 2010 at the Zepp Tokyo in Odaiba, Tokyo

Nice fragment on YouTube (HD too)

torrent of the whole thing in HD

What seems to be the official event page:

Hatsune Miku 3D Live in Los Angeles

It looks like the tickets are sold out, but maybe it will be possible to buy some tickets at the event or something?. I would try if I was not living half the globe away.

I think that it's fitting for a community of people interested in the possibility of a technological singularity to take interest in the kind of entertainment that pushes the envelope of what's possible with technology. Human voice was the last musical instrument unconquered by synthesis. Now this page of human history is turned, and for me, Miku is the symbol of it. If there are technically better voice synthesizers (which is quite possible, since Miku was released in 2007), they don't have their own concerts yet.

Sorry if this is unappropriate.


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Cool, and also interesting :D Really it's like they took a modern text to speech synthesizer and put it through auto-tune with some vibrato.

They (Yamaha) call this vocal synthesizer which is supposed to be more than text-to-speech synthesizer. You get to input notes, and other information I think. If you don't, then it's as good as text-to-speech synthesizer.

What is state-of-the-art text to speech synthesizer?

Hm. I don't know what else they're inputting besides vibrato - it didn't seem to change its vowels when it changed pitch, for example, or slide between notes. Maybe they do stress/volume information separately rather than the computer being able to do it?

For speech, IBM's Watson was pretty good.

Thanks for the cool music links! The vocal quality is very good; I'd probably have been fooled if I didn't know it was a synthesizer.

I'm watching the YouTube video, and I can't tell if the avatar is a hologram or on a screen. If it's a hologram, I'm surprised by the quality--I didn't realize holograms are that good.

I think computer-controlled hologram is not here yet.

I heard the news report that the avatar is a hologram or laser projected. I figured this is wrong, it's a rear projection ( Two digital projectors (huge boxes one above the other) beam from the back of the stage onto transparent screen. In some shots the upper edge of the screen is clearly visible, in other it's the whole screen.

Behold, as living artists are displaced by constructs with no personality. And geeks all over the world obsess over it, of course.

Huh? Every single thing that could be considered artistic still needs to be done, it's just that now there's a new tool that allows you to skip some of the non artistic parts.

Then credit the people who actually did the artistic input - the composers, the writers, and so on. Not some manufactured figurehead identity slapped onto an algorithm.

Yea, THAT I can agree on.

On the other hand, you could say that what is actually getting the praise is the community in general with all the anonymous people that made the phenomena possible. But I don't know if it works in a way that makes that applicable. Or if it's actually true.

The composition remains to be done; but the actual production of vocal sound is also considered artistic.

By whom, and on what merit?

By, uh, many people? Especially those who like to judge artists by their vocal skills? Singing is an art by itself.

And if you need a citation for that, then... I'm not sure what to say except engaging into complex and abstract discussions on the topic of "what is art?", which will distract us from the immediate subject.

I'm actually writing (or at least am supposed to be writing) an article about that. Let's just wait with this discussion until I've finished that.

Why can't a vocaloid have a personality? Does Gregory House have a personality?

I think the idea of "Miku" is a stand in for a large group of people, just like "Google" is. I also don't think many people have a problem with personifying Google.

Why can't a vocaloid have a personality? Does Gregory House have a personality?

Gregory House is the main character of a TV show that has actual plots. Vocaloids are just animesque moeblobs.

Furthermore, Gregory House is not credited for programmatically singing songs actually written and composed by humans.

I think the idea of "Miku" is a stand in for a large group of people, just like "Google" is.

Except people don't treat it that way. In any case, our senses don't work that way. If it's anthropomorphized (pointlessly, in this case), we automatically think of it as having the qualities of a person, whether it makes sense or not.

Gregory House is not credited for programmatically singing songs actually written and composed by humans.

His actor, Hugh Laurie, is credited for performing lines written by different humans. Why does Hugh Laurie deserve performing credit when Miku doesn't?

Because Laurie is a person?

Yes, that is the reason.

The question is whether and why we should consider Miku a non-person. I was attempting to refute the proposed personhood predicate implementation.

Well said.

I was thinking about it. Do we care about the artist's personality or the product of said personality? If it turns out that the product is more efficiently produced without involvement of the artist, will we reject it? My answer is "the latter" and "hell, no!". When photography came along and displaced the majority of painters, did the society care? Even if it did, it didn't matter in the long run because now the photography occupies the space previously held by living artists. Luckily, pictorial art did survive, though it occupies a narrow niche compared to the past. I think there were other art forms that disappeared completely in the course of technological progress.

Now the question is, is it what we strive for? (and by we I mean educated people who support technological advancement and take a certain degree of responsibility for its direction). Looks like it is.

Now there is one more reason to think about this.

I, for one, do care about the artist's personality.

I value creators - be they writers, artists, directors, or composers - best when they have a reason to do what they're doing. When they have an aspiration, a passion for art, or a message they want to relay to the audience. I like analyzing works and trying to understand the author's mindset, figuring out what drove them to do it the way they did and what they were thinking at the moment, and how it relates to their historical context, etc.

All of those are human, relatable, empathic qualities.

But idolizing a hollow software moeblob that only does what it's told? There really is no wonder it's Japanese. It's the same kind of worst excesses of the otaku subculture that drive fans to conduct faux-marriages with anime characters.

Rant over.

Most people obsessing over various idols are obsessing over a carefully constructed fake image anyway. At least with an obviously fictional idol, people are more honest about the fact.

Good point actually. The pop industry is built around crafting cynically made up images, and the actual singer is often an incidental figurehead.

I guess this is the logical conclusion - when there is nothing real about the image at all, there isn't even a living person behind it. In which case we should ask if this is the direction in which we want to go, or it's time to look back and rethink it.