Aside from my exploits in Rock Band, I hardly consider myself to be a good singer. Maybe that’s why so many artists have also turned to Autotune, but it looks like Yamaha is stepping up to a whole new level of artificial singing with its Vocaloid Keyboard. You literally “play” out the vocal sounds.
Most of the setup looks like a regular electronic keyboard, but there are some extra buttons along the left side that correspond to certain sounds in Japanese. By combining those buttons with the regular keys on the keyboard, a person is able to sound out just about any word in Japanese, combining them with the notes and chords on the keyboard to achieve the sound they’d like. The net result is an incredibly creepy robot-like singer.
To make sure that the musician is getting the words he or she desires, there is an electronic display on the keyboard that shows the generated words in katakana. I imagine this could be translated into other languages, but Yamaha’s Vocaloid Keyboard is currently only available in Japanese… and when I say “available,” I mean not available, because Yamaha has no intention of launching this as a commercial product just yet.