It is very surprising how far I’ve come from starting this 2 years ago but never getting around to doing it… but now I am! Next week will be better in quality because I can’t stand that personal retro style of editing anymore!
Vocaloid 101: What is Vocaloid?
For those of you who are new to my channel, don’t know what Vocaloid is, or are just curious about a new type of music, then stick around- veterans may not be informed about this, but this 101 series is meant to stabilize the meaning of Vocaloid, how you can relate to it, and maybe to the point of you becoming an artist if you want. I want to bring people into the Vocaloid community as well as teach about some things you may not know about… so here we go, with your master chef Demosthenes, I’ll teach you everything I know, and more!
Question 1: What is Vocaloid?
For those of you new to Vocaloid or are just happening upon this video because your kid is talking about this strange “Vocaloid” you know nothing about, then do not be alarmed, because I will answer this very simple question. Vocaloid is a synthetic, computerized voice manipulation program used specifically for music for the purpose of singing. Think of it this way, you have a keyboard that can play drum beats by pressing a button, think of Vocaloid as the drum beats on the keyboard, but using individual vowels and consonants that are pressed in a certain way to form a treasure trove of words from varying languages…
A Vocaloid is a character associated with a voice bank, and while the art style is anime-esque with big eyes, and cute cartoon style watercolor- don’t get mad hardcore fans, this is a way to inform on a level almost all people can understand- but do not be fooled, these voice banks are contributed by real people from varying nationalities and languages, and sometimes this can translate into the character design as well, especially the American English Vocaloids.
These things are not singers, while used as singers, but as instruments for any type of use. There are some called Voiceroids, which are Vocaloids used for speech rather than song being as how Vocaloids are unique in that they have a vibrato, range, open mouth style, and pretty much anything else a real singer has- sometimes has a heavy accent, but that has more to do with the contributor for the Vocaloid not being able to use the English language properly, or with Megurine Luka v4, which came with an incomplete English voice bank…
This brings us to-
Question 2: Is Vocaloid Just Japanese?
Actually, here’s a tidbit of information that some veterans may not know- Vocaloid was developed by YAMAHA, yes the one that makes drums, keyboards, and boats, in Europe in 2004… the starting stages were a work in progress since 1999- or somewhere around that. The first ever Vocaloid was Lola… and then Leon- but these two were meant to be for operatic sounds for YAMAHA’s keyboard function like I mentioned before- it wasn’t how they marketed it though, which lead to it’s eventual failure- more on that in an According to Demo Video. Leon and Lola were voice by one woman who sung soul and a little RnB… So there’s that… Japan took it, and formed it around their cutesy culture, and boom we have it.
If you’re worried about not understanding the lyrics, most famous songs are already translated in videos on youtube, where most people listen to Vocaloid… but Vocaloid is special because it isn’t about the singer if she’s bad or not- for some, it may be, depending on how well the song is done, but if in one song Hatsune Miku, the poster girl of Vocaloid, says a bad word… it doesn’t mean she is bad on a universal scale.
Question 3: Who Makes The Music?
The main foundation of all Vocaloid is the music behind it… ranging from all types of genres like Pop to Jazz to Rock to Metal to Death Metal and pretty much any type of genre, and not to mention Producers like Utsu-P and Yuyoyuppe, created a new type of music using the cute little girls of Vocaloid and adding intense metal music that has turned out to be a sensation across Japan.
The people who create the music can either be a commissioner, who makes music for any purpose, not just for Vocaloid, a group of people like a band, or just the Producer themselves. Producers are specific people who take credit for the songs they produce under their name, but try not to forget the artists that work along with them. Producers, according to Piapro, a major Vocaloid site, says that to be a producer, you have to Manipulate the Vocaloids voice yourself at minimum… This is sad for the actual music makers, but most of the time, the Producers mooch off of other Producers and ask for some help, like all those music videos with (Feat. Blah) it’s not that way with Vocaloid- it can be, but it’s usually Blah A & Blah B, not Blah A (Feat. Blah B)- but like I said, it can be, just not usually.
Most Producers have a ‘P’ at the end of their name, like Pinocchio-P, Machigerita-P, and sometimes use katakana names if they are Japanese, like Utsu-P, which in English, means Depression-P… and mostly, their names reflect their music.
Question 4: Is Vocaloid a Genre?
No, well kinda, not really, but think about this, Vocaloid is classified by YAMAHA as an instrument… would you hear a jazz piano in a heavy metal song? Mostly, not, but someone could have done it. It might be good, it might not, I don’t know. But Vocaloid can be molded into different forms and genres like an actual singer can. If you want examples:
‘Rolling Girl’ is a very popular song, and I would classify that as Pop Rock.
‘Echo’ is an extremely popular song in the American Community, and would be classified as Techno Pop.
Are you seeing a correlation here? Vocaloid works very well in Pop music, but that’s not to say it doesn’t work in very fast paced, high octane music like Xenon-P’s Speed/Power Metal music. If you know of the band DragonForce, then Xenon-P is the DragonForce of the Vocaloid world.
Yuyoyuppe is very popular in japan, as some of his songs are in the Vocaloid hall of fame. He uses metal as a propping to back up his pop undertones. A perfect mix.
I would add that Vocaloid goes very well with ambience, house, RnB, rap, jazz, blues, opera to an extent, and melodic death metal. Pop, Rock, Techno, and Nu-Metal are probably the most recognizable music genres of Vocaloid. If you look hard enough, you can find almost all genres and maybe even some mashed together to create a new genre. I know I like some of the chiptune music from Starbox. On a side note, not every producer has a P at the end.
And that’s all for this 101. I hope you understand Vocaloid a little better, I’ll be continuing this for the next- ah, until I’m done.