The Blue and Gold

VOCALOID

Marie Ishida

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VOCALOID

 

 

The following girl with blue hair shown to the right is Hatsune Miku. She looks like a stereotypical anime girl, right? However, she actually is from a program called VOCALOID. This article will explain what VOCALOID is and introduce several popular VOCALOIDs and VOCALOID songs.

VOCALOID is a voice synthesizing program in which users are able to type lyrics and melody into the program to compose songs. It is produced by Yamaha Corporation and sold by Crypton Future Media. They have released many different voicebanks for use with VOCALOID. The voicebanks are referred to as VOCALOIDs that are sold as virtual idols. Some have even gone to “perform” at “live shows” with an on-stage projection.

VOCALOIDs are programed for Japanese, English, Korean, Chinese, Spanish, and Catalan, though most sing in one language. However, the software was only available in English and Japanese at first. The first VOCALOIDs that were released in English were Lola, Leon and Miriam, and in Japanese, Meiko and Kaito. These VOCALOIDs were released in 2004. Later, in 2007, VOCALOID 2 was released, and users had the ability to make VOCALOIDs sing with vibrato. The synthesizer was also revamped, and Japanese VOCALOIDs were given a Japanese interface. It was in this year that the popular Hatsune Miku made her first appearance. Then, VOCALOID 3 was released in 2011, as well many new voicebanks. VOCALOID 4 (V4) was then released in 2014, and V4 versions of different VOCALOIDs. Finally, VOCALOID 5 was released in July 2018 in which the user interface and engine were upgraded. There are other VOCALOID products, as well, such as the VOCALOID Editor for Cubase, a music production program, and MikuMikuDance, a 3D animation program.

Now you may be wondering what kinds of VOCALOIDs there are. The most popular is Hatsune Miku, who was the first VOCALOID to be produced by Crypton Future Media, after Yamaha released Meiko and Kaito. Another popular VOCALOID duo is Kagamine Rin and Len. They are often depicted as twins, but are officially described as “two bodies with one soul.” There are many songs that include both of their vocals as a duet. Gumi, or Megpoid, is another well-known VOCALOID. Gumi is from a different company than Miku, but people make many songs with Gumi and Miku’s vocals. Meiko and Kaito are very popular as well. They are two seperate VOCALOIDs, unlike the Kagamines, and they are two complementary VOCALOIDs, Meiko with a feminine voice, Kaito with a masculine voice. Two other well-known VOCALOIDs are Megurine Luka and Kamui Gakupo.

Many people use VOCALOIDs to create songs, ranging from solo songs to songs sung by 8-9 VOCALOIDs. There are a variety of songs that are sung by VOCALOIDs as well. Below is a list of popular songs sung by different VOCALOIDs. Please note that most songs are in Japanese.

 

  1. World is Mine (Hatsune Miku)

This song is about a spoiled girl (Miku) who imagines herself as a princess the world revolves around. She explains her struggles falling in love with a boy. There are many covers of this song, but the main character is almost always portrayed as a fickle and short-tempered girl.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KMHXgUr7gYM

 

  1. ECHO (GUMI)

This is one of the few English songs that is very well known. Made by the VOCALOID producers CircusP and Crusher-P, also known as CIRCRUSH, this song can be interpreted in many ways. However, the song does have questionable lyrics and flashing images, so people should be cautious when watching this video.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQKGUgOfD8U

 

  1. Senbonzakura (Hatsune Miku)

This is a very popular song and has stayed in the top VOCALOID rankings for quite a while. It is based off of the Meiji Restoration, or the westernization of Japan. Though this song does have an upbeat melody, it does bring up dark themes, and the lyrics mention guillotines and ICBMs (intercontinental ballistic missiles). This song was composed by Kurousa-P (music and lyrics), Hajime (guitar), Ittomaru (illustrations), and Mienohito (video).

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mqps4anhz0Q

 

  1. Night ∞ Series (Hatsune Miku, Kagamine Rin, Kagamine Len, MEIKO, KAITO, GUMI, Megurine Luka, and Kamui Gakupo)

This is one of the songs that include multiple VOCALOIDS, and is actually a series of four songs; Bad ∞ End ∞ Night, Crazy ∞ nighT, Twilight ∞ Night, and EveR ∞ LastinG ∞ NighT.  All four songs are composed by Hitoshizuku-P x Yama△, with Suzunosuke who did the illustrations, Hidari who made the original character designs, and TSO and VAVA as PV artists. Each song tells the story of a village girl (Hatsune Miku) who finds a mysterious mansion and gets trapped in time, along with the mansion’s inhabitants (KAITO as the head of the house, MEIKO as the lady of the house, Luka as their daughter, Rin and Len as talking dolls, Gakupo as the butler, and GUMI as the maid). They are trapped in a play called Crazy ∞ nighT, though nobody knows what is truly going on. It does seem that there is a third party that is viewing the play and (possibly) in control of the entire play as seen in Twilight ∞ Night.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WDUA7z3703g (Bad ∞ End ∞ Night)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7O11PAcAw4 (Crazy ∞ nighT)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x847XAeQxAQ (Twilight ∞ Night)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_4XWMm1O9bo (EveR ∞ LastinG ∞ NighT)

 

  1. Luka Luka Night Fever (Megurine Luka)

Composed by samfree, this song is about a 2D woman who wants to break through the different “dimensions.” This is one of Luka’s most popular and well known songs. Five days after it was released, the song quickly became popular and exceeded 100,000 views. One year later, it gained one million views.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NBNzdlmNO-k

 

  1. Tokyo Teddy Bear (Kagamine Rin)

This song has vague lyrics, and can be interpreted in many ways. One interpretation of this song is about how a little boy wants to run away from his family and change himself. However, he appears to fear that changing himself would only make him look like a fool. Another meaning for this song is that the teddy bear shown in the song represents the boy. Because the bear is beat up and torn, it could represent the boy’s internal suffering. Anyhow, this song gained over 100,000 views and is still very popular among many people.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LYto1Vhkixg

 

  1. Nostalogic (MEIKO)

This song has various interpretations; but it is most likely telling the tale of MEIKO, who longs for the days of the past (Hence Nostalogic – not Nostalgic). Produced by Yuukiss, a vocaloid producer famous for using MEIKO in many of their songs. This song has also been used as Sakine Meiko’s (A younger version of MEIKO) first song.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FAAG3OOqIaw

 

  1. Snowman (KAITO)

This song was composed by halyosy, and was commissioned by SEGA for the game Project Mirai 2. This song is interpreted as a lonely boy’s wish “I want to be with you,” and is granted when his snowman (KAITO) comes to life. The boy tells the snowman that he has lied to his mother and he starts to cry. The snowman tries to comfort the boy, but fails to do so. The boy continues to lie to his mother, saying that he is succeeding in his studies, sports, and that he has a lot of friends. He then explains that if he is not a good boy, his mother will disappear soon. With the help of the snowman, the boy brings all of his classmates to his house to prove that he is not lying to his mother. The boy’s mother then lies to him saying that she will always be with him. The snowman watches over them as he slowly melts, saying that spring will be waiting for them.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yHTBxGZRfWo

 

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Vocaloid Program Image Source

Hatsune Miku Image Source

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