Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Speechless, but not songless

Here's a really awful commercial for a Microsoft product called Songsmith. The idea is that you can sing a melody (we hope) and the software finds the right chords to go with it. Interesting idea, but the music they chose is awful, and the whole commercial is hilariously bad. Definitely "sub-prime".

On the brighter side, this software may have some merit. If it gets people to sing, that's good, and I have a hunch the computer will be a bit picky about pitch so you'll be encouraged (forced, actually) to learn how to sing in tune (sorry, Kanye). And the music itself will probably develop if anyone buys this, so that future songs won't sound so much like third-world MIDI karaoke. I understand you can download this software here, but that page is not responding for me at the moment (maybe overcrowded). Let me know how it works for you. (ps, am I mistaken or is that an Apple computer the girl is using? One more chuckle at Microsoft.)

Much cooler is this device from Electro-Harmonix called the Voice Box. It picks up where the vocoder leaves off; it doesn't just superimpose your words onto a musical sound, it actually listens to the notes from the voice and the instrument, and creates the appropriate harmony parts! I wish more musicians could do this.

If you get either of these, tell me more.