April 2015

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The History is Pretty Neat!
Vocaloid is a musical voice synthesizer that had been developed with the research led by Kenmochi Hideki at the Pomeru Fabra University in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain in 2000. the project itself was backed up by the Yamaha Corporation as to help develop the software despite not originally intending to be as popular and for commercial use as it is today. It had been released on January 15, 2004 and the stable release as of today is the Vocaloid 4. It was intended for professional musicians as well as light computer users seeing as the developers had their users sold on the idea that “the only limits are the users’ own skills.”
It is currently available in Japanese, English, Korean, Spanish, Chinese, and Catalan. The operating systems needed to run this program include Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7/8 and the Apple iOS (also iVocaloid, but that is a product exclusive only to Japan).

User Friendly!
The users type in lyrics and melody in order to synthesize together a song as the program itself has specially recorded vocals of voice actors or singers. A piano roll type. The users can change the stress of pronunciations, add effects (such as vibrato) or change the altogether dynamics of the voice. The vocals are also refereed to as ‘a singer in a box’.

Awesome Singers!
It was originally only available in English with the first singer in a box, Leon, Lola, and Miriam. The later Japanese modification added Meiko and Kaito, as the addition with Vocaloid 3 included Bruno, Clara and Maki for the Spanish update. Later, the Chinese update added Luo Tianyi and Yahne, as the Korean adjustment added SeeU. The most popular Vocaloid singer however is none other than diva pop star Hatsune Miku from Japan.

How does it work?
The system uses concatenation synthesis that is specially programmed to splice and process vocal fragments extracted from human voices singing in singing in synthesis to produce realistic voices by adding the different forms of information to add different vocal expressions such as the vibrato (in short, it’s a smart recording program that you can mess around with). The Vocaloid synthesis technology had been originally named “Frequency-Domain Singing Articulation Splicing and Shaping,” but it was too difficult to remember for most users and Yamaha dropped the name, going as far as to not use the name on their websites.
The Vocaloid 2 synthesis engines had been designed for singing and not reading text out loud despite software such as Vocaloid-flex and Viceroid having been developed for that very reason; naturally, the voices cannot replicate singing expressions like hoarse voices or shouting.
The main parts to the system is the Score Editor, the Singer Library, and the Synthesis Engine. The Synthesis Engine receives score information from the score editor and selects appropriate samples from the singer library, and concatenates them to output the synthesized voices. Yamaha had provided that there be almost no difference in the Score Editor and the Synthesis Engine among different Vocaloid 2 products. Currently, the system operates in Japanese and English, but other languages may be optional to operate under in the future.
The Score Editor is a piano roll style editor that allows the user to input notes, lyrics, and certain expressions that is then automatically converted into phonetic symbols using the built-in pronunciation dictionary which  can be directly edited by the user. The editor itself has a supportive program of ReWire that can be synchronized with the DAW as well as the MIDI Keyboard program having the user able to have a real-time

Singer Library?
Each Vocaloid liscence is in the Sibnger Library that has all possible combinations of  phonemes (pronunciations) of the target languages as well as a chain of diphones (stitching together of the sounds). An example would be to make the word “sing” as to synthesize the sequence of diphones “#-s, s-I, I-N, N-#”. the system itself is able to change the pitch of the fragments so that it could fit the melody by using three or more pitch changes as three or four different ranges are required to be stored in the library. The Japanese singers usually have less diphones as they basically use only three patterns of the diphones containing a voiceless-consonant, vowel-consonant, and a consonant-vowel. English, however has many closed syllables ending in a consonant and a consonant-consonant as well as a consonant-voiceless diphone. that being said, more diphones are to be used and recorded into the English library than the Japanese ones and it is because of this that a Japanese library would not be correctly suitable for singing in English as most would assume.

Software Bridges
Other softwares that were made after Vocaloid include:
Vocaloid-Flex: A speech synthesizer to get the tone naturally closer to a human’s to be used in other programs (this was used in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker).
VocaListener: Allows realistic songs to be produced.
MikuMikuDance: A 3D modeling system to move characters, stages and props as well as enter music in the background and render into videos (also known as MMD).
NetVocaloid: Uses synthesized singing voices connected to the internet, however after 2012, Yamaha no longer offered it on their website.
MMDAgent: Allows users to interact with the 3D models of the Vocaloid mascots
NetVocalis: Similar to VocaListener
Vocaloid Editor for Cubase:
Vocalodama: an iOs game app using the Vocaloid software
Vocaloid Net: A replacement of the NetVocaloid service that added cloud storage
Vocaloid First: offered as a free version on Vocaloid that contains the VY1 vocal in low quality form, released for the iPhone
Other hardware bridges include the Vocaloid-Board and the eVocaloid.

Cultural Impact
Ths software itself had become very popular in Japan upon the release of Crypton Future Media’s Hatsune Miku Vocaloid 2 software and her success leading to the popularity of the Vocaloid software in general. Japanese video sharing website NicoNico had also played a large part in its upbringing popularity. A user of the Hatsune Miku singer released a video that showed “Hachune Miku,” a super deformed Miku that held a Welsh onion (also known as Negi or Leek) and sang the Finnish song “Ievan Polkka” that much resembeled the flash animation “Loituma Girl.” As the population of the Vocaloid software grew, NicoNico Douga became a place for collaborative creation in where 2D and 3D animations and remixes were created by the users to make videos. The software has also been used to tell stories using the song and verse to make the Story of Evil series popular. Another theatre production based on the Cantarella song had hit the stage and ran in Shibuya’s Space Zero theatre in Tokyo from August 3 to August 7 in 2011. After a while, YouTube and file sharing sites found their way across the world and spread its influence like wildfire across the US and China, making its way to Europe and other such countries.

Detective Deadlock – Chapter 4: Big Alexander

Officer Winston stepped out of a doughnut shop holding several sugar-coated pastries in his hands.  He approached his police car and attempted to reach for his keys.  Instead, his keys fell out of his pocket and into a nearby sidewalk gutter.  The heavy rain began pushing it further down the street.  He set his doughnuts on the car and chased after the keys.

“No, no, no!” Winston held onto his buckle as he ran toward the keys.  He reached down to pick it up only for it to slide loose from his hand once again.

Every huge step he took, his body jiggled a bit.  He ended up chasing the keys down to a nearby street.  When they finally came to stop at a piece of trash stuck in the gutter, Winston heard gunfire erupting in the distance.

One of the bald men fell to the floor electrified after Annika lined up a perfect shot.  Deadlock on the other hand was locked in close quarters with the other goon.  Both of them had their hands on the rifle as the opposing kept trying to push it to the other’s face.  Annika charged up her tazer again and aimed at Deadlock’s adversary.

The man kicked the detective down and knocked Annika’s tazer out of her hands.  He grabbed her neck with his bulky hands and lifted her up into the air.

“It was a foolish move to have a child fight me, detective!” he sulked.

Suddenly, the man’s kneecaps popped open.  Several powerful bullets pierced through, causing him to let go of Annika and tumble to the ground.  Winston held a magnum revolver with a smoking barrel in his hand.

“Man, it sure has been a while!” Winston said excitedly.

“My legs!  I can’t feel my legs!  I can’t!” the goon cried.

Deadlock got up to his feet.  He looked around at the situation; Winston holstering his revolver again and Annika grasping her neck to try and soothe it.  Behind both of them he saw Detective R pointing into the building where the men were unloading the crates of guns.  Detective R walked into a nearby alleyway out of Deadlock’s view.

“Annika, follow me.  Winston, make sure no one gets out of here. Call for backup,” the detective ordered as he rushed into the building through its open garage.

Deadlock held his gun closer with his sights aligned with his eyes.  Annika was behind him, looking for anything suspicious.

“Did you see that boy run in here?” the detective asked about the teenager from earlier.

“I-I’m not sure.  I lost sight of him.”

Deadlock held his hand up and gestured the rookie to stay silent.  He overheard someone’s voice down the hallway.  The ceiling lights flickered as the two detectives moved in.  The voices were heard behind a solid metal door.

“What do you mean Darren and Joseph were captured?  Why weren’t you there to help them!” a strong-toned man shouted.

“I’m sorry, boss.  The officers-Deadlock is with them!” the teenager warned.

“So what?  A cop with a good nose ain’t worth nothing in these parts.  He’s as good as dead if he expects to take someone like Big Al down!”

Deadlock kicked down the door and scanned the room with his gun in hand.  He noticed a bulky man wearing a thin striped grey suit and the teen from before wearing a black hoodie.  Annika and him aimed both their weapons at the two.

“You led them to me, you useless mutt!” the man smacked the back of the boy’s head.

“I’m sorry, boss!” the boy dashed toward a high up window and climbed through an opening.

“Annika go after him!  I’ll take care of Mr. Meat here!” Deadlock ordered.

The rookie ran right after the teen and followed through the same opening.  The detective in the meantime, held his magnum steady on the bulky figure.

“Tell me, Al…Where’d you get the mutation serums you’re handing out?”

The bulky man held his hands up and started circling around the room as Deadlock opposed him.  “Handing out?  I think of it as kind of a charity.  Giving the loneliest souls a brand new power and purpose.  Stirring up havoc in a city like this, it’s an anarchist’s dream!”

“Is that your plan?  Causing mayhem like some kind of joker?”

“Of course not.  What good is spreading chaos if you can’t be the boss anymore?  I run the streets below you, I have connections that go far beyond the city, and it’s just your police department and that random psychopath that keep my plans from going through!” Big Al shouted.

“Psychopath?  Tell me if we’re talking about the same person…mohawk?  Checked shirt?” Deadlock asked.

“Dark blue jeans, not really much of a mohawk anymore, more or less she just braided the side of her head.”

“Oh the coincidences are finally adding up.  Was it your goons that were shot up the other night?”

“Yeah…yeah!  Were you there too?  Maybe we can work together and compromise, say?” Al suggested with a condescending tone.

“Sure.  When hell freezes over.  You’re coming with me, Al,” the detective kept his magnum fixed on the bulky figure.

Then he noticed Detective R right behind him.  He was pointing toward the window that Annika and the teen escaped from.  A slight scraping sound was made followed by the entire window shattering.

“I was afraid you were going to say that…” Big Al said disappointingly.

Several mutants bashed through and snarled at Deadlock.  They jumped right at him while Big Al ran out the door.  One of the mutants had a maniacal laugh as he clawed at the detective’s overcoat.  The other two grabbed the detective’s legs and began pulling.  Frustrated, Deadlock stuck the magnum’s barrel in the first mutant’s nose.  He shot the high powered round, silencing the laughter and sending the now headless mutant off of him.  He grabbed another mutant with his mechanical arm and wrapped his fingers around his skull.

“You pull my leg one more time, I will bash your head open, got it?” the detective aimed his magnum at the third as they both stared at him.

Officer Winston entered with several other cops.  They pried the mutants off of Deadlock and helped him up.

“Winston, where’s Annika?” Deadlock asked.

“Hey you!  Stop!” Annika shouted as she chased after the teenager down the empty sidewalk.

“Forget you, lady!”

“Stop right now!  I’m a CCPD Officer and you are under arrest!” Annika said panting.

The teenager climbed up a few dumpsters and grabbed onto the fire exit of a brick building.  Annika fired her tazer but missed and hit a brick near the teen’s head.  The teen pulled a firecracker from his hand and threw it at Annika.  It popped near her feet and sent her tumbling back in shock.

“You little!” Annika stood back up and followed him up the fire escape.

Annika reached the roof and spotted the teenager make a dash for the edge.  She tackled him down and got in an arm lock.  The teenager forced the rookie’s hand away from him before she could charge up the tazer and fire it again.

“Big Al says you cops shouldn’t get involved here!  Even one of your own got down to our level!” the teen shouted.

“What!” Annika kicked the teen’s shins.

As soon as he tripped, the rookie took the opportunity and fired the tazer at him.  He shuddered as the electricity surged through his veins.

“What do you mean one of our cops got down to your level?” Annika asked.

“I-I ain’t no snitch, y-you ain’t gettin’ nothing outta me!” the boy responded.

“Well, let’s see if my superior has anything to say about that…” the rookie remarked as she handcuffed the teen and pulled him toward the fire exit.

His feet hurt.

Sure, everything else wasn’t doing too great either but his feet hurt worst of all.

And why wouldn’t they? As he wandered through the ruins of his once beloved city, his bare feet endured perpetual pains of sharp glass, rough concrete, and piercing pieces of rubble.

With the sounds of gunfire drawing nearer and nearer, the young boy began to hurry. He didn’t have any particular destination in mind but he kept going nonetheless. He realized long ago that he wasn’t necessarily looking for an escape; he was merely trying to stay alive.

His breathing became ragged and heavy as he stumbled through the various pieces of debris and climbed through the crumbling houses, trying to avoid stepping on the especially sharp pieces of rock. He could see a warm mist escape his mouth with every pant and after a short while began to feel a growing pain in his right side. Disregarding the pain his body felt and ignoring the tortuous fire growing in his feet, he continued to run through the ruins.

His foot-eye coordination failed him for a fraction of a second but he nonetheless landed hard on a deformed rock that was sharp, ragged, and bent his foot in a weird way upon contact. With a cry of pain and a moment of panic, the boy fell to the ground clutching his right foot. As he lay there among the rubble, the sounds of gunfire considerably quieter than they had been a few minutes ago, he began to feel a warm liquid run over his hands. He raised his head and looked at his foot and saw his hands were almost completely covered in blood.

He raised himself up to a sitting position to examine his foot further. Slowly, he removed his right hand from his wound and applied even more pressure with his left hand. Being careful not to aggravate the wound or make a mistake, the boy carefully grabbed a fistful of the fabric that used to be a shirt and ripped a large piece off. He then began to wrap his foot as best he could using this makeshift gauze. With the small yet painful wound closed up as best as possible, the boy sat back to examine his feet.

Both were covered in so much dirt that they were almost as black as the pair of shoes he was wearing on the day of the attack. This instance of falling and cutting his foot was not the first time he’d experienced such a thing. His feet were covered in scabs and scars that only formed over the past few days. Both feet were so dry and dirty and scabby that small aggravations were enough to tear open the skin and unleash onslaughts of blood.

It took a while for the boy to realize he had started to cry. It took him even longer to realize why it was that he was crying. He wasn’t crying for his parents, wherever they may have been, or for his destroyed home or for his fallen friends or for his destroyed city or for the terrible fighting that was happening all around him at this very moment. No, he was crying for the loss of those little black shoes. They had been a brand new pair that he was wearing for the second time on the day of the attack. They were small and hard and were made of leather; they were a gift from his father, which was in it of itself a rare occurrence.

The boy knew that if only he still had them, then his feet would be protected from the merciless battleground and he would be without this constant pain and suffering that made him wish to run up to a soldier, grab his gun, and shoot off his own feet.

Thinking of his shoes, the boy began thinking of the day of the attack, which had only been a mere three days ago.

He had been in his house with his family as they all prepared for supper. He and his mother had just come back from the market purchasing ingredients so he still had on his new pair of black shoes. He had preparing the dining area, his mother had been making the final preparations for supper, and his father had almost returned home from his work.

Just as he was setting the final dining spot, however, he felt a rumble coming from somewhere. He didn’t hear anything, he didn’t see anything, but he knew something was wrong nonetheless, a strong feeling in his gut told him so.

Suddenly a far-off vibration could be heard and it grew louder and louder until the sky instantaneously opened up into a chorus of mechanical screams and roars. The boy dropped the plate he was holding, ignored the loud crash and subsequent rain of broken glass, and ran outside. He looked up at the late, blue-yellow sky and saw multiple bomber planes race across the airy expanse.

Just then, he saw one of the bombers drop what looked to be a large black egg onto a neighborhood that was a few miles away from his own. The neighborhood lit up in a column of fire and smoke and the force of the explosion tore across the landscape and pelted the boy with such fury that his hat flew off his head.

Somewhere far off, the boy heard his mother scream his name. He heard her rush outside and run to his side. He felt her shaking his body and trying to pull her with him. However, he paid her no mind as his full attention was focused on the scene unfolding before him. Dozens of bomber planes jetted over his city and dropped bomb after bomb after bomb. Houses exploded, churches flew into the sky in balls of fire, parks and ponds were covered in layers of soot and smoke. His vision was getting blurry and for a moment the boy worried that he was about to pass out or even die. It took him a second to realize his eyes were overflowing with tears.

His mother finally succeeded in pulling him away and then commenced a terrifying period of 48 hours in which he and his mother attempted to make their way to the capital building of the city which had a secure bunker deep beneath the ground.

They travelled inseparably for the first day, running through alleyways, over rooftops, and across busy streets with their heads ducked and their knees bent. He never let go of his mother’s hand through it all.

That is, until, they met up with another group of survivors that was also making its way to the capital. At one point, when trying to cross an open street, the de facto leader of the group, an aging man with a patchy, white beard, ordered the members to cross the group one pair at a time. Before his mother could protest, another woman grabbed her hand, ripped her free of the boy, and dragged her across the battlefield. His mother cried the whole way across the street and began wailing hysterically as soon as they reached the other side. The boy also felt a moment of dread and unease but the leader’s reassuring hand in his own helped to calm his nerves.

However, just as they were about to make a break for the other side, a flurry of bullets began erupting from each side of the street and multiple bombs and grenades exploded all over the street. Deeming the street now impassible, the leader yelled across the street for the remaining members to head to the capital building where he and the boy would rendezvous with them there.

The boy’s mother would have raced across the street at that moment if not for some man holding her back and dragging her around the alley corner. After seeing his crying mother disappear from sight, the boy began to sob there in the alleyway as the sounds of war raged around him. The leader got down on his knees to look in the boy’s face and did all he could to assuage the young child before finally grabbing his hand and whisking him away.

From there the two of them travelled across the ruined city together. For almost 18 hours, the boy and the leader travelled in the shadows and under cover hoping to make it to the capital unharmed. And they would have, had it not been for an incredible stroke of bad luck and the leader’s selflessness.

When making their way slowly through an alleyway, one of the doors in the alleyway suddenly burst open and there stood a fully armed soldier. The soldier spotted the boy and the leader and began shouting commands in a language that was unknown to the boy. Without hesitation the leader rushed to the soldier and began wrestling him for control of the soldier’s rifle. Screaming through gritted teeth, the leader ordered the boy to run away and make it to the capital building and back to his mother. The boy still stood there, though, distraught as he thought of the possibility of losing yet another person. With tears in his eyes, he decided to stay by the leader’s side at all costs. The leader then looked back over his shoulder a second time, met the boy’s eyes with his own, and screamed at the top of his lungs for the boy to get away.

Terrified, hurt, and heartbroken, the boy ran. He ran and ran without thought. He ran even after he heard the sound of the fatal gunshot ricochet off the alley walls. He ran even after he heard the soldier bark orders at him as he gave chase. He ran even though he had yet to completely acknowledge the fact that he was now all alone.

The boy eventually lost his pursuer and collapsed against the wall of a house he had wandered into. As he sat there, trying to catch his breath as the sun’s dying light slowly moved across the opposite wall, it was then, at that moment, that the boy realized that at some point throughout all the chaos and mayhem, he had lost his little black shoes.

The boy did eventually make it to the capital building…or at least, where it once stood. In its place was a mountain of rubble that rose high above the boy’s head. He collapsed in front of the rubble as he realized, without a trace of doubt, that he’d never see his mother again; that all those people who did make it to the underground bunker were gone forever; that there was no hope left for the city or for its inhabitants; that he would be alone for the rest of his life.

There he broke. He collapsed to the ground and rolled around and around, sobbing. His face became a wet, sticky mess and he screamed so loudly that every breath hurt and every convulsion racked his insides until his stomach and sides were sore and cramping.

After he ceased his crying, he continued to lie there, in a paradoxical sort of undisturbed peace and calm, until night fell and the sounds of fighting began to draw nearer. That was when he began his barefoot wanderings.

After reminiscing on the past few days and after crying over the memories, the boy slowly rose from the rubble and began walking once more. He tested the makeshift bandage on his foot tentatively and was pleased to see it held.

He began walking again. Once more, he had no idea where exactly he was heading but he continued traveling nonetheless.

He limped along an alleyway when a door opening from the alley burst open and there stood a fully armed soldier. After looking around the alley, the soldier locked eyes with the boy and the two of them froze. After what felt like an hour had passed, the boy broke his trance and unleashed a terrified scream and turned around and ran for where he had come from.

Before he could get away, however, he felt a powerful hand envelope itself around him and pull him back.

“Wait, wait, kid, calm down.”

The boy resisted the soldier’s grip and fought against his pull.

“Kid, relax, I don’t want to hurt you.”

Unsure of the language the soldier was speaking but able to understand his tone, the boy ceased his struggles and looked at the soldier. The soldier was dressed differently than the one who had killed the leader; the color and design of his uniform were different.

Then the soldier removed his hat and sunglasses and smiled at the boy. His eyes were a beautiful blue that twinkled in a way the sun couldn’t and the boy melted in his arms. He burst into tears and collapsed into the soldier’s arms. The soldier slung his rifle over his shoulder and picked up the war-torn boy in his arms. He brought his radio to his mouth and spoke into it but the boy paid him no mind. He simply lay there in the soldier’s arms as the exhaustion and heartache escaped from his body and soul.

At some point the boy fell asleep and the soldier carried him to his convoy and back to his base camp. There he delivered the boy to the refugee center and personally clothed him in a new, clean set of clothes. While folding away the boy’s old, torn rags, the boy awoke in a start. He began to panic and looked around the tent bewildered and afraid, he began to hyperventilate and cry until the soldier went to his bedside.

“Woah, woah, woah, calm down, it’s okay. You’re safe now.” The soldier smiled again and once more his eyes lit up.

The boy calmed down and overcame his initial distraught.  Then his eyes began to wander around the tent he found himself in.  Cots lined the lengths of the tent, a few filled with people who looked as bad as the boy felt.  While still looking around, the soldier spoke up.

“So tell me, what’s your name, kid?”

The boy looked at the soldier, confused.

The soldier cleared his throat and made sure to enunciate slowly. “What is your name?”

Again, the boy gave no response.

The soldier sighed and turned and called over a medic who spoke the native language. The medic translated the soldier’s question for the boy.

The boy looked from the medic then back to the soldier.


The soldier smiled and reached from behind him.

“Well, Mohamed, I was waiting for you to wake up before I gave this to you. Now I’m not sure it’s an exact fit but I made the best measurements I could. But after seeing the condition of your feet, I thought you’d appreciate these.”

Mohamed cocked his head to the side in confusion but before the medic could translate, the soldier brought his hands forward, each one holding one half of the soldier’s gift.

A brand new pair of clean, white shoes.