Vocaloid Resonance Controls – Part 1

 

By Joe Hogan – March 2004

In this brief article I will attempt to explain what the vocaloid resonance controls are, and give some pointers as to how they can be used. Please note that this is a small article, and will only scratch the surface of what is a massive subject. I hope this tutorial will point users in the right direction, and inspire them to experiment.

What is a resonance?

What they aren’t: The Vocaloid resonance controls are NOT a parametric EQ or a filter!! …. Well not in the conventional sense anyway, but you can get some crazy synth like filtering effects when using extreme settings.

What they are: Vocaloid singing happens by attempting to synthesise the resonances of the human voice. There are many resonances covering the whole vocal frequency range, these resonances are known as formants. Formants are crucial as they not only govern the timbre (gender, richnes etc) of the voice but also the pronunciation of the vowels. During synthesis, Vocaloid is shifting the resonances around, effectively morphing the sounds into each other.

For example the phoneme ‘aI’ (sounds like ‘eye’) starts with the sound ‘uh’ and then changes to ‘ee’, with a slight ‘y’ sound. During synthesis each of the resonances will move producing the required sound.

The 4 resonance controls in the vocaloid editor modify the values of the first 4 formants (0-3 in the graph). They are the lowest in frequency and they are the most important as they are not only the loudest, but they also dictate the percieved shape of the mouth and how a vowel is pronounced.

Each of the 4 resonances has 3 controls… amplitude (volume), frequency (pitch) and band width (Q), each of these ranges from 0-127 with 64 being the default.

It is important to note that the resonance controls are relative….. So, the changes you make to the resonance tracks are affecting the synthesis that is already taking place.

For example if a resonance frequency control is set to 64 you will get no change in sound. And if you increase the frequency of the resonance, you are increasing the frequency of that formant above where vocaloid would normally be synthesising it. The same principle applies to both Amplitude and bandwidth as well. This is why the controls are measured in a relative manner, and NOT in specific values like dB and hz.

So What are they for?

One of the main uses for the resonance controls is to change the pronunciation of the vowels. You can change one vowel into another if you want, or you can make hybrid vowels that are in between 2 normal vowels.Its a tricky technique, but you can even use this to change the dialect of vocaloid.

You can also use resonances to thin or thicken up both vowel or voiced consonant. But as the resonances do not affect the noise component of the synthesis, they will not affect unvoiced consonants in any way.

Please read part 2 to see some examples of the Vocaloid resonances in use…

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