How to Use the Vocaloid 2 Editor

Written by jason savage
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How to Use the Vocaloid 2 Editor
Vocaloid can emulate human singing voices with disarming accuracy. (Polka Dot RF/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

Vocaloid 2 is a virtual vocalist, or "singing synthesizer," application by Yamaha. In experienced hands, Vocaloid 2 can model the human singing voice with unprecedented accuracy. While most voices for Vocaloid, called "Vocaloids," are Japanese, there are an increasing number of English-speaking Vocaloid voices available. The Vocaloid 2 editor takes the form of a "piano roll" editor, similar to the piano roll editors found in a variety of audio sequencing applications.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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  1. 1

    Open Vocaloid 2. An empty project, or "sequence," will appear by default. It will appear in "piano roll" format --- a grid onto which notes can be written with the mouse. The vertical axis represents pitch and the horizontal axis represents time.

  2. 2

    Set the time signature and tempo for your vocal sequence. The mechanisms for doing this are located directly above the piano roll area, labelled "BEAT" and "TEMPO" respectively. Double-click the default value in order to enter a new one in each case. If the default values are suitable, leave them as they are.

  3. 3

    Click on the "Pencil Tool" button in the tool bar. The mouse cursor will change to resemble a pencil. Use this cursor to enter notes on the piano roll grid. Click at the point on the grid where the pitch and timing you desire meet. Clicking and dragging will lengthen or shorten the notes as required. Enter all of the notes of your vocal sequence in order on the piano roll grid.

  4. 4

    Enter lyrics for the notes you have entered. Do this by selecting the "Pointer Tool" from the tool bar and double-clicking the first note. A text-entry box will appear above the note. Type the lyric --- usually a single word or syllable --- and press enter. Do this for each note in the sequence.

  5. 5

    Click the "Phoneme Transformation" button in the tool bar. This will convert the lyrics you entered into phonemic data that Vocaloid 2 can interpret.

  6. 6

    Add modulation, vibrato and pitch-bending effects to make the voice sound more "human." Select "Icon Palette" from the "View" menu. A window displaying a variety of modulation options will appear. Drag and drop the effects you want onto the notes.

  7. 7

    Press "Play." Listen carefully to the sequence as it plays back. Getting the voice to sound as "human" as possible will usually require adjustment of the different effect and modulation parameters.

  8. 8

    Experiment. Beyond the basic steps already outlined, creating a vocal sequence you like is a matter of taste. Try different modulation and effects settings, or apply third-party effects like reverb or delay. When you have created a sequence you like, export it to WAV format by selecting "Save" from the "File" menu. You can now import your vocal sequence into the sequencer or mixing application of your choice.

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