The NHK-led project, which Yamaha assisted with, set out to use modern AI (artificial intelligence) technology to present a live performance of a new song by Hibari Misora—an illustrious entertainer who long stood at the forefront of popular music in Japan—to commemorate the 30th anniversary of her passing. Using cutting-edge 4K 3D video to reproduce her likeness, Hibari Misora took the stage and dazzled viewers with her rendition of the new song.
Yamaha's role in the project was to use its VOCALOID:AI technology to faithfully reproduce Hibari Misora's characteristic singing voice and speech for the live performance. Actual recordings of the artist's songs and speech made while she was still alive were used as machine learning data to reproduce her singing. The singing source data used for machine learning included background musical accompaniment, but Yamaha's accompaniment suppression technology allowed for the generation of high-quality machine learning data to further improve the quality of the singing voice.
These Yamaha technologies incorporated a relatively new and rapidly developing type of AI known as deep learning to tackle the challenge of bringing back one of Japan's foremost late singers using modern technology.
Koichi Morita, Senior General Manager of Research and Development Division, Technology Unit, Yamaha Corporation, says “We believe it was the Yamaha technologies and sensibilities cultivated over 130 years of developing and producing musical instruments and audio equipment which enabled us to successfully capture the essence of her singing. Our cooperation in this project with this new evolution of singing synthesis technology has illuminated new possibilities in music by transcending the barriers of time to dazzle listeners with incredible singing.”