Sampling The Dead
August 26, 2004 1:07 PM   Subscribe

A couple of years ago, Natalie Cole sang a duet with her dead dad via tape splicing. Digital audio sampling has come far. But, does the sampling technology exist to create a whole new songs (e.g. new Frank Sinatra sing new songs)?
posted by Duck_Lips to Media & Arts (8 answers total)
Nearly. There is technology such as Vocaloid, a speech synthesiser which can sing notes. You load it with voice "fonts" or "libraries" which are designed to sound like particular voices. Perhaps one day it will be possible to approximate a famous voice - either by modelling it on existing recordings or by employing an impersonator to programme the voice library.
posted by skylar at 1:21 PM on August 26, 2004

My husband is the creative director and audio team manager for a company that deals in voice recognition and response systems, and part of what his team does is record audio prompts that are then concatenated to create smooth, natural speech.

I am going to guess, just from what I know from dinner table conversation, that yes. A person could painstakingly rearrange previously recorded words, parts of words, and phrases into new combinations.
posted by padraigin at 1:31 PM on August 26, 2004

Some female country singer just had a hit (country charts at least) with a duet with George Jones. Who has been dead for some years. The article I read said she and her producer spent months combing Jones tapes for just the right versions of words/sounds to make up the new lyrics.
posted by billsaysthis at 2:00 PM on August 26, 2004

CHATR is a speech synthesizer that can imitate a person's speech, after being "trained" with some of their speech samples. Towa Tei wrote a song called CHATR that uses the synthesizer to imitate two human voices. You can check out a sample of the song here [links to an MP3 file].

It's obviously not entirely convincing yet, but perhaps before much longer...
posted by vorfeed at 2:06 PM on August 26, 2004

footnote: this type of technology was the basis of a 1983 episode of the great Whiz Kids tv show.
posted by gluechunk at 2:08 PM on August 26, 2004

Anita Cochran's "duet" with George Jones.

A google on - "Anita Cochran" "George Jones" duet - turned up a lot of results, but first I had to go back through my email to figure out who it was that created the duet. That link is the I'm feeling lucky result.
posted by jacquilynne at 2:21 PM on August 26, 2004

Some female country singer just had a hit (country charts at least) with a duet with George Jones. Who has been dead for some years.

Actually, George Jones is still alive. Conway Twitty is dead though.
posted by hootch at 4:01 PM on August 26, 2004

As an aside, of sorts. I read somewhere that some researchers (from MIT?) manipulated recordings of a English-speaking newsreader and spliced the phonemes and intonations together to make the newsreader speak Spanish. (I googled to no avail.)
posted by philfromhavelock at 7:57 PM on August 27, 2004

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