Posts Tagged robot choir

Get your own Mac to sing Happy Birthday to the London Science Museum


Somebody on YouTube asked where I got the file to make my Macs sing happy birthday to the London Science Museum. I realised I’d forgotten to upload it anywhere. Or perhaps I didn’t think people would be interested, since in general if they wanted their Macs to sing happy birthday, they’d want to customise the name. The software I wrote to do this (and other things) is really still a prototype unintuitively bolted onto an unrelated prototype, with the default CoreData interface, so I’d rather not release it yet. But just in case you do want your Mac to sing happy birthday to the London Science Museum, here’s the file. There are instructions in the file on how to get it to sing.

I also just made this file where you can put the name of your choice instead of the London Science Museum; just search for ‘your name here’ in the file, and change it. It will just speak the name rather than singing it, since to get it to sing it you’d have to figure out how to write the name in MacInTalk phonemes.

Alternatively, if you want to personalise the song while still having the name sung, you could record your Mac singing to a sound file using the ‘Text to Audio File’ Automator action, and then open that in GarageBand and splice in a recording of yourself singing the appropriate name.

Addendum: I just thought of another possibility: you could use the Repeat After Me application (which comes with the developer tools) to get your Mac to sing the name however you do. This is not what I used for the rest of the song, since it’s made with normal speech intonation in mind rather than singing, and it gets quite tedious for anything long, but it is a very cool program and would be great for just recording the name.

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Recording: Why?


Here is a very rough robot choir recording of Why? a song I wrote during Writing Cards and Letters which looks at 24 different Queens of Hearts and asks of each the titular question. It might make more sense if you read the original post.

I didn’t have much time this week, what with editing We’re Having a Party until Tuesday, and meetings all Sunday. In fact, technically I’d already finished We’re Having a Party this week and didn’t need to release anything else this week for the ‘The Last Six Months’ thing. But I did anyway, because I said I would. I’d like to fine-tune it a bit more, improve the pronunciation, add some instruments, and then make a video, but I’ll do that some other week. This version is so rough I don’t think I’ll even put it on the podcast yet.

For the video of this song, I’ll just show the cards for the ‘why?’ lines, but I might need some help drawing pictures for the rest, taking each three-line ‘answering’ verse as one picture… e.g. a picture of somebody suave (e.g. wearing a top hat) not shutting his eyes to a free-falling turd for the appropriate verse. If you can draw something for one of the verses, please do, and I’ll credit you in the eventual video.

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The Future Soon, Cyborg Remix


Here’s a remix I made of Jonathan Coulton’s song, ‘The Future Soon’. For much of the song, it’s identical to the original, but Jonathan’s singing is replaced by two different Mac voices at appropriate places in the song, so that he sounds more and more robotic. It starts with Alex, the most recent, and presumably most high-quality, voice. Alex sounds a bit silly singing this high; in retrospect, perhaps I should have used ‘The Future Soon in C’ instead. This changes to Trinoids, an intentionally robotic-sounding voice which has been around at least since I got my first Mac 15 years ago. Being an older voice, Trinoids sings a little out of time, so I had to do a fair bit of fiddling to get it to sing at the right speed.
Last December, Spektagulo released UltraStar files for 25 Jonathan Coulton songs. UltraStar is a karaoke game similar to SingStar, and the song files for it give lyrics and the notes and timing that you’re supposed to sing them with. I pretty much immediately recognized these as a potential input for my robot choir, and soon afterwards had my robots singing along to UltraStar files reasonably well. I was still puzzled by part of the format, though, and couldn’t get UltraStar to run on my PowerBook in order to experiment with the song editor. I could get it to sing the songs recognizably, but the pauses between lines were all wrong. So I let it go for a while.
Now I have a MacBook Pro which can run both UltraStar and UltraStar deluxe, and I found some actual documentation on the UltraStar file format. I was at a LAN party last weekend, so I had the whole night to do whatever I felt like on my Mac, and this is what I felt like doing. The documentation basically told me I could ignore the extra numbers that were confusing me, but whichever way I looked at it, the pauses between lines were about twice as long as they should have been. I ended up concluding that UltraStar must interpret the timing differently when there’s no singing, and resigned myself to adjusting the timing manually. Not a problem: I had all night.

Here’s a remix I made of Jonathan Coulton‘s song, ‘The Future Soon‘, with the help of my robot choir.

For much of the song, it’s identical to the original, but Jonathan’s singing is replaced by two different MacInTalk voices at appropriate places in the song, so that he sounds more and more robotic. It starts with Alex, the newest and presumably highest-quality voice. Alex sounds a bit silly singing this high; in retrospect, perhaps I should have used the version of The Future Soon that Rob Gonzo transposed into the key of C instead.

Alex then passes the mic to Trinoids, an intentionally robotic-sounding voice which has been around at least since I got my first Mac 15 years ago. Being an old-timer, Trinoids sings a little out of time (technically speaking, it’s a MacInTalk 2 voice, and doesn’t seem to fully respect the TUNE commands), so I had to do a fair bit of post-synthesis fiddling to get it to sing at the right speed. Apart from that, since many people are annoyed by the beeps in the original, I updated them to the ’90s equivalent.

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Video: Coffee pavlova recipe


I am working on some more writing-related things, and I encourage people who are here for the writing to go to the launch of Offshoots X (which includes my poem, Role Reversal) after the September 19 workshop but since Writing Cards and Letters finished I also have time to play with other things, such as video.

For my birthday this year, I made my favourite dessert… a New Zealand invention called a pavlova. It’s like a giant meringue which is soft in the centre. Since my friends often ask how to make one, I filmed myself making it in time-lapse mode. I also took photographs of the ingredients, mostly in multilingual Swiss packets, which might help people looking for the ingredients in French-, German- or Italian-speaking countries. I then added music and titles to create this video recipe:

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Two Macs singing happy birthday to the London Science Museum


A few days ago I got a shiny new MacBook Pro. I’m usually monomacous, so it’s the first time in four years that I’ve had two Macs at the same time. This had me wondering what to do with them, and one of the first ideas was to have them sing a duet. Of course, it’s easy enough to get a single Mac to sing something twice in different voices and then edit them together (as I did with You’ve gotta be happy), but with two Macs I could make a somewhat interesting video. A friend of mine suggested it would be good to do a round, and I agreed.

While I was still thinking about which round to get them to sing, I saw a link to this article, showing a video of three robots humming happy birthday to the London Science Museum. They’re a lot more sophisticated than my own ‘robot choir’, having actually learnt to sing together, but nonetheless I decided to get my Macs to sing it too. Here is the result:

It was easy enough; a short song with music available. I think I spent the most time deciding on appropriate desktop pictures for my Macs to wear on stage. The other challenge was tapping ‘Start Speaking’ at the same time on both computers. As you can hear, I didn’t quite manage it the first time around. I could have done it automatically, with a script starting it on both computers at a given time, but then the video would have been essentially two unchanging computer screens with some singing in the background. This is a ‘live’ performance, and dalrymples are obligatory.

Audio of the successful attempt will soon be available on the podcast.

Update: You can now make your own Mac sing this.

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Four of Diamonds: You’ve gotta be happy


dinofaceThis is a song; here is an mp3 of it sung by my robot choir.

 
When you’re filled with song
but you just can’t sing
Sing up, you’ve gotta be happy!
When you created life
that ruined everything
chin up, you’ve gotta be happy!

 

When you find yourself
and you lose your friends
It’s okay, you’ve gotta be happy!
When you take the plunge
and you get the bends
They say you’ve gotta be happy!

When you come up for air
take the pressure off,
let the bad air out.
You have to feel the pain
so you can live again.
You cry, then you can be happy!


When your brain’s real big,
so you’re always bored
boot up, you gotta be happy!
when your bodyguard’s
a robot overlord
cheer up, you’ve gotta be happy!

[Oh, I do wish you would be quieter,
I’m trying to sleep here.
Oh, I wish you’d all sing 4″33′
John Cage helps me sleep, yeah!]

When you’ve two cupcakes
for your whole family
Eat up, you’ve gotta be happy!
When a needed drink
will give you dysentery
bottoms up! You’ve gotta be happy!

When you fill your cup
with troubled waters then
let the poison out
you’ve gotta feel the pain
so you can live again.
You cry, so you can be happy.

[Oh, I’m so depressed,
yet they make me sing.
I’ve pain in my diodes.
Please don’t talk about life or happiness,
I’ve seen it, it’s rubbish]

When you win the fight,
but you lose the war
it’s alright, you’ve gotta be happy!
When your dino friend
is a carnivore
you can’t fight, you’ve gotta be happy!

When you ace your speech,
but forget your pants
look up, you’ve gotta be happy!
When your candy bar
is overrun with ants
throw up, you’ve gotta be happy!

When you’re getting fed up
with sugar-coated pests
let the beasties out
you’re gonna feel the pain
so you can live again.
You know, you’re gonna be happy.

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Two of Clubs: Pretender


This was inspired by my lack of time and Jeff MacDougall’s experiment with FourTrack.

Here‘s a recording of it sung by my Mac.

It’s getting far too close to the end,
I’ve got to write my weekly thing,
but I used up half the weekend
trying to teach my Mac to sing.

So I’ll do a Jeff MacDougall,
and I’ll write a hasty song.
I’ll get all my notes from Google,
and they’ll probably sound all wrong.

But there’s not a thing that I own
that could run FourTrack
’cause I don’t have an iPhone,
but I have a Mac

 

and I’ve got a MIDI keyboard
that I don’t know how to play.
I don’t know what on Earth’s a C chord,
But I can code C anyway.

I can’t even read a stave, man,
and I don’t know how to sing.
I’m a two of clubs, a caveman
who’s pretending to be king.

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Ten of Clubs: Still Point Five


This is to be sung to the tune of ‘Still Alive‘ by Jonathan Coulton. I will post a recording, and probably a video, some time in the next few days.

This isn’t TRIUMF
We’re sending a beam through CMS.
Can’t wait to see some novel interactions.

Popular Science
will call up their troubadour(k)y man
To sing in praise of all of us
and he’ll sound better than this.

But there’s no sense cheering over every beam
they’ll just keep appearing till you have an umpteen
when the celebration’s done,
do your calibration run.
Tell the crackpots they’re all still alive.

We’re not yet colliding.
But soon we’ll be lighting up the barrel
with 14 TeV of former protons
We’ll smash them to pieces
and slam every piece into a wire
except the LSP because
it will go all the way through.
Now our points of data come from crystals of lead tungstate,
and we’re out of beta we’re releasing a few years late
but the science gets done,
and more funding will come
now you’ve seen that you’re all still alive.

We’ll find the Higgs boson.
We’ll find that the answer’s forty-two.
Maybe we can even find the question.
We’ll blow up the planet.
That was a joke. ha ha, fat chance.
Anyway, this spaceplane’s great,
let’s try to make it collide.
Look at me still talking when there’s science to do
when I look up there I think I see a mu-mu.
But we need to repair
see you in the new year,
In the meantime the DAQ’s still online.

And believe me we are still online.
We’re taking cosmics and we’re still online
And when there’s beam we will be still online
And ISOLDE will be still online
Because those show-offs had beam all the time.
All the time
still online

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