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To One In Paradise (Synthesizer V)
Based on the poem by Edgar Allan Poe

Paradise
You were my paradise and all I wanted to find
Island of green in the sea of love
Fountain and my shrine

My days in trances
And in all my nightly dreams
Wherever your grey eye glances
Wherever your footstep leads
Lost in an ethereal dance by eternal streams

I lost you
My life's one light
A dream too bright to last
All that's gone (All that's gone)
It's lost in the past (It's lost, past)
It's lost in the past (Lost in the past)
Living in the past (Living in the past)

Paradise (Paradise)
You were my paradise
And all I wanted is find (You were all I want to find)
Starry hope that was overcast (Hope was overcast)
Dream no longer mine (Dream no longer mine)

No tree shall bloom (Trees shall not bloom)
No eagle soars (Shall not soar)
Silence holds the solemn sea to sandy shore (Language holds the sea to the shore)
Where light shines no more (No more)

All my days in trances (My days in trances)
And all my nightly dreams (And all my nightly dreams)
Follow your glances (Following your glances)
Where your footstep leads (Where your footstep leads)
By eternal streams (By eternal streams)


The Band

Bass, Electric, JazzFunkPoppy Ev16 110
Piano, ElectricVintage, Rhythm BluesyPopMike Ev 100
Guitar, Electric, Rhythm Pop8thsZaneHigh Ev 120
Guitar, Electric, Rhythm Pop8thsZaneLow Ev 120
Organ, Rhythm CountryBluesRockMike Ev 110
Piano, Acoustic, Rhythm Soul60sA-B Ev 110
Sax, Tenor, 2-Beat Rock Ev 110
Organ, Rhythm CountryBluesRockMike Ev 110
Vocal Aahs, Rhythm Pop3-part Ev 085
RealDrums:NashvilleEven16^5-a:Snare, HiHat , b:Snare, Ride


Details

In keeping with my goal of getting songs out the door, all tracks are BiaB and vocals again sung by Synthesizer V.

I though I should do an upbeat ELO-type song, so I worked out a nifty chord progression based around a stepwise bass movement in the piano, and dropped it into BiaB.

I then started looking for an appropriate ELO-ish style. But I liked how the _FLYAMP.STY demo sounded, even though it was more like Aztec Camera than ELO. I rendered a backing track and loaded that up Synthesizer V, where I worked out a melody. The song was a bit short, but I figured I could always add another verse or instrumental if I needed it.

That was the easy part. A couple of pages of dreadful lyrics later, I realized I wasn't getting anywhere. I thought that perhaps I could get some inspiration, so I started checking out ELO song lyrics. I saw this lyric from Strange Magic:

Oh, I'm never gonna be the same again,
now I've seen the way it's got to end


That got me thinking about expulsion from Paradise - one of the classic "that ended badly" stories. Coleridge's poem Kubla Khan and Poe's To One In Paradise seemed like they might have some interesting material, so I grabbed what I thought might be appropriate portions of the poems, and started putting things together.

Line by line, all the bits of Kubla Khan fell away, and with some effort I managed to shoehorn a semblance of Poe's words into the song. I didn't really want to do To One In Paradise since there's already a version by The Alan Parsons Project, but that's where I ended up. Best laid plans, and all that.

As usual, the harmony - the fun part! - was added after everything else was mostly done. This time, I start out without harmony so there was room to build.

I then searched BiaB for additional instruments, with the intent of putting in a short guitar solo. But nothing seemed to fit, so I used a sax instead. Poor sax, not much space for a solo, is there? wink

I didn't spend a lot of time "tuning" the vocals, but I ended up putting in a lot of work changing words and word lengths to try to make the lyric more understandable. Still, "Silence holds the solemn sea to sandy shore" doesn't exactly come tripping off the tongue.

I did an initial mix, and my son adjusted the mix and further trimmed back the instruments for clarity.

Do the lyrics match the upbeat melody? Not at all. wink


As usual, any sort of feedback is welcome! laugh


-- David Cuny
My virtual singer development blog

Vocal control, you say. Never heard of it. Is that some kind of ProTools thing?
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David,

An excellent Pop soundscape.

I'm not familiar with a lot of ELO, so cannot commetn on that. But I will say...the opening chord progression reminded me of "Steal Away" (Robbie Dupree) - one of the ALL TIME GREAT Pop songs...

The mix is excellent. And the vocalist "settles in" well after the initial "ah...vocaloid..."

Re: "Do the lyrics match the upbeat melody?"
I thought they were a bit "esoteric" for such a Pop melody. But that is to be expected for "based on Poe".

Well done. Keep 'em coming!

fj

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Wow, who needs singers?

I was wondering about that vocal sound, then I read the explanation.
I'll have to look into the Synthesizer V.

moto

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David, I really enjoyed listening to this work! And I really appreciate all the background information, especially the connection to the lyric source, which I read after I listened to the track. I love the vocal harmonies. One of the great things about this forum is that new ideas come from listening to the work of others, and that is certainly true here. You’ve given me some new things to think about! Also like to use that chromatically creeping fifth tone in the melody. Thanks again for this contribution!

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Well that was interesting.
A little mechanical but I'd like to play with that synth.
Maybe for backing vocals. Can you humanise it? I'll give it a try.
Thanks for posting, David.

Vic

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That's really really cool, David. Quite amazing. Like painting with music. That counter-part harmony is perfect. A fun listen for sure!!


Enjoy whatever happens!
marty

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Very clever, David!

Vocally I like it best when the two "singers" are singing together and off each other, that worked quite well I thought.

Great sounding track too, and nice mix.

Enjoyed!

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The synth vocals a making huge leaps forward...the harmony was particularly good.
Cool.


Cheers
rayc
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David,

Solid composition! Lyrics work very well. Personally, I would prefer more bass, especially for the genre you chose. Besides that, fun listen! Those vocalizers are definitely getting better!
Being a fan of ELO I can definitely hear influence.
"She does the things you do. But she is an IBM" ELO (c) smile

Correct me if I am wrong.... As I understand there are three main uses for vocal synths in music.
#1 Composition / draft - instruction to live singer
#2 Actual production to achieve certain articulation and vocal tonality, or some backing vocals. But I would think, unless a producer wants to achieve "certain" synth feel that only vocalizer can give, why not hire a real singer? Does not make much sense, unless "producer" is on extremely tight budget.
#3 having fun.
-----
Please do not get me wrong, I am not being negative. I do believe this technology is very useful, I am sure it is benefits people who are mute, visually impaired and many other areas. Just trying to understand general usage, or passion if you may, behind it.

Thank you for sharing.
Misha.

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dcuny Offline OP
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Originally Posted By: floyd jane
The mix is excellent. And the vocalist "settles in" well after the initial "ah...vocaloid..."

Hi, floyd jane.

Thanks, glad to hear it!

Hopefully next time I can get a "ah, not vocaloid" for you! wink


-- David Cuny
My virtual singer development blog

Vocal control, you say. Never heard of it. Is that some kind of ProTools thing?
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Originally Posted By: CaptainMoto
Wow, who needs singers?

I was wondering about that vocal sound, then I read the explanation.
I'll have to look into the Synthesizer V.

Thanks, captain! smile

Interestingly enough, the version of Synthesizer V I'm using is the free version, and it's a lot more functional (and better sounding) than the Tiny Vocaloid editor I'd been using. While the Tiny Vocaloid editor only allowed a single voice limited to 16 bars, the Basic version of Synthesizer V allows for two voices and unlimited song length.

Plus, the Tiny version of the Vocaloid editor is no longer available, so it'll cost around $200 USD to get into the game. frown

There's currently only one English Synthesizer V singer available, but there are enough parameters to adjust that you can get a fairly wide set of voices from that single one. For my purposes (demoing a song), that's sufficient.


-- David Cuny
My virtual singer development blog

Vocal control, you say. Never heard of it. Is that some kind of ProTools thing?
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Originally Posted By: Tano Music
David, I really enjoyed listening to this work!

Hi Tom.

That's the best I can hope for. laugh

Quote:
I love the vocal harmonies. One of the great things about this forum is that new ideas come from listening to the work of others, and that is certainly true here. You’ve given me some new things to think about!

While it's best to have real vocals in the end, I find it a lot more helpful to do a harmony mockup in Synthesizer V instead of using a MIDI flute - especially if the line is going to have different lyrics.

It's also good for checking how well the parts "work". I know that synthesized vocals suffer from poor intelligibility, and this song in particular has issues. Still, I found it helpful to be able to adjust the timings and words so they didn't interfere as much. Doing that while recording (or afterwards) is much less convenient.

Obviously, the downside is that you can end up writing stuff that's out of a specific singer's range.

Quote:
Also like to use that chromatically creeping fifth tone in the melody.

Yeah, that's a cool sound! It shows up in some of my favorite songs - it also pops up in the chorus of America's "Sergeant Darkness", for example.

Thanks for stopping by! smile


-- David Cuny
My virtual singer development blog

Vocal control, you say. Never heard of it. Is that some kind of ProTools thing?
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dcuny Offline OP
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Originally Posted By: vicarn
Well that was interesting.
A little mechanical but I'd like to play with that synth.
Maybe for backing vocals. Can you humanise it?

I'm using the free version of Synthesizer V, and it's available for the Mac, Windows and Linux, so the barrier to entry is pretty low.

The only English voice is only recorded at a single pitch, so as it moves out of the "best" range, it tends to get a bit nasal. However, changing the tension parameter helps with that.

There's a lot of options for "humanizing" the sound, but I've found that you need to be careful - it's a very short distance from making the voice more "human" to making it sound like a bad singer. I'm still figuring out where that line is.

Although you can edit all the parameters to the micro detail on the timeline, I've found it's better to start with a higher level approach. For example, quite often a singer will embellish a note instead of singing a note straight. So adding embellishments (say, a 16th note grace note to a syllable) can help make it sound less robotic.

I think I mentioned that I didn't spend a lot of time "tuning" those parameters on this song, although I did spend a time replacing phonemes so there was a more American pronunciation. There's also an option to adjust the relative duration of each phoneme at the syllable level, which is also really helpful for making words sound more natural.

I'll be happy to answer any questions about it that I can.

Thanks for stopping for a listen!


-- David Cuny
My virtual singer development blog

Vocal control, you say. Never heard of it. Is that some kind of ProTools thing?
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Originally Posted By: BabuMusic
That's really really cool, David. Quite amazing. Like painting with music. That counter-part harmony is perfect. A fun listen for sure!!

I'm glad you liked it, thanks! smile

Playing with synthetic voices can be constraining, but in some ways it's liberating because it also feels like painting with music.


-- David Cuny
My virtual singer development blog

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Originally Posted By: BlueAttitude
Vocally I like it best when the two "singers" are singing together and off each other, that worked quite well I thought.

Mine too! laugh

The problem for me is that it's really tempting to put in too much of it. When I get around to buying the program, I won't be limited to "only" two voices. But for now, I think it's a good limitation that's keeping me from going overboard. wink

Quote:
Great sounding track too, and nice mix.

Thanks!

I appreciate you taking the time to stop and listen.


-- David Cuny
My virtual singer development blog

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Originally Posted By: rayc
The synth vocals a making huge leaps forward...the harmony was particularly good.

Hi, Ray.

Yeah, I think this software works much better than Vocaloid. Still synthetic, but better than before.

I'm glad you liked harmony. In some ways, it's a handwaving cheat, where I can say "Just listen to the pretty harmony, so you won't notice that the lyrics aren't very intelligible." whistle


-- David Cuny
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Originally Posted By: Rustyspoon#
Solid composition! Lyrics work very well. Personally, I would prefer more bass, especially for the genre you chose. Besides that, fun listen! Those vocalizers are definitely getting better!

Thanks, Misha!

I generally trust my son (a bass player) to find the right balance on the bass in the mix. If I even hint that it should have more bass, you know he's going to turn it to 11! wink

Quote:
Being a fan of ELO I can definitely hear influence.

I'm glad some of it got through, despite the lack of a cello section. (And nice reference!)

Quote:
Correct me if I am wrong.... As I understand there are three main uses for vocal synths in music.

Obviously, there are as many uses as people want there to be, but I think you've hit on the primary ones.

Last year, I'm not sure I put out any songs. That wasn't my intent, so this year I decided I'd try to change that. That meant removing as many barriers as possible, even if that meant lowering my standards. As the phrase goes, "Perfect is the enemy of good."

One of those barriers is recording vocals. I think I've mentioned before that my house isn't really conducive to recording, with my computer out in the open in the literal center of the house, with a house full of people busy doing their own stuff.

So being able to put together the vocals while someone is playing video games just feet away is really a bonus.

I think of these songs as as drafts. Having a "real" voice on the vocals is always better, but at the moment, I'm trying to write more songs. So - for now - if I have to decide between getting a better vocal or moving on to a new song, I'm going to choose working on new songs.

Obviously, that's subject to change. smile

I have more than a passing interest in vocal synthesis. I've been working on a synthetic singer of my own for a number of years - but I don't think it's in any way preferred to a real singer. I'm just using Synthesizer V as a tool to get demo songs out the door.

If I had to sing the vocals, that would likely add another 2-3 days of time working on the song. I've generally got to wait until after midnight before it's quiet around here, and then the vocals need to be worked on because... well, I'm slow.

I also don't have access to a female vocalist, so Synthesizer V gives me a color that I normally don't have access to. I've mixed real and synthetic vocals before, and I think it's more jarring than having all synthetic vocals.

I could ask someone to sing the vocal, and I suspect there would be people on the forum that would be gracious enough to help out. As I mentioned, I may very well revisit some songs for that reason.

But I don't think I have a "passion" for Synthesizer V, in the sense that I prefer using it over a real vocal, or am showcasing it. I think of it as a tool like a MIDI instrument (sorry for that analogy, Mario) - it gives listeners enough of a flavor to hear to what I had in mind, but is hopefully not much a distracting replacement for the real thing.

So I appreciate people's kindness in listening to these songs despite them being sung with synthetic voices.

Thanks for asking! laugh


-- David Cuny
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Hi dcduny,

Pleasant orchestration. Nice second voice. It's very soft and pleasant to listen to. Well done

Kindly regard
Derochette
alisas JaniJackFlash


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Derochette
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Hi David,

You based this nice, but also a bit peculiar song on a pom of Edgar Alan Poe!
I had to read his bundle of stories in English when I was young. I loved the tales, but the words were so difficult to understand.
I took the translated version of it to get through. Illegally of course, but it helped me much! I still love his tales, but I never read his poems, strangely enough.

It took me a moment to get used to your way of singing here, but then it became more and more interesting.
And what you did with Synthesizer V is also very good. The female vocals sounded very realistic, although they were used in a surreal context. I'm thinking of trying this too.

So thumbs up for your work, David!
Hans


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I have to admit that I'm not familiar with Poe's works, although I have listened to the first Alan Parsons Project album and then later Eric Woolfson's Poe musical songs. But you have nicely captured the mood, and at least the title gives upbeat impression.

Definitely sounds bit like an Aztec Camera song, at least in the chording (Safe In Sorrow) and the instrumentation (drums, piano - other Dreamland songs) and the counter-melody (Sister Ann). Not only because sounding like one of my all time favorite bands, this is really nice pop song with interesting chord changes and very pleasant melody, including the enjoyable counter-melody. The arrangement is lush and the solo sax fits well.

Janne


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