Thursday, January 15, 2009

Microsoft Songsmith composes music as you sing

The latest software to come out from Microsoft is not an operating system or an office suite but an amusing musical software that CNET aptly calls “Karoke in reverse”. This is what it does: you sing through a microphone and Songsmith will automatically generate musical accompaniment to match your voice, and play back your song for you. If you are bathroom singer, you have finally got a composer who is willing to create music for your incoherent yodeling.

Just open up Songsmith, choose from one of thirty different musical styles, and press record. Sing whatever you like and as soon as you press “stop”, it plays back your recorded song accompanied by a musical composition.

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Songsmith works by processing the pitch and tone of the recorded voice and determines what chords matches the tune. The software also lets users change the feel of the song completely using various sliders that adjust mood, volume levels, tempo and what instruments are being used. Move the “happy” and “jazzy” sliders around to get the chords you want. Lock the chords you like and let Songsmith change the ones you don’t.

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Users are able to purchase additional instruments for a small fee and add it to Songsmith. The software can also generate music for even non-voice inputs, for example a guitar.

Actually, Songsmith can be pretty useful for even professional musicians and composers who are trying to overcome the creativity block. After hearing some of the demo compositions created by Songsmith, I feel it’s worth every $30 you spend on it.

A trial version of the application is available for download which is limited to 6 hours of application use.

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