Create Festive Songs With Google's Blob Opera
Written by Kay Ewbank   
Friday, 18 December 2020

If you're already traumatized by festive season overload, look away now. Google has put its immense resources to a new use - developing the Blob Opera, a new machine learning experiment that lets you create your own festive song inspired by Opera on Google Arts & Culture.

The Blob Opera looks as bad as the idea sounds (or as wonderful, if you're on the "isn't winter wonderful" side of the bah humbug spectrum).


Google suggests that you can guide the pitch and vowel sound of four festive blobs who stand ready to transform your musical ideas (no matter how good or bad) into beautiful harmonies. You can then record your creation - and here comes the good part - share it with family & friends, especially the person who already seems to have everything.  That should make you popular!


Google says you can be sure this will be the first blob opera, though of course, depending how cruel a set of techie friends you have, the inboxes of your contacts may already be overflowing with blob operas.

Once you get beyond the initial horror, it's an interesting (ok, and fun) idea. This is the end result of a machine learning experiment by artist David Li, and a team at Google that developed a machine learning model trained on the voices of four opera singers: tenor, Christian Joel, bass Frederick Tong, mezzo-soprano Joanna Gamble and soprano Olivia Doutney. They recorded many hours of singing, and this was used by the machine learning model to learn what opera singing sounds like. You don't hear the voices of the original singers, you hear what the ML model learned opera sounds like.

The way you use it is that the interface shows the four blobs, and you can drag them up or down to change the pitch they're singing in. You can also drag them sideways to change the vowels they're singing. The group of blobs then harmonizes. You don't have to inflict your own creation on an unsuspecting world; you can also have the Blobs put on a festive performance while you sit back and enjoy classics like “Jingle Bells” and “O Holy Night.”

Before moving on from "doesn't Google talent have better ways to use their brains", Google Arts & Culture has also created holiday-themed virtual coloring books. Find them the next time you search on Google for winter holidays like "Hanukkah," "Christmas" and "Kwanzaa."

You have been warned.



More Information

Blob Opera

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Last Updated ( Friday, 18 December 2020 )