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How to create a vocaloid

How to create a vocaloid

So to make life easier, I realized both of these topics actually mingle with each other quite nicely.

This topic is something you can’t master overnight. It really takes a lot of time, practice, and strong will to finish writing a Vocaloid original.

If you want proof: I bought Miku V3 English in 2012 and only finally was able to publish this song only 5+ years later!

You need music theory to be able to write a song, and you are able to strengthen your music theory by writing a song!

“But 39 *insert producer here* doesn’t know music theory and yet I still love their songs!”

That’s fine, but not knowing music theory only makes it more frustrating and time consuming to compose music.

Imagine having to solve this math problem without knowing how to solve the problem.

How to create a vocaloid

At best, you could guess. Perhaps, some googling will help solve the problem, but what happens when you encounter this problem again? Under a time crunch? No internet access?

This is where knowing and applying music theory helps. For this analogy, music theory is the formula needed to solve the math problem.

Here’s another analogy stolen from a comment on r/Vocaloid

”Music theory is the “code” to a song so to speak, if you don’t know how to program the code, you won’t be able to “use the software” / write a song.”

So, let me break down how I use music theory step by step by explaining how I wrote my first song.

For me, lyrics was first and foremost. It gave me an idea of what BPM to use while singing along to figure out how I want Miku to sound.

Part of lyric writing also involves intonation; how pitches in words go up and down based on whether that part of the word is the coda (stressed syllable)

Let’s take this lyric for example:

“You’re never alone”

You’re is only one syllable, so you don’t have to split it to different pitches.

Ne-ver goes down in pitch, while a-lone also goes down in pitch. This is because ne and a are more stressed on the pronunciation of these words.

On a word, the stressed part is usually louder and higher pitched. This is something that you have to manually train yourself to listen to, and this is also why I highly recommend singing parts of your song to figure out which part of the word goes up or down.

A small tip: I usually wrote out all my lyrics in one day for one song. Usually it takes me 30 minutes to an hour. Then, I do something else for a week (schoolwork) and then I revisit my lyrics. Without fail, I always find something to improve, whether it’s switching out a word/phrase to improve the flow or changing up a whole verse. Because of this, I highly recommend giving time to your brain to “refresh” so you don’t feel complacent with your first draft lyrics.

Step 2: Prepping the Melody

After you have your lyrics ready, what I do to prep the melody is to play my piano to the beat of each syllable. I don’t have much piano playing experience so I usually record it one verse at a time

You’re – ne -ver a-lone

To make it easy for me, I just keep pressing the same key, I want to make sure I have the timing correct. I will fix the melody to the correct pitches later.

Later on, this will be used as a midi for your base VSQ. So don’t worry, this helps you save time 🙂

Step 3: Chords (+actually making the melody)

Now here’s where things get tricky:

You have your base melody that flows with your lyrics. The chords need to match with your melody. So now, you need to write your chords, and then fix the pitches of your melody to the correct chords.

What does the final result look like then?

How to create a vocaloid

Ok, that looks really cool but let’s break it down now. This screencap is verse 5 in my song, so the melody is different than the previous example.

I decided to do verse 5 in my song because it’s my personal favorite and I really feel that the “happiness, joy, and abounding optiimism” really shines with the lyrics and chord progression.

Here’s verse 5 in bold.

“Tu felicidad pronto llegara tu vida pronto feliz sera”

Each note is each syllable. I timed it based on each syllable by pressing down on the piano key and saying it out loud. This is why it’s very VERY hard to use a loid in a native language that’s not your own in a language you don’t know very well; you won’t know the timing nuances of the languages words, the stress patterns, and of course, pronunciation.

(Even though I needed translation help, my 3 years of Spanish in CC greatly assisted me with the syllable stresses and timing)

How to create a vocaloid

First layer is the melody, which is why lyrics is sooooooo important! you have to manually train yourself to make lyrics that aren’t too slow or too fast for your basic beat. And of course, there’s that syllable timing as mentioned earlier.

How to create a vocaloid

Second layer is the chords. These have three notes on top of them as they add the harmony

Since the first chord in this verse is IV: the notes F, C, and A are stacked on each other as they make up the IV chord in the key of Major C