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Blob Opera

December 2020 | By David Li, Artist in Residence at Google Arts & Culture

Play four voices with the help of machine learning.

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Blob Opera is a machine learning experiment by David Li in collaboration with Google Arts and Culture.


This experiment pays tribute to and explores the original musical instrument: the voice. Play four opera voices in real time. No singing skills required! 


We developed a machine learning model trained on the voices of four opera singers in order to create an interactive experiment anyone can enjoy, regardless of musical skills.


Tenor, Christian Joel, bass Frederick Tong, mezzo-soprano Joanna Gamble and soprano Olivia Doutney recorded 16 hours of singing. In the experiment you don’t hear their voices, but the machine learning model’s understanding of what opera singing sounds like, based on what it learnt from them.


How it works:

Drag the blobs up and down to change pitch. Or forwards and backwards for different vowel sounds. Another machine learning model lets the blobs respond to and harmonise your input in real time. 


With special thanks to:

Tenor Christian Joel, bass Frederick Tong, mezzo-soprano Joanna Gamble and soprano Olivia Doutney. Additional singing from Ingunn Gyda Hrafnkelsdottir and John Holland-Avery.


Blob Opera is an experiment using the latest web audio technology and may not perform optimally on older devices.

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