Record a Christmas Carol With the Blob Opera

published Dec 25, 2020
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Credit: Google Arts & Culture

There are still a few hours of Christmas left—enough time to eat some more cookies, watch a movie, and record your own Christmas song with the Blob Opera.

What’s a blob opera? It’s pretty adorable. With Google Arts & Culture, artist David Li created a machine-learning experiment featuring a choir of singing blobs. The creatures look like cousins of both Sesame Street’s Yip Yips and the Minions, with their shiny, cylindrical bodies, googly eyes, and expressive, wobbling mouths, but they sound like serious opera singers.

The blobs’ voices don’t come directly from humans. Instead, they’ve been trained by humans to create their own versions of singing voices. The Google blog explains how this works:

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

With the Blob Opera, you manipulate one of the four voices at a time, dragging the blob up or down to change its pitch. The others harmonize automatically. In other words, it’s difficult to make a composition that sounds bad. 

You can record your own Blob Opera and send it to a friend. Or if you just feel like being serenaded, you can click on the Christmas tree button in the lower right-hand corner and choose from eight classic Christmas songs. Find the Blob Opera here. Merry Blobmas one and all!