Fun machine learning experiment creates a vocal opera in your browser

Google’s Arts and Culture lab has launched a clever browser experiment in collaboration with David Li. The Blob Opera puts four operatic voices at your disposal to create glorious AI-driven performances.

The machine learning model used in the experiment was trained on the real voices of four opera singers. Christian Joel (tenor), Frederick Tong (bass), Joanna Gamble (mezzo soprano) and Olivia Doutney (soprano) recorded 16 hours of audio for the experiment. Ingunn Gyda Hrafnkelsdottir and John Holland-Avery provided additional vocals.

But what you hear when you create your very own mini opera using a mouse cursor is actually what the AI determines opera should sound like based on what it’s learned from those recordings.

Google says that the Blob Opera will only work in browsers and on machines that rock the latest web technology, and may not work on mobile devices. But if you do get it to work, the results are impressive.

The Blob Opera will offer its take on popular Carols like Jingle Bells and Joy to the World
The Blob Opera will offer its take on popular Carols like Jingle Bells and Joy to the World


To get the blobs blobbing and the gorgeous harmonies sounding, you click on one of the characters and drag it up or down to alter pitch and forward or back to change mouth shape for different vowel sounds. Individual or multiple blobs can be silenced by muting the audio icon, and the eyes follow the mouse cursor around the screen.

Performances can be recorded for playback and sharing, and clicking on the tree icon plops some festive hats on the heads of the blobs and offers their takes on popular Carols. The blobs don’t manage to sing actual words, but the vowel sounds will still have you humming along. You can check it out yourself via the project link below. Great fun.

Project page: Blob Opera

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