Elvis is alive and well and digital

May 3, 1996

Elvis Presley and John Lennon are set for a spooky comeback. A research project at Oxford University is developing the perfect electronic replication of their voices. PhD student Ken Lomax, at St Hugh's College, is working on a singing synthesiser which might one day allow diehard fans to write personalised songs and have their dead heroes sing them.

Mr Lomax, whose project is called Singing Analysis and Synthesis, is working with local choristers but says that it should be possible to analyse, and so replicate, the recorded voices of greats such as Elvis, Lennon and Buddy Holly.

He has hit a serious snag in record companies' reluctance to release the vocal-only tracks he needs to "lift" voice patterns free of background music.

"It throws up all sorts of possibilities such as having Elvis and Lennon sing a duet," he said. "It also raises legal conundrums, such as people having to patent their voices and even the prospect of making someone say something they didn't."

A programme installed on a powerful computer scans voices and breaks them down into their constituent parts. The programme then reassembles these characteristics to create a voice replication which not only fools the human ear but, ultimately, passes any existing electronic voice analysis.

Mr Lomax said: "There's no reason why such a programme couldn't work on a PC - such synthesisers may one day be available in high street shops. It could add a whole new twist to home entertainment."

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 6 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Senior Lecturer in Human Genetics LOUGHBOROUGH UNIVERSITY
Senior Lecturer in Biochemistry LOUGHBOROUGH UNIVERSITY
Lecturer in Biochemistry LOUGHBOROUGH UNIVERSITY
Professor in Marketing UNIVERSITY OF GLASGOW

Most Commented

Social media icons

Gabriel Egan laments the narcissistic craving for others’ approval brought on, he says, by the use of social networking websites

Elly Walton illustration (25 August 2016)

Treating students as consumers has precipitated a rush to the bottom to give them exactly what they want, says John Warren

Superhero costumes hanging on a washing line

Senior management do not recognise support staff’s pivotal role in achieving positive student outcomes, administrators say

Man photocopying a book

Students think it ‘unfair’ to be punished for unintentional plagiarism

to write students’ assessed essays in return for cash

Vic Boyd was on the lookout for academic writing opportunities. What she found was somewhat less appetising...