At CES, Microsoft Introduces the Unexpected: Songwriting Software

Songsmith-choose style

At first I thought the e-mail was a joke, but apparently it's not. Microsoft Research today announced the availability of Songsmith, an application that creates music as you sing to your PC.

Sound weird? It gets weirder. Watch the Microsoft promotional video on the Songsmith page above: I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. It shows an ad jingle writer, who--stuck on a campaign for glow-in-the-dark towels--is inspired by seeing his tween daughter crooning away with her notebook. Pretty much the whole video is sung.

Songsmith-choose tempo
The software itself, though, appears legit and pretty straightforward. You choose a style (per the screen above), then a tempo, and then there's a main screen with other options.
You sing, music plays. You can save the recording for sharing with others or even for importing into Windows Moviemaker (there's a scary thought in terms of the likely YouTube fodder).

A free 6-hour trial version of the software is available for download on the Songsmith Web site; you can purchase it for $30 online. If you like it, you can expand its capabilities by purchasing more musical styles (the software comes with 30) from PG Music and additional instrument files from Garritan, Microsoft's partners in this project.

Meanwhile, check out PC World's music and video sharing downloads, as well as all our CES 2009 posts.

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