Behold Our Singing Screenreader Collection!

Last Updated on: 30th December 2022, 05:23 pm

I finally cleaned up all the broken links, and added some more! Come check it out!

I don’t know how I got thinking about this, but this old post floated through my head, and I realized that the site it links to has died and since been bought up by some nondescript software and domain-selling’ thingamabob. No, that page isn’t going to have singing computers on it. Nope, none at all.

What’s that, you say? Singing computers? Yup. This post is dedicated to all things electronic that were not designed to sing, but some musical geeks had bent them to their will. So if you don’t want to hear computers sing, you can just skip on by this post.

There was a whole page of files constructed using something called Vocalwriter that made electronic speech synthesizers sing. This guy had way way way way too much time on his hands and decided that the synth should sing the Beach Boys, and other assorted old songs. He did a fine job of it. There’s no way I could do that even if I knew how.

So, through the miracle of server space, I decided to bring some of these files back to the net. If anyone out there has more of ’em, email me, and I’ll see what I can do about finding them a home amid their friends.

So let’s go. How about we start with some Beach Boys? Here’s Barbara Ann, Wouldn’t It Be Nice, Fun Fun Fun, and Surfin’ Safari.

Had enough of the beach? How about we listen to some Tie a Yellow Ribbon? That one’s just freaky good. Or how about some Huey Lewis and the News-impersonation? It’s more than alright, it’s damn good. This song has a special place in my heart for some reason. I listened to it for a while obsessively. I don’t know why the winter of 05 was such a downer, but it was, but this song always gave me something to smile about. Wow. I’ve just proclaimed myself to be the largest loser around. Actually no, this song makes me out to be the largest loser around. Rhythm of the Rain used to make me cry. Not the real version, this synth version.

We also have Don’t Worry Be Happy and A Whole New World.

Two more, because they were mentioned in the original post’s comments, and they are good. Here’s Eternal Flame, and just because Matt loves this song so much, For the Longest Time.

But I’m not done, oh I am so not done with all this singin’ electronics. There was another fellow by the name of Patrick Perdue. He made a whole heap of files, but his site, woefully, has fallen down. Luckily, I was smart and I grabbed as many files as I could before it took the internet dirt nap. So let’s see what this man had made. Keep in mind he made some of these when he was 15! Gees! What the hell was I doing when I was 15? I’m not sure where to start, because his files consisted of a vault o random weirdness.

Let’s start with two that I should have put up the other day when I was talking about JAWS rapping. Here’s what Dolphin thinks of JAWS. And judging by his other song about Dr. JAWS, you’d think he’d be happy to see him go, but…he’s almost sad! For some reason, this one always gave me chills. I can hear it now. “loser alert! Loser alert! Step away from the loser!”

To further cement my loser status, there’s this virus song, which convinced Carin the naive that she had a virus. My poor computer was put through a thorough virus scan just because the song said “You have a virus, tell your computer so long.” But I did discover that it wasn’t turned into a crappy, crappy, crappy, crappy, cruddy old computer. I should have sung that song when my computer before this one bit the big one. It sure was cruddy, and did want to die. It seemed to have suicidal tendencies from as early as four months of age when it blew a regulator while doing fuck all.

Moving right along. Let’s go poison some pigeons in the park, shall we? I have to give him credit for getting me into Tom Lehrer. I always just knew him as the poisoning pigeons in the park guy. How does one find more of his stuff on that alone? But with a name, ah…the world opens up. But be careful while poisoning pigeons in the park, because…there’s shootin’ in the park. At least there was one day. Uh, Patrick? You have issues. But we love ya anyway. I’d just like you to know that damn song gave me nightmares.

Maybe after the shootin’ in the park, a dectalk cried over his lost friend. It’s not really a song, but holy hell. He made a dectalk cry! Like, uh, wow. Even with its limited inflection, it was sobbing! It also yodled! Then finally, it said Bye-bye, Farewell, I’m Leavin’.

Here’s one I almost forgot I had. Dectalk likes to sing about Scotland.

He even made things sing that don’t have the remotest possibility of singing. Here’s the BNS singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Moving on, we have Doubletalk begging for a Gateway computer. How in hell did he even do that? When I used that synth, I only knew of ten pitches that it had. Obviously, I was not exploiting its full potential. But we already knew that. Next up is Flextalk asking Daisy to ride the bicycle built for two. This one, I don’t even know what it’s called. It says it, but I can’t make it out for the life of me. Can you? At any rate, it doesn’t think it has a very good voice. And finally, we have Eloquence singing. That is eloquence? That’s news to me. But I’ll take his word for it. He created the file after all.

After that pile of weirdness, let’s get back into duplications of mainstream music. He did the chorus of Yellow Submarine, no, yella submarine, just as a test to see what he could do. Yeah. With drums, and harmony and all that. And his final creation, a creation that is unfinished, but I think is his masterpiece, is Bohemian Rhapsody as sung by Dectalk. Yup, the man’s a genius. I wonder if he ever finished it.

Another guy who likes to make Dectalk sing, and apparently is a big Tom Lehrer fan is Bob Prahin. Here’s Tom Lehrer’s I’ll Hold Your Hand In Mine, The Old Dope Peddler and The Irish Balad, more commonly known as Rickety Tickety Tin. But it’s called the Irish Ballad damn it. Prahin also did Lullabye of Birdland and You Are My Sunshine.

Another fan of the singing synth is Sam Taylor. He’s got rhythm! It’s also his birthday, the jolly good fellow. Because it’s his birthday, he’s probably out partying. So leave him a message. When he gets back to you, he might be still singing Zip-a-dee-doo-dah.

And now we’re into the random files department. I don’t know who did Ozzy’s Crazy Train, but you’re funny.

And here’s a look back to some old synthesizers that Steve and I suffered through. And people think eloquence is bad? Next time someone grumbles about the roboticness of eloquence, please, oh please, tell them to listen to the Accent! But as much as I slag it, it can figure out the difference between present and present, and record and record. JAWS can’t even figure that out sometimes.

And here’s one just for you, Ro. You use an Apple, right? With your almost living, breathing Alex? Well, get a load of Alex’s grandpa! Not the human at the beginning, the droning thing after that. We had to listen to something close to that reading all of our work and playing all of our games with us. Granted there was no internet for it to surf, but…ug. That was the voice we had. And we liked it! Oh god I sound like that scary old man who talks about how things were in his day.

Is your internet connection choking yet with all the downloading? That was fun. And remember, if you have more, give me a shout. Don’t just start firin’ ’em at me. Ask me first. I might already have them, but I may have forgotten they’re kicking around.

And just to make this compendium as complete as I can, here are some links to other posts with singing computers in them. Since it’s Christmas time at the time of this update, why don’t you go to a concert? And in honour of tomorrow being New Year’s Eve, raise a glass to this one.

Moving right along, there’s this compendium of glory. Never mind the links referenced in it. They link back to the old blogger location. I’ll just check if I’ve already rounded them up. Nope. There’s a few random Dectalk files, including one of that mmm mmm mmm mmm song, a bunch of samples of old speech synthesizers, and some synths…erm…singing the praises of the internet. Oh they can get dirtier than that, and if you don’t believe me, get a um load of this one.

Here are a couple that I somehow forgot to put up among the other old Dectalk songs. Here is one advertising the Dectalk version 5.5 which was new at the time. Dectalk might get drunk and want to fight you. If you piss him off enough, he might even go on strike! For some reason, that one would give me the shivers.

Even now, it does give me the shivers how many screen reader files involve someone blowing something up, beating someone up or causing death and destruction. The ones I have here are relatively mild, but there are other ones I have heard where it sounds like someone is torturing someone else. It gets a little over the top for me. Maybe I’m the big wimp.

I have to put this one up because it’s a piece of history. It was written for Chris Skarstad, who was known as Toonhead. Sadly, he passed away 5 years ago. I don’t know his age, but he would have been young. Patrick Perdue made him a song, and it goes a little something like this. I think this might have been the first place I heard his name.

I think maybe I’ve rounded them all up now…at least all the ones I have. There is one that eludes me though. It’s a YouTube video of JAWS and NVDA having a Harry Potter-style spell battle. The Youtube link is broken and I can’t find a new one. The only reference to it I can find is something in the Top Tech Tidbits newsletter, but it’s the same broken link.

Enjoy the trip down memory lane. If I find any more, I’ll get them in here…somehow. It’s getting a little crowded in here!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.