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(tuning)(pitch correction)

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by acmetal, Jan 2, 2012.

  1. acmetal

    acmetal Member

    Hello, this is the first time that i make a post in this forum so sorry if i am a bit ignorant: p. I use to practice with my band in the building of a recording studio. The point is that when we went to make a recording the sound engineer, or whatever you want to call him, was correcting the pitch of the singer (who by the way sucked). He was using a program in which you tune the voice manually (NOT WITH AUTONUNE). I just started recording and i would like to know how I can tune my voice with a program like the one I just mentioned. I don’t like autotune because you have to be selecting scales and at the end sounds fake. I am sorry if what i am saying doesn’t make much sense jaja, i don’t really know of what i am talking about.

    by the way, i use cubase if it makes any diference.
  2. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Auto tune doesn't sound so bad if the pitch is not that bad. Celemony makes a software plugin/standalone device called Melodyne. This allows manual correction of single notes or chords (polyphonic) depending on the version you purchase. Playing in tune gets short shrift these days by young musicians both classical and pop. Accept what your accuracy level is today and deal with it appropriately like you are asking, but work work work on making your accuracy of pitch better. That is the only way to true musical freedom.
  3. thatjeffguy

    thatjeffguy Active Member

    I use both Melodyne and Autotune. Autotune has a "graphic" mode where you can manually affect the pitch rather than having the program adjust automatically. I find this method preferable where the particular pitch variance is so wide that automatic mode would give a poor result.
    Melodyne is way more powerful, in my opinion. This can be good or bad, depending. Having this much power at your fingertips requires much more caution and finesse!
    Both programs can adjust either entire tracks or selected individual notes & phrases within a track. Melodyne is the only one currently offering the ability to affect individual notes in polyphonic material.

  4. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Check out the tutorials at the Celemony site. They will give you an idea of how Melodyne works.
  5. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Screw that nonsense. Almost every software package today gives one the ability to stretch time while preserving pitch or, vary pitch while preserving tempo. Cool Edit 96 even offered this capability and I used it as such for minor pitch corrections. This would also require much more careful manipulation & "punching in", to accomplish such pitch correction. I was using a similar technique back in 1978 with the Eventide Harmonizer H-910 manually correcting & punching in on the analog recorder. So it's all good when not taken to extremes with people who are wholly untalented. For those non-talented entertainers, you will likely require some kind of software auto-tuning. Selecting the keys? Well, a little experimentation goes a long way with that. And if you're not willing to experiment, what the heck are you doing audio for? We still don't have toilets that automatically wipe your butt and nobody is complaining about that. No, I'm not into the automatic water butt sprayer as that's just a little too kinky for me. So I prefer manual digital manipulation.

    Adobe Audition can wipe the others when done correctly.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  6. Kapt.Krunch

    Kapt.Krunch Well-Known Member

    Bob Dylan, Dave Matthews, Neil Young,Tom Petty, Eddie Vedder, Billy Corgan, Sheryl Crow, Billie Joe Armstrong, Kurt Cobain, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Mick Jagger, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, Tom Waits, Neil Diamond, Stevie Nicks, Bruce Springsteen, Patti Smith, George Harrison, John Hiatt, Marl Knopfler, Todd Park Mohr, David Lowery, John Prine, Ray Davies, Joe Walsh, Jimi Hendrix..the list goes on...

    ...if ONLY they had all had "pitch correction", they could have recorded much more emotional and creative songs, and gained more popularity to create more legendary songs...like Britney, Ashlee and Usher.


    (PS. There is ONE voice that would send a hardware unit up in flames...or crash a computer...from overworking it. Hint: She was married to a Beatle.)
  7. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    You get those guys in your studio a lot? Congratulations. (BTW, you are kidding yourself if you think that pitch correction wasn't used on any of the recordings made by the list above over the last ten years.)

    More seriously, it's a different world. Few musicians today will spend as many hours performing live in their career as the Beatles did in two years in Hamburg. There just isn't the opportunity to learn the craft the way it was learned thirty or fifty years ago. If you want to hang a sign on the studio door that says, "No Admittance, unless you have 200 of live performance under your belt!" go ahead. What's it like in your town? How many hours of live music is offered compared to 20 years ago?

    Another point. There is no rule that says you HAVE to be stupid and mechanical about the use of pitch control. In one of Melodyne's tutorials they show the advantages of splitting vowels and consonants in words - correct the pitch of the vowel, but leave the consonant alone. Very natural sounding but much tighter. At a more basic level, it is standard practice to use a much lighter touch on the lead vocals but to tighten up the harmony support.
  8. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    I know the Kapt was being somewhat facetious, but just so any new aspiring musicians reading the thread don't get the wrong idea:

    Singing out of tune doesn't make an emotionally charged performance. Perfect intonation doesn't either for that matter but is easier on the ears and indicates to me the singer has the potential control to generate an emotionally charged performance.

    Unfortunately, most of the bands and singers I have hear in the past five years couldn't find the pitch if I handed it to them on a silver platter. Not ready for prime time even though some were "prime time."
  9. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    That's for sure Jack.
  10. Kapt.Krunch

    Kapt.Krunch Well-Known Member


    I WAS being facetious. My point is that thousands of excellent songs (in which many are considered true classics) were sung by singers who are 'pitchy', or otherwise less than 'perfect'. In most, those vocals were part of the reason they were so identifiable and interesting. How do they get away with it? They create music that fits the vocal stylings.

    Sure, there's a market for pitch-perfect singers. If someone aspires to be that, then they should do the extra hard work in training, practice, and care.

    If there is no way they'll ever be a strong note-perfect singer, but want to sing...choose (or create) music that fits the vocal. That's basically what I had to do. I used to have an in-tune good range until that night I belted out a note at the top of the range, just a little to strong...and...SNAP! No voice at all for a couple weeks, and high range permanently gone. So, I had to rethink the music I played, and learn (and create) new songs. I was getting older ,anyway, so a shift to more age-appropriate roots/blues/country-rock/etc. type stuff was probably due. (35-year-olds (and older) with receding hairlines look silly, anyway, trying to be 80's-rock monsters.)

    If they are SO bad that correction software is the ONLY way to make them sound even close to good...the singer should probably do something else. (Unless they are trampy-***y, and the audience doesn't really care how the lame the songs are, or that they are lip-syncing to a doctored recording. For some odd reason, they can become stars.)

    Anyway, that was the point I was trying to make. I doubt Dylan used much correction software in the 60's, though he may have punched in stuff, etc., but that's different. He probably just did it again if he flubbed a line, or thought the phrasing should be different or something. I doubt they were concerned too much about his warbling caterwauling. Fixing that would have likely destroyed those classic tunes.

    Would the charm of the Traveling Wilbury's line from "Handle With Care"...."Everybody's.....got somebody...to LEEEEAAN ON", been lost with processing all those guy's wonderfully out-of-pitch vocals? They had the stuff to easily do it. To me, it's one of the most unique things about that song. I LOVE it!

    Basically, play to your strengths. And you weaknesses. Besides, a little bit of imperfection gives a tune some life. Unlike too much of the sterile, cookie-cutter stuff being made these days.

  11. aj113

    aj113 Active Member

    That may be, but it's no excuse for singing out of tune - which is something I hear almost on a daily basis.

    "How was that take?"
    "It was flat"
    "Oh but I like that, it makes the track more 'real' - I don't want my vocals to be perfect."
    "You want your vocals to be out of tune?"
    "I didn't say that"
    "er.....Yes you did"
    "I just want the vocals to sound really great"
    "Sing the f---ers in tune then"


    Off topic a bit but I have exactly the same issues with vocalists/musicians and their timing....
  12. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    I think that it right at the heart of the topic. It is the same problem as someone spending $350 on a "recording package" and wondering why they can't mix like "X" producer. Even if they lay in tracks that are usable-and some can-they think that no experience or training whether real world or interning is going to equal 25 years of mixing at a high level.

    No, the talent does not have to be conservatory perfect. The talent does have to have some sort of sense of rhythm and pitch and strive to improve that. In the example of Dylan, he could hear perfectly well when he was out of pitch or not in the rhythmic groove with his lyric. Sometimes it was a sober decision and sometimes it wasn't. But he was aware of it especially on playback. New talent with potential or not can hardly even be made aware of the deficiencies without electroshock therapy.

    Okay. Imma stoppin now as Imma descending into a rant....
  13. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    I don't think anybody wants to hear Bob Dylan or Joe Cocker pitch corrected? I don't even think you could pitch correct them? Their pitch was always wherever it was and that was their stylistic charm. We're not supposed to be perfect creatures or haven't you figured that out yet? And if we were all perfect, what would there be to enjoy? Just because software provides such incredible power doesn't mean we should use it. Sort of similar thinking to the hydrogen bomb don't you think? I mean we can solve a lot of the problems in the Middle East with those so why don't we pitch correct the Middle East? Their always singing those quarter tonal thingies and what would that sound like if you pitch corrected that? That might be interesting? Great idea! Do you even think they would want pitch correction? I mean even people of Islam utilize cell phones & computers for Christ's sake. Maybe that didn't come out right? Maybe I should be pitch corrected?

    Strike three? What? I'm out? Jesus! Or is it Alla?
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  14. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Joe Cocker's pitch was better than 90% of the so called musicians on the radio today without their autotune or melodyne as was his rhythm.
  15. aj113

    aj113 Active Member

    Looks like I'm going out on a limb here but bearing in mind they are singers, I would prefer to hear them in tune.
    Well then it's time they learned to sing in tune IMO.
    Singing in tune is not about perfection. it's about singing in tune. For me, it's a basic requisite along with good timing. If you can't pitch your voice and/or time your phrasing well, how in the world do you expect to have an end product that is pleasant to the ear?

    Just to emphasise, these are my personal views. I'm not saying they are right, or that the are the only valid views.
  16. aj113

    aj113 Active Member

    Yes that is my point. I mean, if they don't have these basic rudiments, what sets them apart as a singer? What exactly ARE their talents without good pitching and timing?
  17. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    UM, writing good tunes? Their stylistic audible & visual eye candy? And there is nothing that will turn Rod Stewart or Janis Joplin from trashed whiskey & smoke-filled voices into clear tonal proper singers. Blast the pitch aspect, what about the sound of people's voices? What are you beginners trying to say? Everybody should sound like a McDonald's hamburger? I mean that's perfection isn't it? The same perfection with over 99 billion sold and not counting anymore. Nobody wants that. Rock 'n roll singers are characters in the largest musical movie in the world. If by chance you are talking about yours or other amateur rock 'n roll groups, sure, they need all the help they can get. That's obvious. And obviously, that's what you are talking about. While Joe Cocker may have sung in tune most of the time, his voice sounds like an old rusted out car. And that's part of the sales point. So why can't we just let people be the people they are? Pitch correction is like trying to make everybody believes in the same religion. That's a losing battle. It has its place no doubt but more so in the subtle use of it. And not the blatant usage taking a no talent and turning them into a superstar just because they look cute. That's a greed profit motive which isn't exactly connected to artistic value. So you are getting your ideas of pitch correction confused with that of no talents. For instance, if I record and operatic singer who I believe actually has considerable talent and presents a lovely performance with only one note not slightly being exactly on pitch, I'll help them out. But 3 strikes and you're out.

    Recording engineering a great American pastime.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  18. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    I think we are going about shades of the same thing. No one has commented on the "quality" of a given voice. I don't use pitch correction software mostly because I don't have to for what I do. I also don't use the same scale of "in tune" for a member of my horn section as I do for Joe Average wanting to lay in a pop or blues or folk tune. But there is only so average you can be before it detracts no matter what. I don't recommend correcting much at all even on pop. If they can't do it live then don't pretend they can in the studio. I guess that is what I mean. Cocker and Joplin and Stewart et alia sounded more or less the same live as they did in a studio with regards to pitch and rhythm and no I don't mean something might not have been "corrected" here and there by some engineer.

    I guess it also comes down to folks not wanting to do the work to attain their musical goals too, and maybe that irritates me more than a lack of abundant talent.
  19. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Sorry Kapt. - I thought your tongue was in the other cheek. See, I don't think of someone like Dylan or Cocker as "singing out of tune" (usually) any more than I think of a blues guitarist doing a two-step bend as "playing out of tune." Their style is as deliberate as (though less precise than) a classical singer's vibrato. My classically (or at least expensively) trained daughter referred to Dylan as "always moving around the correct pitch." Generally, you don't want to correct this any more than you want to take Maria Callas and get rid of her vibrato so she sounds like she's in the Vienna Boys choir. (You can do this with Melodyne, by the way.) Celemony is well aware of this too. In their tutorials they talk about how you shouldn't use their algorithms for identifying pitch center on notes with asymmetric pitch slides. These notes have to be adjusted free-hand if you want to change their pitch center.

    See, we've got to distinguish between using pitch manipulation tools to correct/change a variation in pitch (which can be deliberate or accidental (e.g. pitch drifting down at the end of notes)) or simply missing the pitch center. Tools like Melodyne can do either. But just like a compressor or a limiter, you can use them to make things better or make things worse.
  20. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    John - Have you tried Melodyne on a horn section? If not you should. The trial version works well. Like many tools, it sounds best when needed least.

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