"Absolutely no vocal tuning or pitch correction was used in the making of this record

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Mark Pfeiffer, Aug 6, 2002.

  1. Mark Pfeiffer

    Mark Pfeiffer Screenwriter

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    A sticker on the wrapper for he new Allison Moorer album Miss Fortune says, "Absolutely no vocal tuning or pitch correction was used in the making of this record." What do you make of this?

    Considering how overprocessed a lot of popular music sounds these days, I suppose it's nice to know what is "the real deal", so to speak. There's nothing wrong with technological advances, but if it is utilized to create photogenic artists with questionable talent instead of gifted performers, I have a problem with that. (Not that Ms. Moorer is hurting in the looks department, by any means.)

    I'm curious what the intention is with this sticker.
     
  2. Yee-Ming

    Yee-Ming Producer

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    perhaps precisely to get away from overprocessed music? the ultimate case in point: the rise of the boy-bands, useless bunch of gits... [​IMG]
    call me a cynic, but the low-point was TV shows like "Popstars" and "Making The Band", where they didn't even pretend (unlike NKOTB or Spice Girls) and actually showed how the record company would audition, select and train the prospective "band" members. blech. [​IMG]
    and what happened to the old distinction, "bands" played instruments, if they only sang (and danced) they were a "group"?
    sorry, rant off. but yes, IMHO the sticker is precisely to "counter" the fact that many attractive singers and groups were not selected and promoted on the basis of musical talent but purely on looks (and maybe charisma), and many consumers now cynically assume an attractive singer isn't really that good and her voice was processed. perhaps this is a return to the "good ole days" where singers really could sing?
    curiously, IIRC there's always been a "distinction" in Hong Kong, where singers are routinely recognised as being in one of either of two "camps" or "categories", the "idols" and the "real singers". although in some cases the distinction is of course blurred.
     
  3. Tim Hoover

    Tim Hoover Screenwriter

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    Finally, a glimmer of hope...

    While at work Sunday night, I was listening to the only station of which we can get decent reception - and, of course, it's a "contemporary pop" station...ugh - and went off on a rant about the overuse of pitch-correction software. It seems that this kind of thing just sucks the life out of vocals.

    Sometimes, I wish the Antares Auto-Tune plugin had never been invented.
     
  4. Andrew 'Ange Hamm' Hamm

    Andrew 'Ange Hamm' Hamm Supporting Actor

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    I'm not sure that sticker accomplishes anything other than to swell the ego of the producer. Pitch correction and vocal effects are not inherently evil, it's the stupid, charmless overuse of them by unimaginative producers that stinks. If the tech toys disappeared from the face of the earth, the same producers would find different ways to rip the soul out of their acts' music.

    I am reminded of Boston's liner notes that trumpet "No synthesizers!" and "real hand claps!" Ooooh, we're all really impressed down here.
     
  5. Greg_Y

    Greg_Y Screenwriter

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  6. James Q Jenkins

    James Q Jenkins Stunt Coordinator

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    I agree with Andrew. Any time that this type of sticker is used, it's usually to swell people's heads. Either the producer or more likely the artist. "Look how great I am I don't need to use tuning electronics". Please.

    That Rage Against the Machine quote is just as much hubris and BS as anything else. Their point is a little different, since their guitarrist made some pretty crazy unconventional sounds with his guitar. It helps to appreciate these imaginative sounds if you know that there are no synths on the album.

    However, if you're good enough to toot your own horn like this you should be good enough to let the music stand up on its own.
     
  7. mike_decock

    mike_decock Supporting Actor

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    It's just marketing. Some singers take pride in the fact they don't need pitch correction, some don't care. I can pick out pitch correction pretty easily and it really doesn't bother me. It's an artistic/creative choice. If you like it, buy it, if you don't, leave it on the shelf. I have no qualms listening to Britney Spears or Diana Krall. Different music to suit different moods.

    I remember being in a record store many moons ago, and shrink-wrapped with the record was a pair of headphones! Crappy headphones like the ones that come with your portable blister-pack CD players. I thought to myself, "That must be one God awful album if they have to entice you with a free set of headphones to buy the durn thing".

    Once the artists and producers are done, the marketing machine takes over to promote it and sell it whatever way they can.


    -Mike...
     
  8. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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  9. Andrew 'Ange Hamm' Hamm

    Andrew 'Ange Hamm' Hamm Supporting Actor

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    In the case of Rage, all they had to do was list the players for the album and have no synth player on the list. Period. Then everyone thinks, "whoa, how'd they do that with no synthesizers?" but they have to kind of look for it.
    Regarding Boston, I almost put "Real handclaps!" in the liner notes for my album Strange Education, but I figured mockery was inappropriate on a Christian rock CD... They are real handclaps, though.
     
  10. George See

    George See Second Unit

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    I'm usually against pitch correction and any tricks to make someone sound a better singer then they are. Using electronic tricks to make an interesting sound in the name of art is totally different though.
     
  11. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

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    2 bands I can think of which were big about advocating that they used no synths were Queen and Tesla (No Machines was in their liner notes).
    Funny that Queen apparently realized one day that synths could do some pretty cool stuff and suddenly we got things like Kind of Magic and Works, both of which I enjoy quite a bit.
    As Mike said, we all hated those Floyd and Wonder albums. [​IMG]
    And I can't begin to tell you how horrible Fat Boy Slim's stuff is, or Prodigy, or Eurythmics, or...
    It may not be for everyone, but machines/production devices CAN be used well.
    I mean, plenty of people use a guitar, but do they all use it WELL? [​IMG]
     
  12. Brett_H

    Brett_H Second Unit

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    mike_decock,

     
  13. mike_decock

    mike_decock Supporting Actor

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  14. Brett_H

    Brett_H Second Unit

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    Mike,
    Thanks for clearing that up.
     
  15. mike_decock

    mike_decock Supporting Actor

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  16. mike_decock

    mike_decock Supporting Actor

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    Another thought about the post-processing thing:

    How about "artistic" decisions being made after the recording of the performance? Remember the end of "Layla" by Derek and the Dominos where they change keys? During the mastering process they decided to speed up the tape a whole note because they felt that the song was dragging on too long (which it was).

    I can understand the appreciation for live performances. I stopped going to concerts a long time ago because they're always too loud. However, I consider studio albums a completely different art. I love seeing what my favorite artists can dream up without the limitations of having to perform it "live".

    The Beatles (Sgt. Pepper's and later), Jellyfish (Spilt Milk) and Mike Oldfield (everything) are all good examples of artistically great albums that could never have been done without heavy multitracking and pitch-shifting (like the guitars played back at double-speed on many of Mike Oldfield's albums). I consider all the technologies available as the "instruments" used in the artistic process of creating an album.


    -Mike...
     
  17. Brett_H

    Brett_H Second Unit

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    Mike,

     
  18. Kevin P

    Kevin P Screenwriter

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    Here's my take on the pitch-shifting, etc. If it's applied in order to create an artistic effect, such as the aforementioned example in Cher's "Believe", I don't mind that. But when it's used to make someone who can't sing sound better (Britney anyone?) that's what I don't like.
    This reminds me of a Far Side cartoon. I think the caption read something like "Carl's last day as the band's sound man". It shows him at the mixing console at a concert, with his finger on the "suck" knob, and the audience is throwing tomatoes at the band.
    Hmmm... that's what we need on our receivers and preamps! A "Suck" DSP! Makes any talented artist sound like Britney! It would be a great way to adapt real music to today's kids. [​IMG] [​IMG]
    KJP
     
  19. mike_decock

    mike_decock Supporting Actor

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  20. Josh Dial

    Josh Dial Cinematographer

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    I am a firm believer that the best way to "gauge" talent, if you can even do such a thing, is to listen to an artist sing a cappella. Even without any vocal tuning etc, an artist can still tune to the guitars or other instruments (of course, not all musicians record lyrics alongside intrumentals).
    It's amazing to hear some "talented singers" sing without instruments alongside them, a few fall flat. On the other hand, some artists whose work is trashed in the media due to poor career choices, stylistic choices or whatever, sometimes turn out to be amazing vocalists.
    Just to undertand what I mean by this, try and find a few a cappella recordings by big name artists. NSYNC and the backstreet boys have tremendous talent singing together and sounding cohesive.
    When I met the band Rockapella (www.rockapella.com) , one of the best a cappella groups ever, I asked them who they think is underated as vocalists. The aforementioned artists were listed, along with a few other pop artists etc.
    Rockapella themselves are truly amazing, and they feature one of the best vocal persussionists in the world, Jeff Thatcher.
    cheers!
    Josh
     

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