The Harmonics: "Escape Velocity"

All things Recorded A Cappella Review Board.

Postby rebecca » Wed Sep 02, 2009 5:09 am

chadberg wrote:
Ed Boyer wrote:If I start thousands of sackbut ensembles across the world


Then you'll have greatly amused this sometimes early music performer. Although you've already done that with the notion.


I recently did a gig with a chamber choir and a sackbut ensemble in a church. Now I know we were keeping it a cappella the whole time! Thanks, Ed!
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Postby julia hoffman » Sun Sep 13, 2009 11:20 am

President, Contemporary A cappella Society (CASA) Director, CARA and ACA awards Exec Producer, SING Compilation Judge, ICCA, SoJam, etc. West Producer, ICCA 2003-2005 Stanford Harmonics 1999-2003

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Postby s.phypers » Sun Sep 13, 2009 2:18 pm

Thanks Julia! I really enjoyed reading that article, especially the idea that people have such a problem with auto-tune because of the personal connection to the human voice. This argument certainly holds true to me, but then again, the only other instrument I play is piano, which I often want to throw out of a window... not quite the same personal connection there...

I think auto-tune is a great tool, but is abused very often - for example, in another post in the forum the discussion has been the blatant use of it in last weeks episode of Glee. Why auto tune Lea Michelle, who has a fantastic voice and can definitely hit those notes, instead of making her sing it correctly? Because it's easier to fix her with the program than it is to sit through the 15 takes till she gets it right. I worry about this, especially since I've opted for the easy fix myself - is auto-tune just promoting poor singing and laziness on the part of the engineer? That's extreme, but in a way, I think it's true.

Sorry I know that this was a bit of a diversion from the topic at hand. I haven't heard the Harmonics album yet but I look forward to giving it a listen!

Shannon Phypers Choral Director, Marlborough High School Ithaca College '07 - Current slave to BU's M.M. online degree program

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Postby Ed Boyer » Sun Sep 13, 2009 3:35 pm

is auto-tune just promoting poor singing and laziness on the part of the engineer?


Good question. I think the answer is "no." From my experience (and I'd be curious to hear what other engineers say), singers who experience their own voice being pitch-corrected usually end up being better singers for it.

If I'm working with the same singer over the course of an album or several albums, the rule, and not the exception, is that they become more accurate (with pitch and time) as time goes by.

For one thing, hearing yourself singing out of tune on playback, seeing a graph of just how far out of tune you sang, and then hearing what you should have sung (once it's been corrected) is extremely humbling and motivating. For a lot of people, this is the first time they even realize that they actually do sing out of tune, even if they've been told so by their MD 100 times.

Also (and this part is a little more out-there) hearing yourself sing something in tune, even if you didn't actually do it, acts as a sort of creative visualization.

As for the actual recordings, now that pitch correction (as a corrective tool, not an effect) is a fact of life, getting too focused on pitch during a recording session is only a distraction from focusing on the things that will actually translate to the final product (energy, emotion, style, etc.)

As for the article...

I wish the article (and people in general) deciphered a little more between correction as an effect and correction as a tool. Almost all of the examples they use are of artists who use it as an effect. There are a lot of people using it sparingly and transparently ("that take was good, if we can just fix than one note" etc.). But I guess getting in to the gray area makes for a lesser story.
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Postby mrmiller » Sun Sep 13, 2009 6:29 pm

Ed: agreed. At the same time, I feel like most groups don't get to see their vocals tuned into workable shape so they miss out on that experience. But I do agree with you--recording and tuning myself was the best thing that ever happened to my singing (not that that's saying much, but it was certainly much worse before!).

MIT Logarhythms '05-'09, Music Director '08, CD Manager '08

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Postby billhare » Mon Sep 14, 2009 12:14 pm

The other thing we're not mentioning here is for every time you can actually HEAR AutoTune being used, there were many instances where it was there and you didn't hear it. When used carefully and judiciously, it can be extremely transparent and effective! :-)

-B

Bill Hare Some dude who records and mixes people who can't play instruments. http://www.dyz.com

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