Wednesday 17 April 2013

Chipmunked disco diva

A fascinating article on Auto-Tune, the pitch-correcting software for singers and musicians, whose creator was (a) a classical flautist* and (b) using algorithms designed for the oil industry.

When I flipped that article to a friend, he sent me back this one from 2009, talking about the spread of Auto-Tune in North African and Arabic music, and makes a really interesting point:
Contemporary ra├» and Berber music embrace Auto-Tune so heartily precisely because glissandos are a central part of vocal performance (you can’t be a good singer unless your voice can flutter around those notes): sliding pitches sound startling through it. A weird electronic warble embeds itself in rich, throaty glissandos. The struggle of human nuance versus digital correction is made audible, dramatized. Quite literally this is the sound of voice and machine intermodulating – a far cry from [music critic Jody] Rosen’s conclusion that T-Pain uses the technology to ‘impersonate a computer’. 
Chalk another one up for machines that make art. Speaking of which, when I sent the top article to another friend, he responded with this - and I'm not even sure where to go when the world starts imploding like that.

* Where does that extra a come from?

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