[linux-audio-user] Re: Note tuning and quantizer in audio files

tim hall tech at glastonburymusic.org.uk
Wed Jul 7 05:12:30 EDT 2004

Last Tuesday 06 July 2004 18:42, Alastair Couper was like:
> The technology is interesting, to be sure. But what does it say about the  
> state of artistry these days ? I recently read an interview with David  
> Crosby, decrying the rise of autotune plugins and the like. He spent his  
> energies on learning to sing on pitch. These days performers don't need to
>   sing at all, they just mouth tracks that were autotuned in the studio.
> And another interview has James Brown saying: don't use a drum machine,
> learn to play the drums. The best music comes from the mastery of an
> instrument or vocal skill, not from editing.

Yes, David Crosby has the legendary ability to sing on pitch even when his 
entire throat and lungs were coated with cocaine residue and he was unable to 
attend to his most basic life requirements. Much the same could be said for 
James Brown. These guys are exceptional musicians. However, Crosby was not 
above using the studio, either, some of his takes were pieced together line 
by line.

By and large, it's generally quicker and easier just to do the take again and 
get it right, but you get moments in an otherwise excellent and possibly 
unrepeatable take where you need to adjust the odd note or whatever.
You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear to be sure, but sometimes you 
can get a rather fetching little leather wallet if you persevere.

I would also much rather use a live drummer in all circumstances, but finding 
someone who can play it right at 3 o'clock Friday morning isn't always that 
easy either :]

> I have watched as I try various tools to bang my playing into shape, and  
> am finally deciding that this is the wrong way to go. Spitiual death is  
> around the corner. Live music is best. Music is meant to be PLAYED after  
> all, not worked. Or worked over.

Yes/no. I find I tend to play stuff live when I'm writing then adjust with a 
MIDI editor, my technical skills really aren't up to the music I'm writing, 
so some compromise is necessary. I can't afford session fees.

> A minority opinion from a nobody. Given the state of the "industry"  
> though, it's going to be like Photoshop for audio, where there is no  
> physical point of reference anymore, and anything can be morphed into  
> anything.

Yes, it _is_ like photoshop for audio. I think that provides some wonderful 
opportunities for creativity. Using anything to make up for skill deficits is 
going to be a bad job, generally speaking. Consider instead the skills we can 
develop using new tools to do things that were previously impossible. Most of 
what seems to make the difference between a shoddy and an excellent piece of 
work is the quality of attention applied to it, the technical skill of the 
creator isn't strictly important here, if they gave it 100+% when they made 
it, that often comes across in the final piece. (IMO)


tim hall

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