This week, Sasha Frere-Jones writes about Auto-Tune, a pitch-correction software program used in
pop music just about everywhere nowadays. Frere talks about how Auto-Tune has become a pop-music phenomenon, and demonstrates how it can transform the human voice, with the help of the music producer Tom Beaujour.
Listen to the mp3 here or right-click here to download.
I'm glad someone is exposing this trick finally. The American Idol generation simply could not exist without it.
Hailed as the "holy grail of recording," Auto-Tune corrects intonation problems in vocals or solo instruments, in real time, without distortion or artifacts, while preserving all of the expressive nuance of the original performance - with audio quality so pristine that the only difference between what goes in and what comes out is the intonation.
For most common pitch problems, the Auto-Tune's Automatic Mode instantly detects the pitch of the input, identifies the closest pitch in a user-specified scale (including minor, major, chromatic and 26 historical and microtonal scales), and corrects the input pitch to match the scale pitch. A Retune Speed control lets you match the retune rate to virtually any performance style.
But wait, theres more!
For those concerned about pitch correction that is “too perfect,” (à la Cher) the "Humanize" function allows you to set a fast retune speed for short notes, while still allowing natural variation in held notes, for results that are even more natural and realistic!
So now even you can be a singing sensation!