kickingtone

What is motivating people to learn to sing?

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A few days ago, I saw a post on Reddit where someone was asking for his singing to be critiqued.

After a couple of replies the person says that there was...

"some light pitch correction"...

...in his singing sample!

:wacko:

Making changes to pitch or rhythm makes a mockery of any critique of technique (it wasn't a finished cover, or anything; it was him practising).

So, what's the point?

Will people start to become so reliant on technology that they won't bother anymore?

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      I feel that way when people use backing tracks on live performances. Whats the point? you might as well just play a CD and listen with the rest of the crowd. I get the argument from local bands that it is how the big boys do it.

    Their point is that they can not sound like the recording when there are 5 guitars, a string section, 2 drummers  and backup singers on the recording and they only have a 4 or 5 piece band. My point is that if you have the string section, horns and backup singers on backing track, no one will believe that you are not lip syncing any way and it is best to go ahead and change the arrangement to sound good with the  4 or 5 members of your band.

     The bar is raised too high and people want quick success without work.  Then again it is still art to arrange and build a song through computer software. You are still creating the melody, building the harmonies and deciding which instruments(sound characters) are going to provide the different harmonies and put it all together to make musical sense. But I would not use it on a "Live" performance.

     It is a fact that recorded music is manipulated to a high degree before you hear it on the radio or cds and such. Even in the old days when songs were recorded with live musicians they would record several tracks of a song and pick the one with less mistakes and even splice the recordings and one section from one track and another from a different track and put them together to sound as if it was one track recorded at one time.

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16 hours ago, MDEW said:

Whats the point? you might as well just play a CD and listen with the rest of the crowd.

:lol: 

..I'm getting a picture of a stage with a CD player in the middle, and the band flipping on a tune and going to sit in the audience.

17 hours ago, MDEW said:

The bar is raised too high and people want quick success without work.

So, what do people see as success?

Is it about fame, money, getting a "message" out there willy nilly?

Maybe the singing/performance is only a means to an end, and the creative satisfaction is slipping down the league table.

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15 minutes ago, kickingtone said:

So, what do people see as success?

Is it about fame, money, getting a "message" out there willy nilly?

Maybe the singing/performance is only a means to an end, and the creative satisfaction is slipping down the league table.

    There is a controversy about guitar shredders on instagram speeding up the video and audio to make them look like they are playing faster, but then, people have been enhancing their pictures with Photoshop since the beginning of instagram.

    For whatever reason it seems that no matter how good you are or what you can do....success is something better. Maybe "Success" means having people believe you are somehow better than what you are.

    I have to remind myself that what you see and hear on the Tv, Radio, Youtube..etc is not how things look and sound in reality. The flaws are cropped out, edited and presented in their best light. Even the videos that were made to bring to light the fact that shredders were speeding up their videos were cropped edited and different camera angles were used throughout the videos and the false starts and tongue twisted words were edited out to enhance their own video about the "Fake" shredders. So, their own video presentation was "Fake".

    Even in this day and age where electronic manipulation is the norm, some  people are believing that what you see and hear on video is a  real and a proper representation of reality and to be considered good you have to look and sound like that "manipulated image" just to appear somewhat "Normal". Success has to be better than the "Manipulated Image".

   

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Yeah, it's the  Age of Fake, really. It's not just music, it's anywhere you look. Sport is dominated by.. let's just call it chemistry. Doping, microdoping... all that ish is winning. Fashion and beauty has been down the swanny for decades. A model is no longer a symbol of health and beauty, but the wonders of the surgeon's knife and weird fads.

A toxic combination of competition and a monopoly on information breeds a culture of deception.

But people seem to have Stockholm Syndrome, buying into the deception, at least with their particular "hero" or "heroine". People want heroes, and they want to believe that their heroes are superhuman. So there is actually a demand for deception, coupled with a bizarre intolerance of cheats. Clumsy cheats spoil the party. If you can't pull off the cheating with polish and finesse, you will face the wrath of the public. You are a killjoy.

Artistic production can be what it likes. But when deception is an integral part of the story, something isn't quite right.

 

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49 minutes ago, kickingtone said:

But people seem to have Stockholm Syndrome, buying into the deception, at least with their particular "hero" or "heroine". People want heroes, and they want to believe that their heroes are superhuman. So there is actually a demand for deception, coupled with a bizarre intolerance of cheats.

     I play the guitar. When I started I was amazed by how people could play the guitar and come up with leads and rhythms that sounded so awesome, how it would enhance the rest of the music. I guess it would be the same for any musician or singer... perhaps any kind of art. I believed that to be a good player you had to be able to come up with the lead or rhythm on the spot, so to speak.... without hearing the music or song before, to be able to just jump in and start playing it and still sound "Good". Hear a melody in your head and then just reproduce it....I thought it was cheating to sit down and listen to a guitar lead and work it out note by note and use that same lead every time you played the song. To me that was memorizing, not playing.... so I would come up with my own leads, then I would get comments that I was not playing the song the way you heard it on the radio....I thought it was cheating when I used my fingers instead of a pick to play certain phrases.....There were songs I would play that I would use a capo(a device to change the tuning on a guitar) to make the song easier to play. I thought that was cheating......

      Anyway.... all these things I thought were cheating were actually the way that the recording artists did things. You learn a lead and guitar part by working it out and memorizing it before you record it....There are things to do that make the guitar playing easier and faster when needed. Hammer ons and pull offs to play 3 or 4 notes with one stroke of the pick instead of striking each note individually. You practice scales on your instrument that are played with certain chord patterns. Use a capo when it makes the fingers land in a better place that is more suited for the phrase. These things are not cheats but techniques.

     Back to playing songs live....another thing that I learned, is that the original artist does NOT play a song the way you hear it on the radio or recording. Most of the time the song CANNOT be reproduced live and sound the same as it is on a recording.

     When playing some songs live and I or the band get the comment that I did not play the song like you hear it on CD, I will inform the person that the Recording uses 4 or 5 guitars playing different parts at the same time and I can only play ONE guitar at a time or that the original band does not even play the song the way you hear it on the recording.

    I guess for singers it appears to be the same as when I first starting to play guitar, you get the idea that it is cheating to learn scales or use weird singing exercises to learn how to manipulate your sound and coordinate your voice to sing certain pitches with a certain sound.... It should just come out automatically if you are going to be any good.....No..... you learn how to manipulate and coordinate in a suitable manor to get the sounds you want in a particular pitch range....You practice scales so the notes you produce will conform to the music that is being played.....If you are always practicing the same scale in the same key all the time your voice will get used to making a certain interval jump that may not go along with the music when in a different "Key". Practice is essential no matter what your level is at this point or any other point. You learn one phrase at a time by repetition and memory. Just because you practice a scale everyday .... that is not sufficient when singing. All songs do not use the same scale(group of notes). Some songs will change scale and key in the middle of the song.

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At least you see guitarists playing live, using a capo. They are not out to fool anyone. What would be a problem would be if they had been recorded using a capo and only pretended to be playing live without a capo. Even then, I guess that it would take an actual guitarist, like yourself, to attach greater skill to one or the other.

On the one hand, people can be fooled into practising harder than they otherwise would, because of all those lofty targets. But, when people catch on to the deception, it can have the opposite effect... "if a pedal works, why sweat and toil? Just use that".

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    They never were out to fool anyone. It was about making the music and not about visual perceptions. The audience not understanding the "magic" of recording was not the end goal but the sound of the music was.

    Now it seems that the visual impression or perception of the audience is the goal and the music is secondary.  It is still kind of backwards today. The "Star" or singer is out front and the musicians and backing vocals that make him sound good are in the background."

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6 hours ago, kickingtone said:

If it is about priorities, rather than fooling people, they should put the pedals out in the open.

That way everyone can see the singer pull a lever before their voice changes.

I suppose at that point it would end up being about who has the biggest or most expensive pedal or who uses the most pedals. I see that with guitarists too. A box sitting in front of the guitar player with any where from 6 to 10 effects pedals all strung together at the guitarists feet, let alone the wall of marshal amplifiers.

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 I wonder if I can Hire him for an up coming gig I have. It is only 4 hours long. A good sound man is hard to find.

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When asked if Christina Aguilera uses autotune, he evades the question and says, "she's a singer".

So, even their example of a singer who least needs autotune, is not "in the clear"!

The times they are a-changing folks! I think this must factor into why a lot of people are less and less interested in pitch control.

As he says at the beginning, how you look is becoming the main factor. And even that's turning into a plastic surgery contest.

 

 

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     Manipulating the recorded voice is something that has been done since the beginning of recording. If you look on youtube for outtakes  you can find that some songs were 25 cuts or more just for the singing. Cutting and splicing tape where the singers were off pitch or had a bad sound was par for the course. That is where the term "Cut a Record" came from.

     As for Beauty over talent....Marilyn Monroe sang OFF Key on purpose. That was part of her act...being a dumb blonde.

    John Lennon hated the sound of his voice. That is why most of his songs had that dreamy over reverbed or phase shifted sound. He would sing the same phrases multiple times and they would add them together. Elvis would record the songs live with the band but there were sometimes 60 cuts of the same song so they could splice them together and make the final cut that became the record..

    Autotune is still just a tool and some talent is required to make a good recording. If not by the singer, by the recording engineer, the producer and the music.

   The audience is getting tired of the Autotune sound along with the overly perfect digital characteristics of today''s musical culture. The times are a changin'' and I hope we will go back to a more natural sound to our music.

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You usually do not see or hear about how many times things went wrong before that perfect one take recording took place,

 

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10 hours ago, MDEW said:

 The audience is getting tired of the Autotune sound along with the overly perfect digital characteristics of today''s musical culture. The times are a changin'' and I hope we will go back to a more natural sound to our music.

Some genres are all about the autotune sound.

I still don't think that "we" know enough about pitch to be able to perfect it artificially. Pitch is a psychoacoustic measurement that is only approximately equivalent to frequency. I think that people who learn to isolate frequency, and call that "pitch" have learned something unnatural.

So-called pitch "errors" are not always errors, imo. They are part of the context and expression. An autotuned song may be "safe", but that doesn't make it perfect or optimal in terms of expression. I often find that "corrected" vocals sound "incorrect" because the sound engineer has not picked up on nuances in pitch, and simply applied a nearest semi-tone rule. That rule has no real and solid psychoacoustic basis. Our ears are far more fine-tuned than semi-tones.

I think that natural pitch is a real thing. It is not "perfect pitch with errors". It is something complex that we do not yet fully understand and cannot automate.

Added reverb can be natural or artificial. Adding reverb should be equivalent to singing in the required optimal natural environment. But reverb is obviously used for unnatural effects, too.

To sing, you have to find the correct acoustic environment, or add it artificially (the norm for non-classical music). You can't train reverb into your voice without an environment to reflect it.

Unlike added reverb, pitch correction is not a borderline hack. it is a full on hack. You cannot find a pitch correcting environment to sing in. Usually, it is not the environment to blame for poor pitch (unless you pick something really crap, like an indoor swimming pool).

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2 hours ago, kickingtone said:

I still don't think that "we" know enough about pitch to be able to perfect it artificially. Pitch is a psychoacoustic measurement that is only approximately equivalent to frequency. I think that people who learn to isolate frequency, and call that "pitch" have learned something unnatural.

So-called pitch "errors" are not always errors, imo. They are part of the context and expression. An autotuned song may be "safe", but that doesn't make it perfect or optimal in terms of expression. I often find that "corrected" vocals sound "incorrect" because the sound engineer has not picked up on nuances in pitch, and simply applied a nearest semi-tone rule. That rule has no real and solid psychoacoustic basis. Our ears are far more fine-tuned than semi-tones.

I agree with all of this. "Perfect Pitch" is sonically and harmonically out of tune. You can only perfectly tune an instrument to "One Key"  at a time and then its environment and distance from the listener will change the perceived pitches. No matter how you look at it "an in tune  Pitch" is relative to the environment and the other instruments that are incorporated into the music.

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It's interesting how we are more accepting of these facts when it comes to sight.

People don't go up to a landscape artist and say, "hey you got the colour of those leaves wrong, wait here, I'll go and fetch one for you.."....or...."I don't think the sky is that colour.."...

We know that the artist is not ultimately interested in frequencies of electromagnetic radiation. And we don't make up rules or "keys" for combining colour. There may be guidelines, but even for the most "faithful" painting, the artist will put mood and context before any kind of exact colour matching.

We also tend to respect the fact people see colours differently. You say blue, I say green. You say those two colours don't "go together", I say they do.

One person can see the same colour differently in different contexts, too. They may tell you that a colour is yellow if it is used to paint a corn field, then tell you it is green if used to paint a cat. That is because perceived colour is relative to context and expectation, and feels different in different contexts. The greenness may stand out more if it is out of context.

I don't think that our sense of hearing is fundamentally different to sight in terms of psychology.

Imagine a landscape artist getting his painting "autotuned"!

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40 minutes ago, kickingtone said:

We know that the artist is not ultimately interested in frequencies of electromagnetic radiation. And we don't make up rules or "keys" for combining colour. There may be guidelines, but even for the most "faithful" painting, the artist will put mood and context before any kind of exact colour matching.

 

 

41 minutes ago, kickingtone said:

There may be guidelines

 

46 minutes ago, kickingtone said:

And we don't make up rules or "keys" for combining colour.

    We are taught guidelines and there are truths in the teaching that is across the board over many cultures. We are taught the color wheel, color gradients(light to dark)(Bold to faint), design elements, which colors appear to be closer and which appear to be farther away, what combinations to use to mix your own colors, How to choose the colors to use in your palate Even when using black and white we are taught shading and thickness of line and how to combine them for effects. etc....

   Structured teaching in any art gives the artist more choices and a focus to bring his/her vision to the canvas. 

  I can understand how unstructured experimentation could lead to new ways of artistic creation and expression but even those experiments lead to their own "Guidelines" to be used for the creation and expression. In essence we make up new "rules" for that form of expression.

   As for "Autotune" That is a tool for the Producer or Mixer/sound engineer to create his art. The singer is part of the tools or palate that that particular "Artist" uses.

 

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2 hours ago, MDEW said:

We are taught guidelines and there are truths in the teaching that is across the board over many cultures. We are taught the color wheel, color gradients(light to dark)(Bold to faint), design elements, which colors appear to be closer and which appear to be farther away, what combinations to use to mix your own colors, How to choose the colors to use in your palate Even when using black and white we are taught shading and thickness of line and how to combine them for effects. etc....

Guidelines can have their roots in natural reality. For example, the colour wheel pretty much reflects the arrangement of the rainbow. Closeness of colours etc. are more to do with natural observation, than man-made rules.

A lot of the standardization of musical concepts comes from the fact that it is a lot more of a cooperative enterprise. You don't often have the equivalent of an orchestra in other forms of art. Architecture may be an exception. Perhaps the painting of the Sistine Chapel or weaving of the Bayeux Tapestry or building of a piece of architecture involved some bespoke standard, but even these cooperative efforts lead to styles rather than rules.

What is the equivalent of Middle C or a semi-tone in painting? What colour has been standardized for a painting? These were man-made concepts, not as a result of art, but for technical expediency. It wasn't an observation about nature or our auditory senses. Somebody simply said, "we need a reference point, hey 262Hz". Today, the ability to pinpoint Middle C adhoc, and wince when it is not 262Hz has become a sign of "musicality".

Harmonics (mainly the simpler ratios between frequencies), yes, they do occur naturally and are something that we naturally perceive,  That does not mean that we want them to match or be in exact multiples or obey some rule. Different sensations, ranging from beats to ringing can occur depending on how close a harmonic is. In turning guidelines into rules, we are training our ears to be intolerant to certain sounds, not because they are unmusical, but because the man-made expedient is taking over the art.

And with sight, we know and tolerate the fact that we all differ. We know it is not the binary -- "you are colour blind or you are not" -- situation. We know that there is a lot of variation and diversity in between. How can we possibly talk about "correct shade of colour" in an exact quantitive way when each person's eyes operates differently - with age, ethnicity, sex etc. From a sensitivity perspective alone, where orange becomes red may depend on the number and density of red cones in your retina. And that's ignoring all the wiring and psychology that comes after that. We don't assume our eyes follow some linear model, like a spectrogram. We know that sight is far more subtle. Any theory explain why different colours "go together" will be a lot more speculative, fuzzy and academic that a similar discussion about keys in music.

Our ears are of the same level of complexity as our eyes. Yet, we try to explain musicality by standardized linearized concepts. Weird

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at the end of the day the whole thing is rigged from big time to little little shit bag one two three on open mic nights where anyone who goes anywhere in music is simply picked from  a group of family and friends  (yes a david icke illuminati bloodlines job!) and if you ant in that little group then no one is going to promote you though mass lies and deseption of marketing media that you sound great!

 

I use Dravy Greaven who snooted up sticks hear a wile ago after the troubles as an example! because he bowsts about his father being a big  32 degree freemason (big man now! supirior master race now worthless little eater of prison planet)

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Most people on reddit r singing are not looking for technique, they just like to talk or read about singing, or want to show their voices and get some casual opinions on it. Of course people will use computer technology to sound as good as they can get it to sound, on some cases you will get a tutorial on tuning your voice as part of the DAW introduction, but usually that wont go very far either.

Do note however that you start the thread saying that using autotune to achieve the standards of pitch and rhythm makes a mockery of reviewing, implying that reviewing depends on these, and later you complain about these same standards.

 

My opinion is the same as it always was, people can tell good from bad without help when they are choosing what the music they enjoy to hear, and they can do the same with their voices as long as they dont sabotage their perception with excuses to why they dont sound as good as the stuff they enjoy, when these are dropped, then the need for technique may appear.

If that person was just trying to make it sound as good as he could get it, and was not pretending to be some sort of singing technique reference, it fits this attempt, in a non optimal way, and to me its all good as long as he does not make a point of lying about it (as in deliberately saying he IS NOT auto-tuning when he is). Actually its all good with me either way :P.

 

But where is the link to such reddit posting event?

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... discussions and complaints about the use of some tuning software for 5 seconds in a production is nothing more than pretentious horse shit. Anyone that says they have never used it for a client or for themselves, for a second here or there, is a liar.

It is just a tool and if you use it for 5 to 8 seconds in a song, it doesn't prove or mean anything about the artist that uses it except that they wanted to save some time. Acting "above" tuning software, used in a proper way as a tool, is "virtue signaling" for singers... It's all about outward appearances and posturing to look virtuous to social media viewers.

 :z-coffee:

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14 minutes ago, Robert Lunte said:

It's all about outward appearances and posturing to look virtuous to social media viewers.

in a prvius life hear when I was dressed up as side show I discussed with MD the hollow matrix of the 2D hollow-gram that is projected though rays of white red green and yellow light though the TV or computer screen that dose not look or sound the same on the other side of the camera

So what you do is you first record your song in a studio and then have it mixed mastered and pitched polished (or do one better and use someone ells cover of the song). Then you do the video, hire all stage, stands lighting, star cloths ect in and make up your own stage in your living room and then film your self mimicking to the audio recording and then dub the audio of the video with that of the audio recording 

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Robert, this is not about production. It's about training -- someone practising.

 

Pitch correcting your vocals and then asking people to listen and advise you on how to improve, makes very little sense. He for sure was not asking people how to tune his vocals better, so why the pitch correction?

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