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Auto-Tuning – David Archuleta Doesn’t Need It

16 November 2009



In the recent aftermath of The Gregory Brothers, a sibling band out of Brooklyn, New York, which have become a hit on YouTube with a series of videos that Auto-Tune cable newscasts and political speeches using computers to make their voices sound like whiny robots, Auto-Tune technology continues to ride a culture high. Now the voice-altering effects are migrating from recording studios to YouTube and mobile phones.

The group, which also tours as a low-fi sound band, started its series of videos called “Auto-Tune the News” during the 2008 presidential debates and has gained millions of fans in recent months.

CNN spoke with Andrew Gregory, a 27 year old member of the band, about the popularity of Auto-Tune – the trademarked name for the popular pitch correction software – and the role of technology in music and society. The following is an edited transcript of John D. Sutter’s interview.

Do you ever use Auto-Tune in performances, like in your band?

We’ve never used it live. We’re no Ashlee Simpson. But I think we’ve used it a little bit on our record. Pretty much on any record you listen to these days there’s some level of Auto-Tune on it, even if it’s a very, very small amount.

Do you think it’s hurting music at all that people expect a singer’s pitch to be perfect?

It means that people who can’t sing as well are becoming famous singers. But I don’t know, that’s why I love going to see live music, because that really sorts out the real singers from the not-so-real singers.


Interesting enough I heard back during American Idol Season 7 about auto-tuning and was quite floored. Perhaps that’s why so many artist sound great on records but not in person.

We all know that David sounds so great in his live concert performances as well as his albums. This is not something he needs to use and am sure with his love of acoustical and organic sounds he will never need this technology as an artist.

The following article does reveal many artists do us this technology and it’s sad we have come to this type of singing with such a high price. Are we all so critical that we can’t enjoy the beauty of the pure voice; do they need enhancement? Well, I for one would prefer the kind of voice David Archuleta and, I am sure, many others give us.

Singers hit out at rise of Auto-Tune
Sep 13 2009
Edward Helmore in New York – The Observer

In the decade since Cher’s hit “Believe,” with its distinctive robotic warble, singers have been relying on revolutionary software called Auto-Tune to correct and synthesize their wayward pitches.

But now the manipulated sound is everywhere and a backlash is building. Last week, the reigning king of hip-hop, Jay-Z, launched an attack on the process in a new song D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune). He says: “I know we are facing a recession, but the music y’all making gonna make it the Great Depression.”

The song has sparked a battle with a rival singer, T-Pain, who believes so strongly in Auto-Tune that he has joined forces with its maker, a California software firm, to release a version as an iPhone application that quickly moved to the top of the sales chart. Though the pair has since cooled their language, T-Pain lashed out. “Jay-Z is 59 years old. I don’t think he has the right to say what’s good and what’s not. I think if anything is dead, it should be him….”

Manipulating the voice, says T-Pain, is the future and a welcome change from unadorned singing which, he says, people have been doing for centuries. “Now everyone wants to be a Transformer.”

But do they? Some say using machines to manipulate pitch erases the distinctiveness, resonance and emotional power of the human voice. Perfect pitch is rare, and natural flaws and imperfections are often what make a voice memorable and affecting. It is also a question of fidelity. Critics say that if every voice is corrected and anyone can achieve perfect pitch, then singing itself could lose its value. “I can’t recognize real singing any more,” the singer Moby said recently.

George Martin, the Beatles producer, says singers are rarely satisfied with their sound, and adding effects such as reverb are just tricks of the trade. “John [Lennon] was never satisfied with the sound of his voice,” he told the New Yorker. – guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media 2009

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