Ed Driscoll

IT'S LIVE...OR IS IT? Interesting

IT’S LIVE…OR IS IT? Interesting debate on the subject of pitch correction in music by Jim Carruthers in Blogcritics.

Carruthers is largely against pitch correction, especially on the professional level. Be sure to read the comments (including several by me), and my recent article in Tech Central Station for some arguments in its favor.

It always amazes me how music–even popular music–brings out the Luddite in people. Go back and read articles from the 1960s–the electric guitar was damned for making things too easy for the performer. In the 1980s, the synthesizer and the drum machine received the same argument.

Today it’s pitch correction. And yet, as I said in TCS, if used sparingly, it’s a great tool, especially for musicians recording at home.

The other argument I find curious about pitch correction is that it seems to be an either/or proposition. Scott Chaffin seemed to think I’m nothing but a geek, creating twelve tone Schoenberg synthesizer music in my white labcoat and bowtie.

Shop at Amazon.comAnd yet, I love raw, unadulterated, live music performed by musicians who can play. One of my favorite recordings is Miles Davis at Carnegie Hall, recorded in 1964 (by Teo Macero, Miles’ longtime producer, but without Miles knowledge) on 1/4″ mono reel-to-reel tape. It’s got numerous flaws–at several points, Miles hits notes so loud they oversaturate the tape, and the timing of several musicians in Gil Evans’ orchestra on their loud opening blast is suspect. But the music overall is sublime, magical and astonishingly tight. The last track is a majestic song from Miles’ classic Sketches of Spain, recorded, like the rest of the albumm, in one shot with no overdubs.

There’s no way modern technology can recreate a performance like that. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that technology is bad, either: the automobile has made horses obsolete, and their role in the great moments of history–Joan of Arc, Lady Godiva, Paul Revere’s ride, etc., etc, just that: history.

Want to trade your SUV in for Secretariat?