melodyne direct note access possibly spells the further degredation of musicianship in music, is definitely awesome

Here’s a rather long (7+ minutes) but impressive demonstration of the Direct Note Access technology by Melodyne.

It’s like pitch correction, which is a common place tool in digital recording these days, but instead of only being able to correct and change single notes, it can change any note in a song, whether it’s by itself, in a chord, or in an arpeggio. Technology-wise it’s pretty impressive.

I heard many stories from friends of friends about pitch correction’s overuse these days–singer having each note corrected a 1/4 tone and things like that. It really points to a degradation in talent among “musicians” this days.

Obviously my concern with a system that allows access to each note is a substantially bigger degradation of musicianship. If musicians no longer need to be able to play anything, then what are they there for? To look cool and strut on stage?

On the other side of the coin, though, is this: someone’s going to have to have some sense of musicality. Records don’t just get made by computers (…yet). If the musicians don’t have it, then it may end up being the engineers and producers.

But, if you think about it, that’s not exactly new either. In the Holland-Dozier-Holland/ Spector sort of school of recording, the producers were the creative forces and, while the studio musicians were top notch, neither they nor the performing act was really in control of things.

In the underground music world, I think there is less reason for concern. There always are forces that correct the music when things get too “fake”. Punk was a reaction to disco; lo-fi was a reaction to 80s pop music. I think they’ll always be a segment of the population that demands authenticity from their music and so there will always be some music that delivers on that need.

One response to “melodyne direct note access possibly spells the further degredation of musicianship in music, is definitely awesome”

  1. Colin says:

    I have no problem with a technology that allows someone to create awesome music with little proficiency at either singing or an instrument. If you could conceptualize and write a good song, should you then spend years becoming proficient at an instrument and/or vocals just so you have enough musical proficiency to be accepted by the music community? If you can create a song that I’ll enjoy listening to, then by all means, do it. I don’t care if you can’t perform it live.

    This whole discussion assumes that the only use for this technology is fixing crappy performances. However, I see it as much more than that. I think this technology could be extremely helpful in writing music also. I could record something really simply and then, using direct note access, I could try out lots of different variations to find something that sounds really good. I think this could both speed up the song-writing process and expand the creative possibilities open to songwriters.

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