What is Auto-Tune and why is it so popular in today’s music?Auto-Tune gets a bad rap because it’s most often associated with covering up the vocals of people who cannot sing well, but even the best singers use a bit of Auto-Tune when producing their music. Here we’ll discuss the creative use of Auto-Tune (and similar pitch correction software) and why it is used so heavily in modern music.Auto-Tune is pitch correction software that digitally corrects notes based on a phase vocoder to correct pitch in vocal and instrumental performances. Most producers will adjust the out-of-tune notes individually instead of laying Auto-Tune over a whole line. But in some cases, they might use this digital tool to create a certain style or effect. Many record producers and talented singers have been able to use Auto-Tune to produce a hit track.So how was Auto-Tune invented?Auto-Tune was created by Dr. Andy Hildebrand, a Grammy Award winner for his groundbreaking achievements in the recording field of the music industry. Hildebrand’s revolutionary music production software made it easier for engineers to correct the pitch of a recording that a person sings. Currently, Auto-Tune is manufactured by Antares Audio Technologies.Though Auto-Tune is used in almost every genre, it is more obvious in certain musical styles such as hip-hop. Famous American rapper Kanye West and the Black Eyed Peas use Auto-Tune heavily in some of their hit songs to create different effects with their voices, not necessarily because they are singing out of tune.Singing or playing in recording studios is much different than live performances.You cannot start and stop the music because you’re a little pitchy. Auto-Tune can also be used during live performances on a singer’s voice. While some may call this “cheating,” using autotune during a long, live show, can help the artist give a great vocal performance without worrying about their voice hitting too many sharp or flat notes. Other great artists may opt to use an Auto-Tune effect while live to produce a unique sound that can only be achieved with the use of Auto-Tune.Many popular artists and well-known names like Lady Gaga, Christian Aguilera, and Frank Ocean do not have perfect pitch, even though they are great singers. Many pop singers have high notes in their hit singles and will use this vocal effect to achieve a stellar-sounding performance during their live shows.Always relying on Auto-Tune is not a solution either.Though a useful tool, it is not sustainable for a successful career in the music world. Singers need to be able to sing well live and in a recording studio. Singers also must connect emotionally, not just technically, which Auto-Tune cannot address. It is hard work creating a music career as a solo artist and while Auto-Tune is a great digital tool it can never “fix” a bad voice or be used too often because of an artist’s low self-esteem. Whether or not you choose to use Auto-Tune when creating and performing music, it’s always a great option to learn and hone your musical craft with the guidance of music educators and professionals.
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