“The Voice of China”, a famous singing competition programme in China, was doubted by the audience that the contestants’ voices were being altered via Auto-Tune. Also the same happened on X Factor in the US. The technique of Auto-Tune has become more popular the last decade and a half, from commercial recordings to live music shows.
Let’s first have a rough view of what Auto-Tune is. An octave in the chromatic musical scale is divided into 12 pitches, each separated by a semitone (Think of a piano, which has 12 keys in each octave. A semitone is the difference in note between two adjacent piano keys). The goal of pitch correction is to retune a slightly high or low note to the nearest semitone. If an attempt at singing an A note actually was for example 445Hz instead of the desired 440Hz, then using a computer to correct the frequency back down would ensure that the recording sounds in tune.
“While working with Cher on the song “Believe” in 1998, producers Mark Taylor and Brian Rawling discovered that if they set Auto-Tune on its most aggressive setting, so that it corrected the pitch at the exact moment it received the signal, the result was an unsettlingly robotic tone.” —Greg Milner (2009)
Recorded in 1998, the song “Believe” from Cher was the first commercial recording to use the software for auto-tune. Personally, I heard this song several years ago and I like it very much. This song is “widely credited with injecting Auto-Tune’s mechanical modulations into pop consciousness.” (Chris Lee of the Los Angeles Times)
However, the condition in live music show is not that positive:
This video shows how it works:
Few singers are perfect indeed. Sometimes, the pitch of their vocal slightly misses the exact note that they are trying to hit. But is that fair to the audience that if the singers use the auto-tune during their live music show? Personally I don’t like it even if that means I will hear perfect music at the end. It is a bit like cheating. And I don’t believe that people love some singers only because of the perfect artificial music out from the speaker.
At the end, I would like to hear from you about this topic!!