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#940966 - 01/17/12 12:16 PM Pitch Correction  
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Kevin Emmrich Offline
Kevin Emmrich  Offline

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OK, so we were having a conversation about pitch correction over at the BIAB site, so I fired up V-Vocal in Sonar to see what this was all about (again). OMG! Am I that far off the pitch? I realize that my voice wavers close to the pitch -- but does it sound as bad as it looks??? The opening clip from A Little Bit of Loving looks like this:

[Linked Image]

OK, what do you do with that???? "...don't make me..." is stuck between B and C -- well, most everything seems to be stuck between worlds. OK, so here is a MP3 of the original wave form you see above and then the same clip with quick v-vocal edits added in. The v-vocal part starts at around 8 seconds.


Well, what does all this mean?


"It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The 'hard' is what makes it great."
Kevin @ bandcamp: Crows Say Vee-Eh (and Kevin @ FAWM 2018)
#940972 - 01/17/12 01:30 PM Re: Pitch Correction [Re: Kevin Emmrich]  
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Ray E. Strode Online content
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Ray E. Strode  Online Content
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Well Kevin maybe you hitched the Mules up to the wrong side of the wagon! If the resulting sound sounds good to you and you are satisified with it that's all that counts. I would say that some are more concerned with gadgets than they are with the finished product. A famous Music Critic once said he was more interested with the passion of a work than how correct it was. So it may be correct in all aspects of technical quality but musically a dud.
Let your ears do the talking.

Ray E. Strode
#940974 - 01/17/12 02:03 PM Re: Pitch Correction [Re: Ray E. Strode]  
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Johnny Daubert Online content
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Would need the music in there to hear how you sound with it. The two samples both sound like they wander, and seem to be in different keys!

Going by the graph can be misleading, when you take in account for any vibrato, and how we transition from not to note. I bet if you put that machine on many songs before pitch control, we would find many pro singers we all love with the same off the center lines.

Like guitars, who's notes can bend and go between notes as they get to another,,,so can vocals, since we sing NOT like how piano notes are played, which are exactly a half tone between notes! We have a hundred or so inbetween notes we can be at between half tone notes! Flex, like a fretless bass or any fretless instrument! WE are not pianos!!!! Saying that,,,obvious off notes can be tweaked back on the note of course with pitch control. But don't go crazy with thinking every sound of your voice has to be dead center.

So, let us hear your singing of that song with the music,,,and we won't need a machine to let you know if you sound on for that song or not,,and as to where it might bug us.

Johnny D

#940976 - 01/17/12 02:16 PM Re: Pitch Correction [Re: Johnny Daubert]  
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Kevin Emmrich Offline
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Ray: I don't trust my ears (ha, ha). I have heard this song so many times that I have lost all objectiveness. I just don't want to turn a listener off by hitting a super bum note. This is not about a "live" performance, but a recording. If I detract from the "song" by being off-key (too much), then it becomes more about me than the song. I have have no illusions about be a big performer, but I would like to record and produce a good sounding CD.

Johnny D: I thought I had posted a link to the song -- but I forgot! Here's the link to the song with no pitch correction: http://www.soundclick.com/bands/page_songInfo.cfm?bandID=1144009&songID=11352211 or the thread here at JPF: http://www.jpfolks.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/ubb/showflat/Number/939784/page/1#Post939784



Last edited by Kevin Emmrich; 01/17/12 02:17 PM.

"It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The 'hard' is what makes it great."
Kevin @ bandcamp: Crows Say Vee-Eh (and Kevin @ FAWM 2018)
#940982 - 01/17/12 02:52 PM Re: Pitch Correction [Re: Kevin Emmrich]  
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Mike Dunbar Offline
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Kevin, I like your voice without pitch correction. It's very "Americana" and I wouldn't touch it unless you have an absolutely sour note, which I didn't here in the entire song. Now, there were a few notes after the key change where I might have tuned the background vocals. smile

I work often in Sonar and really like the V Vocal pitch correction. I've spent as much as an hour or more working on tuning the vocal for a song, but that was for people who sang with "pop" country, gospel or rock voices. Voices like that will, for example hit a note and hold it for a while, you hit notes in a speaking manner, rarely holding over a quarter note.

Looking at your graph, you're not as "off" as you interpret. An authentic sounding voice, that is pleasing and natural sounding will usually have the ending of the note in tune or very slightly flat, for example the way your "make" and "me" look. You could, if you wanted to, grab that line for "wonder" and push it up so the end is on the note or slightly above the note. Some producers might want it touched up a little, I wouldn't touch it at all.

Last edited by Mike Dunbar; 01/17/12 02:53 PM.

You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.

Mike Dunbar Music

#940989 - 01/17/12 03:05 PM Re: Pitch Correction [Re: Kevin Emmrich]  
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Colin Ward Offline
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Well the graph does not lie! But how much does it matter? First it is comparing your vocal to concert pitch so are your instruments tuned to concert pitch? If so, you are singing a little flat which is a common problem. A lot of popular music singers slide up into pitch which sounds more emotional that nailing the note immediately. Sliding up is a legitimate technique but at some point, you need to hit the correct pitch. The best way to handle this IMHO is to apply manual pitch correction to the latter part of a note that is off, rather than just turn the autotuner loose to do its thing.

One valuable function of pitch correction is when you are doubling vocals. Two vocals that are off from each other a little bit creates a horrible clashing. With pitch correction, you can bring them into sync.


I try to critique as if you mean business.....



#940992 - 01/17/12 03:27 PM Re: Pitch Correction [Re: Colin Ward]  
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Mark Kaufman Offline
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Kevin, Mike is right that you're not so "off" at all. The zigzags you may be worried about are actually your vibrato, and it appears to be nicely centered around the pitch. Without those zigzags, you would sound like a dial tone.

It's so easy to pitch-correct all the personality out of a vocal, and your vocals are always the star of your recordings, to me.

I only use pitch correction as a "tweak"...just to rein in the overly wild moments without having to lose a great take--it's not so good to use for reinventing someone's voice.

So don't worry so much about the graph! It ain't no disaster.

#940993 - 01/17/12 03:42 PM Re: Pitch Correction [Re: Mark Kaufman]  
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Dan Sullivan Offline
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Dan Sullivan  Offline
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Kevin, It doesn't sound anywhere near as bad as you think it looks. Maybe I've got a tin ear, but both samples sounded fine to me. If you would have asked me to guess which had been pitch corrected I would have had a 50/50 chance of being correct.

Write from your heart, not what you think others want to hear.


#940995 - 01/17/12 03:57 PM Re: Pitch Correction [Re: Dan Sullivan]  
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Cecilee Offline
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I'm with Dan. I hardly heard much of a difference between the two samples both with the music and a cappella! I didn't notice the pitch correction on my end.... That said, I'd say leave in the original since it goes better with the style of music you're doing. smile

Last edited by Ann Feld; 01/17/12 03:58 PM.

English/French piano/electronic singer/songwriter from Virginia. Influences include Charlotte Martin, Kate Bush, Pet Shop Boys, and Mylène Farmer.


New album Rendezvous on Bandcamp!
#941042 - 01/18/12 12:58 AM Re: Pitch Correction [Re: Cecilee]  
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Jody Whitesides Offline
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It would depend on your style. If it was pop music, I'd say you're pretty far off, especially when you're landing and operating between notes as a center. But for the type of music you're doing, is there a reason to worry?

But it can also help you when dissecting your way to knowing what you sing and how you sing. Why not use this to solidify your melody. Is it supposed to be a B or a C? That's something you ought to know. Is it an F# or a G? Of course in Am it should be F or G. Though over an F chord, I'm thinking it ought not be G...

Use it to know your notes, then play your melody in to a keyboard or on guitar and sing to that. Eventually you'll get better at your melodies and tighter with your pitch on your singing.

Jody Whitesides
A Funky Audio Lap Dance For Your Ears!
#941080 - 01/18/12 08:26 AM Re: Pitch Correction [Re: Jody Whitesides]  
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Kolstad Offline
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I think Jody points to a great way to use pitch correction tools! Use it to get your melody right, then put that track in your ear while rerecording the vocal track. Like useing it as a melody support tool. That way you get the best from both worlds, end up a better singer, and get the optimal natural sounding result. In Melodyne, you can bounce the corrected track as midi, and put a vsti piano or another instrument, on, to sing to, and even use it to sweeten up the arrangement.

Hard pitch correction is for more commercial mainstream genres, and for studio's who can't get the singer back to re-record In Americana you need things to sound like if they were NOT pitch corrected, as that would sound like it is not "authentic". Yet, you need to get a great vocal track, so that's the way to do it.

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#943231 - 01/31/12 06:38 AM Re: Pitch Correction [Re: Kevin Emmrich]  
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Mike Caro Substudio Offline
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Hi Kev

What a cool post and graphic picture smile
Great advise given here... Especially just considering what your needs are and what the songs are like and where there coming from.

First off there's is VERY little difference between the two from what I heard and that's a GOOD thing...

The thing about these auto tune devices I noticed is they work best for me when you cant detect them easily. Unlike the use of them on purpose as an effect in every single thing I hear today, as it has replaced reverb as the #1 effect on a voice.

On this song listening back it's close so therefore I WOULD USE it... instead of going the other way and not using it.
If it made any word or line to whacky sounding then I would avoid it.

The key is sometimes just use it on a word here or there, like a long note at the end of a chorus or just a few words that seem pitchy here and there. Don't run it over the whole track.

Seems to me the better you get at singing the less you need it and the better it sounds sonically when you do.

Peace Mike

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#943237 - 01/31/12 10:56 AM Re: Pitch Correction [Re: Mike Caro Substudio]  
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It is a fantastic tool when used in moderation.......when used to the extent it is in today's pop music it is truly awful...makes everybody sound like they use the same ROBOT voice as Stephen Hawking. If folk sound the same and there is no light and shade or any natural inflections or accentuation or emotion in the voice...then we can only presume that none of today's singers are capable of singing in tune or putting in a performance demonstrating such vocal aptitudes.
I see little point in wasting time using such a device if there is little or no audible difference in the end result

#943769 - 02/03/12 02:49 PM Re: Pitch Correction [Re: BIG JIM MERRILEES]  
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Kevin Emmrich Offline
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OK, here's a song that I liberally used v-vocal on the main lead line and then the 2nd vocal line. I tried not to be too, too obvious. If you get a chance to listen, I would appreciate knowing:

1.) any glaringly bad spots still in there?
2.) any v-vocal "artifacts" in there?

If this wasn't a FAWM song, I would go back and re-record the vocals over and over again until there were closer (or just give up on the 2nd vocal line).

This is my first song @ fawm.org



"It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The 'hard' is what makes it great."
Kevin @ bandcamp: Crows Say Vee-Eh (and Kevin @ FAWM 2018)
#943810 - 02/03/12 06:50 PM Re: Pitch Correction [Re: Kevin Emmrich]  
Joined: Nov 2006
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Hi Kevin congrats on a neat song....all round.....There was nothing glaring to my ears... I only played it on phones straight from my laptop but nothing sprung out as being way off.....did you double track the vocals and add harmonies or was that all down to the V-vocal thing. I have never used this kit so cannot really comment on it other than saying that the end results are pretty good. My only nit is that overall levels are maybe a tad hot and towards the end the vocals get lost in the mix a wee bit when the drums and percussion start to get louder I would say the drums are set too loud and sometimes sound a tad off beat.. behind the music almost sounding out of sync and tempo.
Just one point...do not get too hung up on pitch......you have a good natural voice which can slide from note to note and is naturally sometimes a tad flat...that is actually a good thing and suits the style and genre of songs you write....some people take many years to try to perfect this singing style. It is almost impossible to pitch correct sliding flattened notes.

#1123731 - 02/04/17 06:17 PM Re: Pitch Correction [Re: Kevin Emmrich]  
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Martin Lide Online content
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Martin Lide  Online Content
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Voices are instruments and correct pitch is a big deal because it is the accuracy of the frequencies in the vocal and determines how well the vocal will lace into the frequencies of the other instruments in the mix. Out of tune is never good unless someone is so competent that they use it to create a technique for emphasizing something in some meaningful way.

If you have a real "pitchy" recording to begin with and then try to reach too far using auto-tune without being highly competent with other EQ adjustments...(I am not)....then you will get some of the non-human mechanistic tonal quality that occurs with automated voicemail. I know because that is what happens to me when I adjust the pitch too far on a note.

It takes me forever to do the vocals for one song, because I'm slow and plodding and not accomplished with sound devices, mostly...but also because I take the different parts of the vocal melody and record them and then look at them in melodyne...usually astonished to see how far off the pitch that they wander. I repeat the process endeavoring to make each repetition closer to good pitch until the graph looks reasonable and the pitch adjustment required is fairly undetectable.

In the past I have thought I was singing along fine but Melodyne proved otherwise and using Melodyne this way helped me re-calibrate my ear somewhat.

That's how I use Melodyne. There are no doubt more effective ways. I hope that is any help.


Last edited by Martin Lide; 02/04/17 06:29 PM.
#1123734 - 02/04/17 11:17 PM Re: Pitch Correction [Re: Kevin Emmrich]  
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Vicarn Online content
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Vicarn  Online Content
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Interesting subject.
I don't tend to use it much on my lead vocal but I do for some notes on the harmony vocal track as it usually means I'm singing above my comfort zone. Nothing worse than an out of tune backing singer except for more than one out of tune backing singers.


It's never too late? Yes it is, so do it now.

If, given time, a monkey can write the complete works of Shakespeare maybe there's hope for me.

#1123764 - 02/05/17 11:00 PM Re: Pitch Correction [Re: Kevin Emmrich]  
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Andy K Online content
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I agree with Martin above in that pitch correction software is a good training tool to help you learn to sing more on pitch. Just be careful not to focus so much on pitch that you lose the emotion.

Stone Marmot
nouveau retro pop-rock music
Check out our latest song, "Sweet Little Starlet"
#1123765 - 02/05/17 11:09 PM Re: Pitch Correction [Re: Kevin Emmrich]  
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John Lawrence Schick Offline
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John Lawrence Schick  Offline
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Wow, this thread is from the Big Jim Era! I miss the big lug.

John smile

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