Almost all modern music is based on the tempered tuning, which began to be used as early as the 17th century. In this tuning, there is a link to frequencies. For example, the la note, to which the tuning forks are tuned, has a frequency of 440 hertz. Nowadays, with the help of special software, you can choose with which purities (with what pitch) to work. This can be harsh handling, softer or almost invisible, and autotune is often used for this kind of work.
What is autotune?
Autotune is a development of Antares company. The autotune plugin is used to process voices and monophonic instruments, that is, those that play one note at a time, such as a saxophone. Autotune tracks the pitch of each note and, if not clean, pulls it up to the nearest “good” note. It is a kind of real-time music magnet. The term autotune has stuck, and therefore it is used not only to refer to a plug-in manufactured by Antares.
The first most famous use of autotune is the song “Believe”, which was sung by the singer Cher. Then there was the group Eifell 65 and the song “Blue (Da Ba Dee)”, where everything was processed so harshly that it was impossible not to notice. This is one of the most striking examples of the use of autotune in pop music. Soon, creators of electronic music began to use autotune. And rappers in the second half of the 2000s were so popular that autotune went everywhere from them.
Kanye West elevated the status of an artistic device to autotune in the album “808’s & Heartbreak”, on which the rapper sang in an electronic voice about unhappy love.
Now autotune is used to one degree or another by most artists in pop music, hip-hop and in some other genres. It is a popular song processing procedure that every professional mixing and mastering service uses. Someone has an autotune voice that sounds almost imperceptible, while others do it terribly. First of all, it depends on the ability to sing.
How to use autotune?
Autotune is a program for automatic vocal correction. Connects as a plug-in to the main recording program. There are other programs for correcting notes that were mis-sung by a vocalist. Autotune is good because it allows you to correct the recording right in the virtual space. Nowadays, it has become very fashionable to use autotune online. It is a handy, simple voice processing program. It is installed and used in a few simple steps.
- Find the plugin on the internet and download it.
- You need an already recorded vocal track. For this we use the same program or another editor.
- Activate the plug-in to the corresponding track as an effect by dragging with the right mouse button.
- All autotune settings are made by default. With the help of these settings, we correct the previously recorded track. We determine the key of the song, set it as a reference value.
Next, autotune prompts you to select how much the vocals will be corrected. If your goal is to equalize the pitch of the voice without side effects, you need to take into account that autotune can do this, but within a small range (within the tone). However, much harder treatment can be used as an artistic effect.
Autotune vocals for artistic effects
If a person sings close to the original notes, then the corrections are almost inaudible. But if autotune works very hard, the voice becomes distorted beyond recognition.
The more substantial the processing, the less natural the voice will appear. With very strong vocal correction, instead of the usual performance, you will get the effect as if a robot was singing the song. Often this effect is added specifically to give the voice an electronic tone. This technique is very popular in electronic music as well as in rap and hip-hop styles.
Why do musicians use autotune?
In most cases, autotune is used to give vocals a professional, commercial sound. In this way, the vocal alignment is performed in the selected key according to the notes. Occasionally, autotune is used as a special effect to create a “robot voice”.
There is a misconception that with the help of autotune, you can achieve a professional sounding voice, absolutely not knowing how to sing. However, miracles do not happen. The plugin can fix only small errors that are found even among professional singers. But if you don’t have a trained voice or ear for music, the unwanted effects of autotune processing will be very noticeable.