For every T-Pain — the R&B artist who uses Auto-Tune as an over-the-top aesthetic choice — there are 100 artists who are Auto-Tuned in subtler ways. Fix a little backing harmony here, bump a flat note up to diva-worthy heights there: smooth everything over so that it’s perfect. You can even use Auto-Tune live, so an artist can sing totally out of tune in concert and be corrected before their flaws ever reach the ears of an audience.
Indeed, finding out that all the singers we listen to have been Auto-Tuned does feel like someone’s messing with us. As humans, we crave connection, not perfection. But we’re not the ones pulling the levers. What happens when an entire industry decides it’s safer to bet on the robot? Will we start to hate the sound of our own voices?
On one end of the spectrum are people who dial up Auto-Tune to the max, a la Cher / T-Pain. On the other end are people who use it occasionally and sparingly. You can use Auto-Tune not only to pitch correct vocals, but other instruments too, and light users will tweak a note here and there if a guitar is, say, rubbing up against a vocal in a weird way.
But between those two extremes, you have the synthetic middle, where Auto-Tune is used to correct nearly every note, as one integral brick in a thick wall of digitally processed sound. From Justin Bieber to One Direction, from The Weeknd to Chris Brown, most pop music produced today has a slick, synth-y tone that’s partly a result of pitch correction.
The Auto-Tune or not Auto-Tune debate always seems to turn into a moralistic one, like somehow you have more integrity if you don’t use it, or only use it occasionally. But seeing how really innocuous-yet-lovely it could be, made me rethink. If I were a professional musician, would I reject the opportunity to sound, what I consider to be, “my best,” out of principle?
The answer to that is probably no. But then it gets you wondering. How many insecure artists with “annoying” voices will retune themselves before you ever have a chance to fall in love?
Article sourced from theverge.com