Monday, February 05, 2007

Billy Joel -- Tuning Up a Broken-Down Legend

Did anyone else hear Billy Joel singing the national anthem during the superbowl?

I've spent close to 200 hours with Xtension Chords studio work, and its made me very aware of the pitch correction in music. Pitch correction (AutoTune is one brand name of software, but i'll use the general term) is an algorithm that analyzes the sound coming from a microphone, figures out which pitch you're singing, and if you're not right on a note it will drag your pitch up or down to the nearest neighboring "official" pitch. If you need an extreme example, listen to "Believe" by Cher, and listen to her voice. It sounds "synthy" because it has an extreme amount of pitch correction applied to it.

Listen to Billy Joel sing (actual singing starts at 1:00 into the clip, so FF). Keep pitch correction in mind. First phrase: "Oh say can you SEEEeeE": Can you hear how he overshot "see" and Autotune pulled his pitch up to the next note up (the wrong pitch)? I all could think about while listening was autotune, autotune, autotune, JESUS BILLY JOEL SOUNDS LIKE A ROBOT.

The superbowl shouldn't have hired him. No one should hire him, and if they do, they should let him sing with his real voice and see if people will like it.


Bishai said...

Kpaq attack - I was right there with you. It was like Billy Joel Does Cher Doing The Anthem.

AJC said...

That was autotune? I thought he just sourly went sharp. Either way - nasty.