Thursday, July 17, 2008

Melodyne as Mirror (Vocal, Intermediate, Recording)

A lot has been said about vocal tuning programs and plug-ins, such as Autotune and Melodyne. (Melodyne is good for more than just vocal manipulation, by the way.) While an effect like Melodyne can "fix" less-than-perfect performances, it can also be used as an objective vocal coach, or sorts. Here's how (you'll have to be comfortable with DAW recording):

1. With a well-tuned musical instrument, record the "standard" arpeggio vocal exercise: C root-E-G-C octave-G-E-C root; C# root-F-G#-C# octave-G#-E-C# root; D root-F#-A-D octave-A-F#-D root; etc. You know: Do-mi-so-do!-mi-so-do (I think...).

2. Track your vocal to follow the exercise.

3. Run the Melodyne Plugin to analyze your notes.

4. See how reasonably close you are as far as pitch matching and the strength of your vocal range. If you are familiar with the Melodyne interface, you'll know how easy it is to spot where your notes are on the scale - flat/sharp, in between notes, or relatively spot-on.

5. If there are problems, don't fix them in Melodyne! That's not the point of this exercise! Practice more (but don't blow out your vocal cords), learn to breathe better (yoga, anyone?), look up some decent vocal tips online, and/or pay for one-on-one lessons with a vocal coach.

Happy singing, happy happy! (Okay, be intense when the situation calls for it.)

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