Archive Sections: letters | music | index | features | photos | arts/lit | satire Find Iranian singles today!
Bad music

Auto-tune out
Musical tragedy with no act

June 27, 2006

No, your ears are not having hearing problems. The whining voices in your head are only echos of shifting vocal pitches, not the actual tormented souls being exposed to the latest Persian Pop music hits. What started out as a simple plug-in tool for correcting pitch in vocal and instrumental performances has now become the de facto style of singing among Persian Pop singers.

The Auto-Tune audio processor by Antares Audio Technologies was first used to produce more precisely tuned recordings by disguising Out-Of-Tune singing and inaccurate tuning with its pitch shifting capabilities in studio post production and sound engineering. It was designed to be a musical spell-checker, as most common pitch problems can be corrected by Auto-Tune's Automatic Mode, where it instantaneously detects the pitch of the input, identifies the closest pitch in a user-specified scale (including minor, major, chromatic and 26 historical and microtonal scales), and corrects the input pitch to match the scale pitch. A Retune Speed control also allows matching the retune rate to virtually any performance style. Similar software is available to correct rhythm and meter for percussionists.

It all started somewhere between Cher's farewell tours # 3 and # 5, when her producers Mark Taylor and Brian Rawling, simulated a Vocoder on a discontinued Digitech Talker as an electronic voice effect in her hit song "Believe". They painstakingly mixed this effect in with her vocals to form a very creative "telephoney" sound.

Copycats quickly followed , mistakenly assuming that this sound effect was actually Auto-Tune in its most extreme pitch-shifting settings. The result was horrendous, as they were not only using the wrong sound effect , but also trying to get complex results from a single effect:

-- "Only God Knows Why" - Kid Rock
-- "One More Time" - Daft Punk
-- "Days Go By" - Dirty Vegas
-- "Freak Like Me" - Sugababes


Never falling behind kitschy trends and taking everything to the extreme, Persian Pop singers instantly responded by not just using Auto-Tune sparingly as a robotic sound effect , but by singing entire songs and recording full music albums using Auto-Tune as a constant roller-coaster effect and converting it into a new vocal style of its own!

Shadmehr Aghili, a brilliant musician and outstanding performer in his own right, is sadly credited as the first Persian Pop singer who launched this weapon of music destruction in his album "Khiyali Nist":

-- "Khiyali Nist" - Shadmehr Aghili

Hilarity and headaches ensued:

-- "Loknat" - Benyamin Bahadori
-- "Ashegh Shodam" - Benyamin Bahadori
-- "Khooneh Eshgh" - Helen
-- "Matarsak" - DJ Maryam (Mahshar)
-- "Dokhtareh Shah Paryoon" - DJ Maryam (Mahshar)
-- "Yeh Zareh Doostam Dashteh Bash" - Mahsa
-- "Fadayeh Saret" - Kamran & Hooman
-- "Gole Hayahoo" - Fereydoun
-- "Khaatereh" - Fereydoun

... The list continues... as does the Mii--gggrrrr---aaaa-iiiiiine. Auto-Tune is one hell of a plugin that won't be so easily un-plugged. Take action now. Un-plug or use earplugs.

For letters section
To Babak Khiavchi

Babak Khiavchi



Book of the day

History of Theater in Iran
by Willem Floor

Copyright 1995-2013, Iranian LLC.   |    User Agreement and Privacy Policy   |    Rights and Permissions