Does Computer Vocal Correction Destroy Artistic Integrity In Music, Theatre, & Film?
Argument & Debate Ensues Over False Performance Allowances In Entertainment Abroad
By: Katlina Kliewer
Once upon a time, lip-syncing would have gained massive backlash for music recording artists. Albums would be smashed, burned, barbequed; people would revolt and sometimes, the media would latch on and all of a sudden, what one person calls a career would be “kaput”, ‘over’ (lights out).
Computer vocal correction, a.k.a. pitch-correction, auto-tune, or similar, is the process of taking a natural Human singing performance and allowing a software (or hardware) program to repair the imperfections via artificial-intelligence metering, monitoring, and prediction.
While devices such as Talkboxes and Vocoders have been available for a long time, developed to produce intended vocal manipulations and effects, computer vocal correction is seen by some people to be an ‘out of control’ “element” that promotes a type of laziness, demoting pure performances and dedicated performers.
An example of this conundrum is in the awards and recognition systems that qualify and quantify categories such as “Best Album of the Year” or “Best Performer of the Year” etc.
In my mind, I have pondered why there has never been a distinction for people who choose the path of computer vocal correction vs. natural performance.
No one wins for instance, “Best auto-tune Album of the Year”.
Arguments and debates ensue because in this paradigm, there seems to be three designations:
1. People who don’t care either way.
2. People who advocate all methods of performance as valid.
3. People who condemn un-natural singing performances in audio-art and sound-design.
It doesn’t matter what position a person takes, the question of, “Should there be distinctions?” could/should be important (at least in some small way).
Governments don’t let people lie in many of the facades of life and existence, especially when it involves huge sums of money being collected, based upon lies.
Did Milli Vanilli pay a price that perhaps many of today’s top artists should?
There seems to be a lot of unwillingness in current times to uphold people on merits that make sense, and while leaving people alone is ideal and may make society more comfortable, you have to wonder if people deserve to be cheated of artistic excellence when desiring to be entertained.
YouTube may have democratized discovery but, many items found are attempting to emulate the auto-tune trends of their mainstream counterparts. And in this token, a person could wonder if it’s unfair and unfitting for those who choose to pursue their naturalness beyond just being localized, unsung heroes.
The method of Human vocal enhancement examined in this article has made its way from music into theatre, film, and television. With musicals (and the like) being bombarded with false performances throughout entire productions, it is unclear if any concern will ever be addressed on a major scale.
Who knows, who cares, who’s right, who’s wrong, is there an answer?