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How could a producer allow a flat vocal?


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Reading the Mutt Lange thread reminded of something I've meant to ask. Shania Twain's "The Woman In Me," she sings several notes FLAT. By golly, she is flat. I can't even comprehend how this could happen. How could it get through? Money is not an issue. It ruins the song for me.

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Originally posted by LiveMusic:

Reading the Mutt Lange thread reminded of something I've meant to ask. Shania Twain's "The Woman In Me," she sings several notes FLAT. By golly, she is flat. I can't even comprehend how this could happen. How could it get through? Money is not an issue. It ruins the song for me.

Maby she follows Mutt around like a lost puppy everywhere he goes and he couldn't get anytime alone to tune it so he wouldn't hurt here feelings?

Maby the rest of the band was sharp, yeah, that's probably it.

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Originally posted by Jan Folkson:

Have you ever listened to ANYTHING by the Rolling Stones. Great music has never had anything to do with perfect pitch...and still doesn't.

the words "Shania Twain" and "Great Music" do not belong in the same thread.

bbach

 

Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder.

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For me, it's a judgement call... if I REALLY like the feel of something, but it's a little bit sharp or flat, and I can't beat it any other way, I might just leave it. Some styles are more demanding of great pitch than others though.

 

Anyway, I'd much rather have something that feels great than technical perfection. And I always try to leave some of the humanity in the performances - just because you CAN make everything perfect all the time doesn't mean you always SHOULD. Just my 2 cents.

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I read something where someone, I forget who, was talking about the fact that when everything is in perfect tune (the instruments and everything) there is less room, less of a pocket of space as it were, less margin for error for the pitch fluctuations of a vocal. So, in the ancient days, a vocal could be more out of tune, but still sound good, or right, or less wrong.

 

I haven't really heard this Shania song you're talking about, but I have heard some of her latest, and it is so tuned it's puzzling, because she does have a very good voice, and certainly doesn't need to be tuned to that degree.

 

Soul is good, but I don't think anyone likes something if it's just plain out of tune.

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Here's one for you. I'm not a Joni Mitchell fan but I do like quite a bit of Court & Spark. If you have it, take a listen to "Down To You" where she sings "blankets, darkness, and your loneliness".

 

Listen to the word "loneliness". Woah! ....You can almost hear and see the engineer quickly riding that vocal fader down down down. That is one of the flatest notes I've ever heard. I think it travels through about six keys on it's way.

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There's flat, and then there's FLAT.

 

Some distance, some breathing room, some humanity is necessary in a recording, but the degree is the question here, I think.

 

Sinatra wasn't always 'there', but his technique was there. Same with Ella and Tony Bennett, but to a much lesser degree. In this style of music, there seems to be some leeway on pitch, depending on the material and the singer's style. (I'll 'out' myself, though...I'm a bit biased - I LOVE standards!)

 

Leon Russell wades through pitch, but makes it work. Elvis Costello is constantly flat, and it shows, mostly because he doesn't sing in a style that makes it forgivable. Bob Weir hits it in the studio, but is atrocious live.

 

What it boils down to, IMHO, is whether the singer can 'make it work' or not. I think Phil nails it - there needs to be some humanity in order to make it work.

 

I haven't heard the Shania tune in question (and I probably won't), but if it doesn't do it for ya, then that's that. I've had the same question about Costello tunes for a number of years: "How could that pass?"

 

Peace,

Tim from Jersey :thu:

Play. Just play.
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I haven't heard the music, but from experience, I DO understand how some flat notes might make it onto a mix.

 

My case was simple fatigue. We had done overdubs on a choir project and were mixing over 5 days to make the duplication deadline. On the second song we mixed at the beginning of the week, there was one ALTO (out of 30) that was singing flat and close enough to the mic to be heard.

 

When I took the mix home to listen, it was painfully obvious we had to do a recall. Long hours added up and mental and physical fatigue set in. I wasn't even thinking about that one song by the end of the week because of the other hard nuts to crack (a director that didn't understand the post-production process despite almost a year of concsious preparation with him for what we had to do). I just wanted the whole thing to be over.

 

As luck would have it, there were some more difficult songs to mix and the recall was never made. I only realized this when I was listening to the final master on my way to the duplication company.

 

Such is life. Sometimes isht happens.

Yamaha (Motif XS7, Motif 6, TX81Z), Korg (R3, Triton-R), Roland (XP-30, D-50, Juno 6, P-330). Novation A Station, Arturia Analog Experience Factory 32

 

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Could this 'problem' also have something to do with the fact that there's a whole new generation growing up ( either as listeners or programmers) with the 'blessings' of Quantise and Autotune.?

 

And is this (ab) use of these software tools therefore slowly creating a new norm for timing and pitch? A frightning prospect, imo.

 

I also noticed a recent trend that some (R&B) vocal tracks are 'slightly' delayed in respect to the music tracks to give it some artificial feel of "layed backness". ( Beyonce, comes to mind).

 

A horrible practise by the way, from people who either misunderstood the meaning of Groove and Soul or don't have those to begin with.

 

Just a thought.

 

steelandre.

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Yeah, I agree with you steelandre. I think a lot of people have now become used to "perfect" intonation and "perfect" time to the point where they are actually bothered by "human" variation that might actually enhance the soulfulness of the music.

 

Ah well, nothing to be done about that except NOT do that in my own work. I don't use Autotune, quantising, or click tracks, and too bad if anybody doesn't like it! :D

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Originally posted by Lee Flier:

Ah well, nothing to be done about that except NOT do that in my own work. I don't use Autotune, quantising, or click tracks, and too bad if anybody doesn't like it! :D

 

Exactly Lee. As a session player I even took it a step further. I refuse to play on productions where I know Autotune has been used. Since I play steel guitar ( a fretless instrument as you all know) for decades and take pride in my ability to play on pitch, I expect others that I work with to be able to do the same. To me, it's part of the 'game'.

Do you all recall the Ads for Autotune with a picture of a person behind a mic wearing a brown paper bag over his/her head.? There was a reason for that ;)

 

Call me crazy, but I have walked out on triple scale paying sessions when I found out that the vocal 'talent' came from a modeling agency and the real vocals where done by an 'anonymous' session singer.

 

I must however admit that I have used quantizing before on some of my own keyboard and drum tracks because I couldn't afford the real deal at the time... :D

 

steelandre.

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In the case of the song I mentioned, if it's bad enough, it makes me cringe, something's wrong. I've thought that I am blessed with good pitch sense. Heck, maybe I'm off, I dunno. I'm sure that many of you have better pitch sense than me but if it ruins a song, that's damn bad. And artistic "soul" or whatever you want to call it, IMHO, is not the issue. I am talking about a "yuck" flat note.

 

The issue is that the note is flat enough to me to be really bad and I can't imagine how it got through. Do the damn thing over. Surely somebody in that studio has decent pitch. Hell, even Shania, as perfectionist as she is.

 

BTW, I think this song was the song that put her over the top. "Who's Bed Have Your Boots Been Under" or whatever, maybe that was her first but "The Woman In Me" was a biggee. I actually like the song a lot except for the flat notes. It's a very sexy song.

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Hey LiveMusic, I couldn't resist anymore. I have that CD right here and played the song. I couldn't hear any note by her that seemed flat.

Could you give me the time in minute/ seconds and word(s) where it is what is bothering you? The ""yuck" flat note" ?

 

I did hear some cool steel guitar stuff by John Hughey on it :cool:

And Lo and behold , Brent Mason on guitar. Someone I had the pleasure of backing up (on keys)on some Festivals in France in the past. Awesome guitar player and, a lot less known, a great singer in his own right. :thu:

 

steelandre.

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I don't hear anything flat either. Duke, you might want to spend $10 on a beginner's ear training book...do the exercises a few days a week. It works for anyone and will make you a better musician all around.

 

It is possible one of the notes she sang sounds "too" in-tune...if anything that's what bothers me about her vocals.

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Originally posted by nhcomp45@aol.com:

Robert Plant singing All Of My Love is so flat it makes my ears blead, Paul.

but that vocal is just terrible anyway, it was supposed to be some kind of a joke right? it had to be ;) ...as much as I love JB's drumming and JPJ's pioneering keyboard work, I can't listen to the song anymore.
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Originally posted by steelandre:

Hey LiveMusic, I couldn't resist anymore. I have that CD right here and played the song. I couldn't hear any note by her that seemed flat.

Could you give me the time in minute/ seconds and word(s) where it is what is bothering you? The ""yuck" flat note"?

I can't find the cassette tape. I have "Come On Over" that a friend gave me but I thought I had the other one. I used to have it.

 

I think it is in the chorus. I don't know if it's the first chorus or second. I think it is on the word "arms" or "love," below.

 

The woman in me

Needs you to be

The man in my arms

To hold tenderly

Cause I'm a woman in love

And it's you I run to

Yeah the woman in me

Needs the man in you

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Originally posted by zzzzzzzzz:

Soul is good, but I don't think anyone likes something if it's just plain out of tune.[/QB]

zzzzzzzzz, you couldn't be more wrong. Have you heard of a little show called American Idol?! A smash success, and the show features many people who sing off pitch, some hilariously so. There's a superstar by the name of Hung who has made a career of singing off pitch.

 

Also, since the show features live performances, no editing, no tuning, no lip syncing, then the children watching are being force fed real singing. :eek:

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Originally posted by John Sayers:

So, in the ancient days, a vocal could be more out of tune,
have you ever seriously checked Frank Sinatras recordings?? The last track I heard I would have had him redo at least three lines ;)

 

cheers

john

Redo!?! If a vocalist can't do it straight through in one take, then they shouldn't call themselves a vocalist, and have no place in MY studio.

 

"hey Frank, hit the road, pal!"

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Originally posted by zzzzzzzzz:

Originally posted by zzzzzzzzz:

Soul is good, but I don't think anyone likes something if it's just plain out of tune.

zzzzzzzzz, you couldn't be more wrong. Have you heard of a little show called American Idol?! A smash success, and the show features many people who sing off pitch, some hilariously so. There's a superstar by the name of Hung who has made a career of singing off pitch.

 

Also, since the show features live performances, no editing, no tuning, no lip syncing, then the children watching are being force fed real singing. :eek: [/QB]

OK now I'm really getting confused...not by the in-tune/out debate but is zzzzz noow replying to her own posts?!
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Originally posted by Michael Jackson's real nose:

OK now I'm really getting confused...not by the in-tune/out debate but is zzzzz noow replying to her own posts?!

Who cares, look at those ta-tas!!!
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Originally posted by zzzzzzzzz:

Originally posted by Michael Jackson's real nose:

OK now I'm really getting confused...not by the in-tune/out debate but is zzzzz noow replying to her own posts?!

Who cares, look at those ta-tas!!!
In-Tune, not enhanced by Antares, yes ? :D
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Originally posted by kylen:

Originally posted by zzzzzzzzz:

QUOTE]Who cares, look at those ta-tas!!!

In-Tune, not enhanced by Antares, yes ? :D
I can answer that this way: who cares, look at those ta-tas!!! :wave::P:):D
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