Corrective studio tools lowering musician talent?

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Does modern studio corrective tools help to promote a lower quality of musician's playing ability in the recording process?

Poll ended at Mon Dec 31, 2007 4:58 pm

Strongly Agree
12
29%
Agree
14
33%
Disagree
6
14%
Strongly Disagree
6
14%
I do not know
4
10%
 
Total votes: 42

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;ivlunsdystf
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Post by ;ivlunsdystf » Fri Dec 14, 2007 7:24 am

The original question is pretty specific; ie, we're not being asked to determine why rock and roll is dead or anything like that.

Regarding the recording process, I said 'strongly disagree', with this qualification: Listen to homemade demos from the mid-1990s (I have a small collection of demo cassettes from Mpls. bands) and note how terrible they are, not just in terms of hiss (a given) and overcompression and over-reverb (other givens) and bad mic placement, but in terms of performance quality.

Take that 1990s cassette demo sound as your baseline. Now proceed to Myspace and find some random demos. Chances are, they're much more polished-sounding than their 1990s equivalents. They might also suffer from the same engineering-related flaws like overcompression, bad mic placement, spiky eq, etc. etc. etc. BUT all that comping of takes actually leads to a better product (or so I perceive).

As to whether the option of editing leads to a decline in musicianship: maybe. The ability to nail something in a single take might be declining. However, there is a converse ability to plan one's maneuvers with later edits in mind, which is not necessarily all bad. Good chess and go players can imagine many future possible scenarios based on a given move, and that is a good thing for them.

That last paragraph probably doesn't apply to actual bands hiring actual engineers, though. There, the potential for bands to under-rehearse before attempting to record, while planning to have the 'studio' sort out their messes from tracking, is almost to ghastly to contemplate. I don't record bands for a living, so I can't even imagine that end of things.

[Remember that the lavish use of editing also leads to the amazing sounds of Deerhoof, perhaps the most comped/edited recordings in history. It's all computer editing too. One might dislike Deerhoof on grounds of personal taste, but one must admit that their recordings are spectacular examples of musicianship]

There. More stuff for your paper. Blend this with a few of the other responses and you should at least be able to get a B-.

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Post by ??????? » Fri Dec 14, 2007 7:55 am

On these "help me with my homework" posts, I always wonder if people have to/are citing their sources. There is certainly an APA, MLA, Chicago etc. method of citing message board entries. If their teacher typed in some stuff and googled, would they be hit for plagiarizing what Joel or John or someone said?

Are they just "getting ideas" or are they actually quoting us in the paper and citing the source?

It's just funny to me the idea that I might be in someone's semester project on the other side of the world without even knowing it. Of course for that to be the case I'd actually have to say something useful. :D

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Post by JohnDavisNYC » Fri Dec 14, 2007 8:00 am

probably just lifting it and not citing... but i would like to be cited as: 'John Davis: opinionated jerk on the interwebs.'

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Post by @?,*???&? » Fri Dec 14, 2007 8:15 am

The bottom dropped out of the music industry when sync electronics were devised for the tape machine 40+ years ago. That is when musicians stopped having to perform 'live' in the studio.

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Post by ;ivlunsdystf » Fri Dec 14, 2007 8:17 am

Well, one hopes he reads it before cutting-and-pasting, lest he inadvertently include these last three posts in his paper ...

I knew a guy who was a geology TA at the U of MN during grad school. He had freshmen who would print entire web sites (2-3 pages) and try to pass these printouts off as finished papers to hand in (complete with web headers at top of page). This was before wikipedia.

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Post by MoreSpaceEcho » Fri Dec 14, 2007 8:38 am

@?,*???&? wrote:The bottom dropped out of the music industry when sync electronics were devised for the tape machine 40+ years ago. That is when musicians stopped having to perform 'live' in the studio.
yeah there haven't been any good records since 1967.

pretty much everyone i record here can play well enough to make their songs sound the way they're supposed to go. it's really not a problem.

i've never autotuned anyone....

fwiw i feel like comping takes together is an entirely different thing from hacking one take apart beat by beat and moving that shit around....i have no problem with the former...

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Post by ??????? » Fri Dec 14, 2007 8:41 am

Students don't think their professors have time to type suspicious lines into Google. :D

If all through the paper the student doesn't know the difference between "Their They're and There," and yet somehow at this point he managed to write:

"Philosophy is the discipline concerned with questions of how one should live (ethics); what sorts of things exist and what are their essential natures (metaphysics); what counts as genuine knowledge (epistemology); and what are the correct principles of reasoning (logic)."

Then if I were a professor I would sure as shit be typing that into Google to see where it came from.

This is how 99.999% of plagiarists are caught. Kids today. :D

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Post by ;ivlunsdystf » Fri Dec 14, 2007 8:47 am

What the heck is this "Google"?

Funny story: Acquaintance from my high school went off to college in Boston - not too bright or motivated, parents paying the bills, etc. - had to write a paper about race relations, ordered such a paper from that "Term Paper Blues?" ad in the back of Rolling Stone, handed in without even reading it (this was in the early 1990s before those Google Bert and Ernie guys were even finished with high school)

A few days later the professor called her into his office. He wanted to know why she was using the word "Negro" throughout the paper. Apparently the paper was an "A" paper, but in 1957 or so. Tears ensued. Disciplinary actions were taken. Etc.

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Post by JGriffin » Fri Dec 14, 2007 8:49 am

MoreSpaceEcho wrote:
@?,*???&? wrote:The bottom dropped out of the music industry when sync electronics were devised for the tape machine 40+ years ago. That is when musicians stopped having to perform 'live' in the studio.
yeah there haven't been any good records since 1967.
It's a good point though Scott, and one I've made before. A little reductio ad absurdum, but ultimately it's not "cheating" any more to copy a phrase from one verse and paste it into another than it is to punch it in 200 times until it happens to get played right.
"Jeweller, you've failed. Jeweller."

"Lots of people are nostalgic for analog. I suspect they're people who never had to work with it." ? Brian Eno

All the DWLB music is at http://dwlb.bandcamp.com/

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Post by ??????? » Fri Dec 14, 2007 8:49 am

:shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock:

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Post by A-Barr » Fri Dec 14, 2007 8:57 am

Tatertot wrote:What the heck is this "Google"?

Funny story: Acquaintance from my high school went off to college in Boston - not too bright or motivated, parents paying the bills, etc. - had to write a paper about race relations, ordered such a paper from that "Term Paper Blues?" ad in the back of Rolling Stone, handed in without even reading it (this was in the early 1990s before those Google Bert and Ernie guys were even finished with high school)

A few days later the professor called her into his office. He wanted to know why she was using the word "Negro" throughout the paper. Apparently the paper was an "A" paper, but in 1957 or so. Tears ensued. Disciplinary actions were taken. Etc.
That is the stuff of legends.

While my sister was a TA, she would get papers with very consistent, yet completely inaccurate spellings, like "defanition" as a random example. She would ask her students about this and they'd say "Well I plugged defanition into google and 904,000 results came back, so that's how it's spelled!"

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Post by ??????? » Fri Dec 14, 2007 9:04 am

Wow. I guess people really ARE that stupid! :o

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Post by ;ivlunsdystf » Fri Dec 14, 2007 9:14 am

A-Barr wrote:She would ask her students about this and they'd say "Well I plugged defanition into google and 904,000 results came back, so that's how it's spelled!"
That is EXACTLY why I am so wary of the recent pop sociology books like James Surowiecki's "The Wisdom of Crowds", in which the entire rational capacity of humans is cast aside in favor of the democratic approach to figuring things out.

But, in the words of the anthropologist Clifford Geertz (slight paraphrase from memory}: "In the land of the blind, the sighted man is not king; he is deemed a lunatic." I think of that line at least once a week as I make my way in the world.

However, I don't think there are more unintelligent people now than there used to be. It just seems that way because there are so many people of varying intelligence online now. It used to be that us unintelligent people kept to ourselves. Now we type our thoughts into the great world brain for all to see.

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Post by Jeff White » Fri Dec 14, 2007 9:19 am

I have personal "recording morals" that I won't break or bend that are genre specific and definitely tell a lot about my own personal fucked-up hypocritical human nature.

What I have done, mostly due to time constraints:

? Comp'd several drum takes together into a big fun good take
? Comp'd several guitar/bass/synth/piano takes together into a big fun good take, but usually no more than 2-3 takes
? Slid (nudged) drum hits or instruments into time if they are early or short, but only little things, not every note
? Copied guitar/bass/cymbals, flipped them backwards, and time aligned them for cool little effects.
? Edited breath so that the main vox have them and the supporting vox do not.
? Looped phrases and copied and pasted

What I will not do:

? Auto-Tune instruments or vox

I am open to any form of editing for any style of music in the studio, but I refuse to use pitch correction. Why? I consider it cheating. Why it is cheating and editing is not? I have no idea and I am a fucking hypocrite so let me have it. I believe that editing can be used as a form of composition. And I have used pitch manipulation (in Live 5) to compose electronic music. I just think that a singer who can't hit the notes is cheating. And I think that little mistakes are great things. I love pulling apart old recordings and hearing the mistakes, etc.

I have to say, if a band has a great record and sound like shit live, well, I am obviously turned-off. I believe in good musicianship, but this doesn't have to mean "virtuoso definition... Steve Vai juggling fruit and playing guitar with his pinky" kind of stuff. It means giving it your all and playing for the song. I see a lot of bands who sound great on record and suck live. Horrible. They aren't performers. What does it matter in the end? It doesn't. I just want to personally be honest within parameters that I set up for myself. I am a hobbyist mostly, so I don't see the "Britney only has 15 mins to record her vox before she meets Paris" kind of environment. So really, I have no clue except locally. I like good music in many genres. I also like live music a lot and good records. And I am into history. And someday I want to make a record with a band playing live in the studio. Auto-tune just seems to radically blur the line between talented musician/singer and no talent whatsoever but we'll market it anyway music. Maybe I'm easily offended.

I also, like John, love electronic music and what crazy shit computers allow you to do. Maybe I'll use Auto-tune (or DP's tune function or Waves Tune LT since I have them) for whacky shit, but not for a vocalist who is tone deaf.

Jeff
I record, mix, and master in my Philly-based home studio, the Spacement. https://linktr.ee/ipressrecord

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Post by A-Barr » Fri Dec 14, 2007 9:30 am

It's funny, in the past, it really seemed like the big problem was with bands that sounded awesome live but just didn't have that energy, or succumbed to cheesy production in the studio. Gets me to thinking that live performance and recordings really are two different mediums and require different skill sets. I can certainly see the cheating aspects of micro-editing and tuning, but then again, if you think of the recorded format as its own canvas, it makes sense to do whatever it takes to refine that work of art. So I think it varies with each producer's approach, there is the "Old School" that ther ecording medium is there to record an artform that happens live, in real time and the other approach, that the medium is a format that can be manipulated to whatever end the artist wants. Great albums have been made both ways, imo, there are no absolutes in art.

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