“Obviously,” the infamous autotune digitally enhances the musical qualities of sound, and the Gregory Brothers invaded Youtube with it. Auto-tuning is most effective for transforming voices into electronic singers, but it could be used for anything, such as a national news segment of Antoine Dodson’s account of a rapist in Lincoln Park.

The autotune effect is pretty easy to enable. Antares Auto-Tune or Apple’s music editor Garageband can do it by the drag of a slider. T-Pain consistently uses it and a great number of celebrity singers in the music industry employ it to correct their singing by perfecting the pitch digitally. Run and tell that, homeboy! The ingenious part of this particular auto-tuned video is detecting the subtleties of speech and finding good resources for content. Namely, the original news story.

Everyone sings a melody when the speak (hence, monotone speakers use a single note). Repetition of short sounds can naturally bring out musical structure in any voice. This musical illusion shows how singing and talking are not wholly dissimilar.

Now that the song has been spoken, the attacker now wishes he hadn’t climbed into this musical window. Everyone indirectly knows him now, so he’ll be famous (that’s a hint to confess, their looking for you, Mr. Bed Intruder)!

But it doesn’t stop there. Even somebody’s ‘lil daughter has a fabulous composition about hearing some unusual noises in her parent’s bedroom (mp3 & video).

Gregory Brothers – Mommy & Daddy Song

Love it or hate it, auto-tuning is the new norm, whether a giant fad or used creatively. Jay-Z and even Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cubie speak out against auto-tune, with good reason. Death Cab’s auto-tuned soundalike is Owl City. Jay-Z competes with Kanye West and other robotic rappers. Autotune takes away the emphasis on the talent of the singer and the beauty in human-error and slightly offset pitch. Auto-tune can also be a crutch and a gimmick for a vocalist. Or maybe just fun, like the sure-to-make-money T-Pain app for iPhone:

On the other side of the tuning war spectrum, there are crazies like Tom Waits, whose voice is disgustingly rugged and delightfully raw. Bringing it full circle, you could cover an auto-tuned track.

I don’t love or hate auto-tune effects. It’s just a method to alter audio. I love or hate the result. It can be abused and used, just like anything. Recording artists (even lo-fi indie bands) often use digital manipulation, compression, and tweaking of sound to change or improve it. Analog voice filtering has been used with debatable good effect by the likes of Julian Casablancas of the Strokes among many. The debate can be equated historically with early blues musicians increasing the amplification as a way to give a bite to their sound. Back then, I’m sure many would dismiss the result as radio static, or would try to cut cables to Bob Dylan’s backing band.

We can’t always blame the tools for ruining things. Sure, creativity can be crushed by relying on corrective instruments that make it easy. But it’s what people do that’s important.