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Man they sang out of tune back in the day too!
Old 29th January 2009
  #1
Moderator
 
James Lugo's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Man they sang out of tune back in the day too!

I don't want hear anymore BS about how singers nowadays can't sing and they were so much better in the 70's. Bulls**t!heh

I've spent the morning putting together a play list of songs for my wedding and downloading off iTunes, mostly 70's dance, funk, rock and ballads. Some 60's, 80's and 90's. Man a lot of that stuff is massively pitchy. If they were making records today Melodyne would be getting worn out on them.

Old school my ass. !!!!!!!!!! lol

I'm 44 and have been making music since I'm in grade school and I just don't buy that they were so much better singers.

This should be fun!
Old 29th January 2009
  #2
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
Of course they were better, they had to live with it.
Old 29th January 2009
  #3
Lives for gear
 
deve's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
But at least they did not pretend.
Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #4
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Digitar's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
L.A.,
I'm sure the ratio of good singers to bad singers is about the same whatever era we're talking about. But think about about many of the great vocal performances that don't have auto tune. I think it's the pitch variations that make it MORE soulful.

It used to be about let's find somebody who can DELIVER the song with feeling. Nowadays it's about let's find somebody who looks good and try to infuse the feeling in their ?VOCAL? with autotune, effects, or whatever. I think it's all the imperfections that make it real and MORE human. That's something that I can feel. I can't stand the sound of a vocal that cries out autotune.

I wan't to hear a great singer singing great songs whatever the era.
Old 29th January 2009
  #5
Lives for gear
 
Batchainpuller78's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
It's not about pitch it's about character & the music & the delivery :D

Give me one modern day equivalent of :
-Billie Holiday
-Aretha Franklin
-Ray Charles
-Dusty Springfield
-Vera Lynn
-Louis Armstrong
-John & Paul
-Bo Diddley
-Chuck Berry
-Barry White
-James Brown
-Frank Zappa
-Captain Beefheart
-Arthur Lee
-David Byrne
-Devo
-Serge Gainsbourg
-Jacques Brel
-J.J Cale
-Johnny Cash
-Nina Simone
-Hendrix
.....
The list is endless, some of them very good vocalist, some less, but it's how they deliver it & how it fits the music that makes it great, and quite honestly, most people from back than are a bit more of a character than todays teeny heroes.

Tuning tuning, the thing is if you have somebody who can't sing and deliver or has nothing to say, it can get problematic, but if the singer is somebody who can project his voice and has a character that if he says something it speaks to you, and he's inventive and musical, the pitch usualy doesn't matter.

And it's not perfect pitching that makes things nice, it usually makes it more boring, it's the right use of tension, contrast timbre and pitch that makes things sound exciting.
Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #6
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mdjice's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
it's Eazy!! just autotune each song before playing it at your wedding heh
Old 29th January 2009
  #7
Gear Guru
 
theblue1's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by James 'LA' Lugo ➑️
I don't want hear anymore BS about how singers nowadays can't sing and they were so much better in the 70's. Bulls**t!heh

I've spent the morning putting together a play list of songs for my wedding and downloading off iTunes, mostly 70's dance, funk, rock and ballads. Some 60's, 80's and 90's. Man a lot of that stuff is massively pitchy. If they were making records today Melodyne would be getting worn out on them.

Old school my ass. !!!!!!!!!! lol

I'm 44 and have been making music since I'm in grade school and I just don't buy that they were so much better singers.

This should be fun!
What... so you're implying no one could sing on pitch back in the day?

Maybe you're just listening to the wrong stuff.

Or maybe your ear is so acclimated to the inharmonic intervals of equal temperament that when you hear a natural, in-tune interval sung by a singer who actually knows where the notes are instead of blindly following the sometimes rather crude approximations of ET, your ear doesn't get it.


Now... were some singers out of pitch by any measure at times? Of course.

I think one just has to be very careful about generalizations... unless, of course, one's purpose is simply trolling for outraged comments.

Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #8
Moderator
 
James Lugo's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Digitar ➑️
L.A.,
It used to be about let's find somebody who can DELIVER the song with feeling. Nowadays it's about let's find somebody who looks good and try to infuse the feeling in their ?VOCAL? with autotune, effects, or whatever. I think it's all the imperfections that make it real and MORE human. That's something that I can feel. I can't stand the sound of a vocal that cries out autotune.
Yeah but where's the origin of the problem?

Is it with lazy engineers and producers who fell in love with the use of autotune?

I mean it didn't start with the bands, they were just standing in front of mics doing there thing as they always have. Could it be engneers enjoying the ease tracking vocals quick and fixing it later without having to deal with getting a great performance?

At the end of the day it's the same crowd on here that talks smack about tuning vocals that are tuning vocals. And honestly I think there are a lot of modern sings delivery songs with tons of feeling. I think it may be a different feeling because people feel music today in a different way from the old days. I was listening to 'Toxic' last night by Brittany, to me that is a flawless performance in every way. Tons of feeling, may be not what you may be feling but I had a 15 year old girl in the studio and when we cracked up 'Toxic' she went nuts started dancing and singing. If I would have put on Roberta Flack she would have started checking her email. It's all the same. In 30 years they will be talking about the artists of today with good memories and watching VH1 with distain. Same 'ole story, it's as old as time. Julius Ceaser said the kids of today are lazy and unfocused. Same as it ever was...

Some day maybe we'll be paying big bucks on eBay for vintage protools? Early serial number Digi 001's...lol or not...
Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #9
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Protools Guy's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I think that "back in the day", people came into record vocals with a lot more rehearsal hours under their belt.

Some, not all, of today's artists know that they can get away with not being as pitch-accurate because of auto-tune or melodyne.

Even the fact that we don't have to wait for the 2" machine(s) to rewind to "try it again" makes the recording vibe so much less urgent.

In many ways this is a very good thing.

Just my $.02.
Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #10
Moderator
 
James Lugo's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 ➑️
What... so you're implying no one could sing on pitch back in the day?

Maybe you're just listening to the wrong stuff.

Or maybe your ear is so acclimated to the inharmonic intervals of equal temperament that when you hear a natural, in-tune interval sung by a singer who actually knows where the notes are instead of blindly following the sometimes rather crude approximations of ET, your ear doesn't get it.


Now... were some singers out of pitch by any measure at times? Of course.

I think one just has to be very careful about generalizations... unless, of course, one's purpose is simply trolling for outraged comments.


I hear ya, I think it's a knee jerk reaction to all the generalizations that fly around here every day. I'm a voice coach, I listen to all types of music morning, noon and night and sing and teach everything. My statement was what it was. I don't think everyone back then was out of tune, that's not what I said, I said a lot of it was out of tune and it is to my ear and if they were around now a days with the climate they'd be tuned.

Peace
Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #11
Gear Guru
 
theblue1's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I don't think the kids are lazy and unfocused.

I think the music biz is...


And maybe a little tin-eared. Kids may not have known precisely what they were hearing at first -- but they knew they were hearing something when they listened to those clumsily-tuned records that the first decade of Auto-Tune in the hands of today's engineer's produced -- even though the production teams obviously thought they'd put something over on the kids.

The kids heard the tweets and warbles and other AT artifacts and identified them as the sound of contemporary radio music and clamored to get on board... cranking the AT higher and higher until nice little acoustic ballads 'had' to be so over-tuned that they were halfway to T-Pain land...

I've had it patiently explained to me a number of times, a lot of today's self-recording musicians slather on that AT not out of vocal insecurity so much as to get that sound...
Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #12
Moderator
 
James Lugo's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Protools Guy ➑️
I think that "back in the day", people came into record vocals with a lot more rehearsal hours under their belt.

Some, not all, of today's artists know that they can get away with not being as pitch-accurate because of auto-tune or melodyne.

Even the fact that we don't have to wait for the 2" machine(s) to rewind to "try it again" makes the recording vibe so much less urgent.

In many ways this is a very good thing.

Just my $.02.
But does endless rehearsal help pitch?

Maybe it does maybe it doesn't. Most of the successful bands I work with rehearse a lot, to much for my personal taste, I mean it's rock-n-roll how much rehearsing can anyone do, it's four chords, count to 4 and do it over again. I could be wrong, Lord knows I am all the time.
Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #13
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
There was more pressure back then (ie..50's/60's) to really perform and get it right as there were more performers brought together for one session as opposed to layering tracks...especially if there were big bands/horn sections, strings, etc.

Then there's also the occasional threat of bodily harm! I recall liner notes to an Ike Turner collection where a singer on one of his sessions in an expensive studio ($75/hour in the 60's!) was having a bit of trouble. Ike is paraphrased as saying "I'm gonna stick this guitar up your ass if you don't get it right!"
Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #14
Gear Guru
 
theblue1's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by James 'LA' Lugo ➑️
I hear ya, I think it's a knee jerk reaction to all the generalizations that fly around here every day. I'm a voice coach, I listen to all types of music morning, noon and night and sing and teach everything. My statement was what it was. I don't think everyone back then was out of tune, that's not what I said, I said a lot of it was out of tune and it is to my ear and if they were around now a days with the climate they'd be tuned.

Peace
I don't think they would have tuned Mrs. Miller.

heh


Again, while acknowledging that -- especially in folk and rock and teen pop (and more than a little underfunded, hurriedly recorded R&B/soul) -- there was out of tune singing on a number of recordings, there can also be temperament issues when singers who gravitate to true harmonic intervals run into inappropriate music backing that puts them in a context where they're going up against the same notes played on an equal temperament instrument (particularly one with long sustain like an organ). The singer sounds 'out of tune' against the organ, even though the singer is the one who is honing to true intervals.

One can shove a good singer onto the 12 tone equal temperament grid and get them to 'agree' with the approximations of 12TET instruments -- or one can create the kind of thoughtful arrangements that graced the best of the recordings of the great singers of the past that let the singer hit harmonically satisfying/true intervals.
Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #15
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SoundUniverse's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by James 'LA' Lugo ➑️
Yeah but where's the origin of the problem?

Is it with lazy engineers and producers who fell in love with the use of autotune?

I mean it didn't start with the bands, they were just standing in front of mics doing there thing as they always have. Could it be engneers enjoying the ease tracking vocals quick and fixing it later without having to deal with getting a great performance?
I honestly think it's a sensory thing. I think kids today have something "us kids" from the seventies (I'm 45) didn't have available to us. Videos! Kids these days I think "see" how cool it is and get their inspiration from that. leading to a whole bunch more "participation" into the "craft" and because it is so visual producers are more inclined to make "visual candy" work ie vocal fixing.

Whereas kids before all the MTV, American Idol, blah blah only had there ears to inspire, so if he or she couldn't deliver the goods they might take themselves out of the running or be taken out early by those critics around them no matter how cute they were. Those that really had the heart worked their craft and polished their themselves into a talent.

You hear better with your eyes closed.
Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #16
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Protools Guy's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by James 'LA' Lugo ➑️
But does endless rehearsal help pitch?

Maybe it does maybe it doesn't. Most of the successful bands I work with rehearse a lot, to much for my personal taste, I mean it's rock-n-roll how much rehearsing can anyone do, it's four chords, count to 4 and do it over again. I could be wrong, Lord knows I am all the time.
I think that endless rehearsal of bad habits can deeply ingrain those bad habits. So many bands don't tape their rehearsals, listen back, critique, then work on the "trouble spots". The artists that do are usually the ones that get better faster and are able to identify pitch problems.

As we all know, the truth is that some people got it and some people don't. Good singers are hard to find. More and more people today think they can cut it. When you see some people selling tonnage and sounding rough live, everyone will think, "If they can do it, I can do it".

I'm with you James, there definitely were a lot of vocals that should have been re-done back in the olden days. What I don't get is why some BIG modern recordings have really pitchy vocals on them. I'm not going to mention any names, but major label bands with HUGE budgets still let garbage make it through. Unreal...
Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #17
Gear Addict
 
RockManDan's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
what bugs the hell out of me isnt the crazy techno pop tpain stuff. thats obviously autotune and in many ways it fits the sound. it doesnt bug me when my friends abuse melodyne in a techno song with reason beats and synths and stuff because its all manufactured anyway. not any worse than programmed loops and quantized keyboard riffs. it can still make some cool music. the autotune doesnt stand out as much to me.

what does bother me to no end is organic performed songs that have autotune slapped on them. i dont encounter it much in the rock/hard rock/metal music that i listen to for fun, but whenever im learning songs for church i get cd's full of the worst autotune abuse. im talking simple piano vocal ballads with warbly artifacts. acoustic songs with melodyned harmonies, not even double tracked. the worst is that bouncing-between-two-notes sound that occurs when someone puts AT in auto mode and just leaves it. its so distracting and crappy. it baffles me that engineers who otherwise do good work....great roomy drum sounds....thick yet spacious guitars...acoustics that sit just right in the mid....that these engineers can live with these gross sounds. it makes it worse when i can tell that the performance was already good...that it most likely didnt even need autotune to sound right....but some nashville homogenizer decided it needed AT without even listening to it....

even worse is when my bandmates, even the worship leader, cant tell the difference. the only other person who notices is a girl who sings with us (who ive recorded many times...never once needing AT...her doubletracking almost phases itself).

/rant over

-dan
Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #18
Moderator
 
James Lugo's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Batchainpuller78 ➑️
It's not about pitch it's about character & the music & the delivery :D

Give me one modern day equivalent of :
-Billie Holiday
-Aretha Franklin
-Ray Charles
-Dusty Springfield
-Vera Lynn
-Louis Armstrong
-John & Paul
-Bo Diddley
-Chuck Berry
-Barry White
-James Brown
-Frank Zappa
-Captain Beefheart
-Arthur Lee
-David Byrne
-Devo
-Serge Gainsbourg
-Jacques Brel
-J.J Cale
-Johnny Cash
-Nina Simone
-Hendrix

But to a degree it proves my point, give me a 60's version of Brittany. You can't because it didn't exist.

I will give you there's no modern Devo...lol I'm just f**kin with you.
Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #19
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RCM - Ronan's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Since the advent of digital fix-it techniques there has been a big shift in what is considered acceptable. Many of what we consider the greatest records of all time would get rejected by the label if they were recorded today.
Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #20
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Batchainpuller78's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
uhu heh

I once saw a dutch 60's television version of what we could consider Pop-idol or whatever it is named, today.
the candidates were amazing, the could really really sing.
and the judges were all suited guys, with the tie, the bone glasses and comb over.
As soon as it was judging time the would discuss among themselves the timbre, the pitch, the vibrato, the falsetto & other vocal registers.
Hmm a wee bit different from todays judging
Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #21
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
I think that it also has to do with how singers were recorded back in the day. For instance, Leonard Cohen's early albums, his voice was all over the place, miles off pitch, warbling etc. However, I think that his vocals sound incredible, particulalry on 'Songs of Love and Hate.' This is largely down to a hell of a lot of plate reverb and very well thought out instrumental parts which although sparce, compliment his voice perfectly. All of this sat on top of a beautifully recorded classical guitar (sounds like Coles?) and it all fits together perfectly. As has been said over and over again, it's not just the gear that they used, it's the way that the producers shaped the arrangements so that the songs work with the artist. That's what producers these days need to remember.
Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #22
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3rd&4thT's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
A lot of the problem today is that you're listening to dancers who also sing, as opposed to the other way round. MTV did change everything in terms of priorities.

Back in the day, the only group that used to sing so out of tune my teeth ached was The Mamas and the Papas. If Bones Howe had AT, he would have used it, because sometimes their backing vocals went seriously astray. (Archie Bell and the Drells had pitch problems too, but he only had one hit, so who cares?)

I think the heightened sensitivities approaching a wedding caused an over-reaction. The music recording business has always been about pushing unevenly talented young performers on an undiscriminating public. This was as true of Edison's cylinders as it is of today's downloads.

I like Batchainpuller78's list of communicative singers a lot! Thirty years from now, couples will be sitting on the porch swing in the moonlight, listening to some potty-mouth rap about bitches and ho's, and murmer to each other, "Darling, they're playing our song!"

Cheers,
3rd&4thT
Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #23
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Digitar's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by James 'LA' Lugo ➑️
Yeah but where's the origin of the problem?

Is it with lazy engineers and producers who fell in love with the use of autotune?

I mean it didn't start with the bands, they were just standing in front of mics doing there thing as they always have. Could it be engneers enjoying the ease tracking vocals quick and fixing it later without having to deal with getting a great performance?
"When you buy a new hammer, every thing starts to look like a nail".- The Blue 1

It starts and ends with the label. If they cared more about the artistic statement than the commerce, maybe things would change. In the old days they would do take after take until they got a keeper. Now it's get a few performances and we'll piece together a ?GREAT? take.

You know they don't want to spend all their money recording music don't you?.heh
Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #24
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Protools Guy's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by 3rd&4thT ➑️
Thirty years from now, couples will be sitting on the porch swing in the moonlight, listening to some potty-mouth rap about bitches and ho's, and murmer to each other, "Darling, they're playing our song!"
Classic!! LMAO!!!
Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #25
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
People seem to use auto tune more because of the sound not because it corrects bad notes well. Most artists actually like the sound of digital artifacts because it sounds more "modern". I've asked many artists why they love auto tune and most of them say for the sound before talking about pitch.

It probably started with some producer slapping auto tune on a bad singer while mixing one day trying to bring them in tune, hoping the singer wouldnt notice the digital artifcts, and the singer loved what it did to the tone of their voice without realizing that it wasnt meant to sound like an effect. The producer agreed that the efx on the vox were amazing took his money and that was that. This same scenario happens in other cities and next thing you know the tone of auto tune is sweeping the nation.
Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #26
Jr. Gear Slut 2nd class
 
chessparov's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
In "All You Need Is Ears", the great George Martin makes the point that many times he PREFERRED the somewhat off-key vocal because it was more... musical.

For example, anybody else notice some years back they "corrected" the cracking of John Lennon's vocal during one of the harmony parts in "If I Fell"-criminal!

Gee let's go autotune James Brown hey!!!..heh

IMHO until a singer at least reaches the technical ability of a top broadway singer (proper vibrato, etc.), they are better considered professional ENTERTAINERS, not
really pro "singers". Not meant as a slight BTW-Howlin' Wolf is one of my top 5 fave vocalists of all time, in any genre, along with Enrico Caruso for opera, and Nat King Cole for pop/jazz.

Chris
Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #27
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Geosync's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Does the contemporary artist dictate the tools or are the tools we have shape the new style?

Doesn't "POP" music just reflect the technology of the day?
Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #28
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Waltz Mastering's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Bob Dylan with autotune ??????? It wouldn't be right.

TW
Old 29th January 2009
  #29
maq
Gear Nut
 
maq's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by James 'LA' Lugo ➑️
I don't want hear anymore BS about how singers nowadays can't sing and they were so much better in the 70's. Bulls**t!heh

I've spent the morning putting together a play list of songs for my wedding
There will always be a generational condescension. We will look down our noses at the lax standards of our successors and know that our predecessors just didn't get it. I try to be smart enough to know that sometimes I just won't get it. In the meantime, I'll be walking to school and back, uphill both ways!

PS: Congrats on the impending wedding
Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #30
Deleted User
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I cant believe James dissed the 70's lightning is coming I can feel itstike
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