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Out of Touch? - A Study Of The Technology And Framework That Is Supposedly Killing Music

Olsson, Carl LU (2016) MUVK01 20152
Division of Musicology
Abstract
Since the 1990-s music has become more and more polished, to the point where it is almost too perfect. Are we obsessed with perfection, both in structure and pitch? Auto-tune, playback and excessive compression are tools used in all genres, but most commonly seen in pop music. What is the fascination with everything being perfect and flawless? Is not the human part of music important today?

This essay examines the “human touch” in music from different perspectives to establish a conclusion regarding the state of it. There are many factors that affect the human touch and this essay is based on four that I believe to be the main factors.

Authenticity and perfection are key factors when discussing “humanity” and the human touch in... (More)
Since the 1990-s music has become more and more polished, to the point where it is almost too perfect. Are we obsessed with perfection, both in structure and pitch? Auto-tune, playback and excessive compression are tools used in all genres, but most commonly seen in pop music. What is the fascination with everything being perfect and flawless? Is not the human part of music important today?

This essay examines the “human touch” in music from different perspectives to establish a conclusion regarding the state of it. There are many factors that affect the human touch and this essay is based on four that I believe to be the main factors.

Authenticity and perfection are key factors when discussing “humanity” and the human touch in music. Is music today still authentic, even with all the software manipulation and polishing tools? This essay has used academic works from different musicologist to first establish what authenticity is and how it has developed in the digital era.

During the analysis I took a closer look at the most criticized and well known tool during music production, pitch correction. This analysis gives an overview of what can be done using pitch correction software such as Auto-tune, Melodyne and Waves Tune. These programs also provide graphs and curves for further analysis in terms of pitch and modulation. The graphs turned out to be excellent material for spotting track manipulation, without even listening to the track.

The result of the main questions point towards pitch-correction and perfection being the logical route of music development and the evolution of technology in general. The framework surrounding authenticity feels dated and hard to apply to new, digital music. Tools that would by the old standard make a performance or recording un-authentic should today be seen with fresh eyes and more as a diverse utensil rather than just a cheat. The human touch proved to be a very hard thing to both fake and remove from music, no matter how much you manipulate it. It is hard to have a subjective opinion regarding the state of authenticity of a track in today’s music, and it is safe to say that most musicians and producers today are not having authenticity in mind when creating or recording music. Perhaps this means that being unaware of authenticity and being genuine is the most honest way of being an authentic musician. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Olsson, Carl LU
supervisor
organization
course
MUVK01 20152
year
type
M2 - Bachelor Degree
subject
keywords
Music, Technology, Auto-tune, Music Production, Psychology in music, Authenticity, Human Factor, Pitch Correction, Pitch Analysis
language
English
id
8626616
date added to LUP
2016-02-22 11:12:35
date last changed
2016-02-22 11:12:35
@misc{8626616,
  abstract     = {Since the 1990-s music has become more and more polished, to the point where it is almost too perfect. Are we obsessed with perfection, both in structure and pitch? Auto-tune, playback and excessive compression are tools used in all genres, but most commonly seen in pop music. What is the fascination with everything being perfect and flawless? Is not the human part of music important today?

This essay examines the “human touch” in music from different perspectives to establish a conclusion regarding the state of it. There are many factors that affect the human touch and this essay is based on four that I believe to be the main factors.

Authenticity and perfection are key factors when discussing “humanity” and the human touch in music. Is music today still authentic, even with all the software manipulation and polishing tools? This essay has used academic works from different musicologist to first establish what authenticity is and how it has developed in the digital era.

During the analysis I took a closer look at the most criticized and well known tool during music production, pitch correction. This analysis gives an overview of what can be done using pitch correction software such as Auto-tune, Melodyne and Waves Tune. These programs also provide graphs and curves for further analysis in terms of pitch and modulation. The graphs turned out to be excellent material for spotting track manipulation, without even listening to the track.

The result of the main questions point towards pitch-correction and perfection being the logical route of music development and the evolution of technology in general. The framework surrounding authenticity feels dated and hard to apply to new, digital music. Tools that would by the old standard make a performance or recording un-authentic should today be seen with fresh eyes and more as a diverse utensil rather than just a cheat. The human touch proved to be a very hard thing to both fake and remove from music, no matter how much you manipulate it. It is hard to have a subjective opinion regarding the state of authenticity of a track in today’s music, and it is safe to say that most musicians and producers today are not having authenticity in mind when creating or recording music. Perhaps this means that being unaware of authenticity and being genuine is the most honest way of being an authentic musician.},
  author       = {Olsson, Carl},
  keyword      = {Music,Technology,Auto-tune,Music Production,Psychology in music,Authenticity,Human Factor,Pitch Correction,Pitch Analysis},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Out of Touch? - A Study Of The Technology And Framework That Is Supposedly Killing Music},
  year         = {2016},
}