The world’s best performing artists, from Lady Gaga to Beyoncé and Bruno Mars all use auto tune. It’s the magical device used extensively in the entertainment industry to make artists sound pitch-perfect. But imagine this. What would their music sound like if they never used auto tune? Would their singing be as spectacular as we know it to be? Or would it be something completely different? Well, and I can’t believe that I’m saying this right now, if you use auto tune you really are a bad singer.
Before we get into this controversial subject of just how bad a singer you have to be to use auto tune, we might first explain exactly what auto tune is and how it works. It’s worth while explaining this to understand why it’s used by people who would normally sound like a cat that’s having its tail pulled.
There’s a very good chance that you have heard an artist singing using auto tune. It’s used extensively by singers in both studios and live concerts, but why? Surely a professional singer should be good enough to be able to sign without such a device? Under most circumstances one would hope so. But as we all know, everyone makes mistakes, that’s the reason pencils have erasers. And singers make mistakes when they are singing also. The concept of this marvelous invention is to only correct the occasional off note. But as we all know, it gets exploited to make any good looking singer sound like they were born to sing.
How exactly does it work? It works when the user sets a specific reference point, such as a scale or certain notes, and also a rate in which deviations from the set point will be corrected. This rate can be calibrated so that the artist can sound natural. But it can also be altered quickly by the artist, creating a digitized sounding voice, the exact type of sound that is popular in music today. So why is auto tune best suited for bad singers? For the answer we have to turn to one of the creators of South Park, Trey Parker for the answer.
So I bet you are asking the question, why would we look at asking Trey Parker, a man most famous for his part in creating South Park, why the auto tune is best for a bad singer? Well, even though he is well known for his crude South Park series, he is a bit of a talented singer. Sure, his art work matches that of an eight year old with arthritis and no thumbs, but when it comes to singing he is really pretty talented, and he has actually even been nominated for an Oscar. So why then, if he is so good, do we have to look at a certain Mr Parker for why those who use auto tune are so bad at singing?
In the commentary for the Gay Fish song called “Fishsticks”, Parker revealed that he couldn’t get auto tune to work with his voice. They were convinced that there may have been a technical problem, or that the sound guys were messing with him. But after several takes trying to get auto tune to work, and ruling out all other factors, they realized that Parker was singing in tune, preventing the thing from working.
You had to be a bad singer in order for that thing to actually sound the way it does
His solution for the problem was a simple one, and it worked. He had to sing as bad as possible to get auto tune to work, and it worked. The result of Trey Parker singing as bad as he possibly could was the Gay Fish song sounded like a modern day pop song. Which kind of proves that Parker is a better singer than most popular and successful artists today.