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Celemony freaks out musicians, makes corny “DNA” puns

July 10, 2009
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Guest blogger and friend, Doug Moore of Metal Review, decided to weigh in on Three Point One Four on a new technology that could change music recording forever.

being a tone-deaf triplet no longer a barrier into the music biz

being a tone-deaf triplet no longer a barrier into the music biz

I used to consider myself a generally tech-literate, forward-thinking dude, but perhaps I self-evaluated too soon. Perhaps I am a slavering hippie longing for a return to a pre-agricultural hunter-gatherer society.

For the first time in my life, the above demonstration of Celemony’s new Direct Note Access technology for their Melodyne sound-editing program made me feel like an eighteenth-century textile worker staring down a mechanical loom.

Actually, the first time I witnessed said video, my reaction was “wow, that shit is totally from the future.” I’m not staking my fortunes on getting work as a professional musician (fortunately for me and everyone else in the greater Philly area), so I was free to appreciate the 21st-century marvel that is Celemony’s preposterously advanced chord-reshaping technology. Considering that my alternative would be storming the Teutonic stronghold in which Celemony Software GmbH likely stores the Direct Note Access program, I’ll consider my lack of ambition a blessing.

But as an aspiring musician, it’s hard not to feel a little threatened by Direct Note Access’s capacity for mechanically efficient studio editing. It’s long been possible for notalent celebrities to hire mercenary producers who will help them digi-manipulate their way through pop albums, but Celemony’s new app makes the same wholesale technological deceit possible for instrumentalists…or rather, those who want to be instrumentalists but can’t really get down with the whole “long hours of practice” part.

On some level, I know that it’s unlikely that Direct Note Access will become a wildly popular technology like Auto-Tune or quantization, and certainly it will never replace the exhilarating spectacle of a live performance. Further, it’s apparently having problems getting released—it was slated to be included in a Melodyne update this past spring, but hasn’t yet hit the shelves. Still, Celemony has pushed actual human musicianship a step closer to novelty status, and no performer—even a wannabe like myself—can really embrace that shift.

I invite you to subject Direct Note Access to one of rock music’s ultimate litmus tests: would the Stooges use it? (Hint: there is a correct answer.)

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Ben Plotnick permalink
    July 10, 2009 7:31 pm

    I must say that I really know nothing about Fourier analysis. That being said, I call shenanigans. I mean, a chord is not just a bunch of notes together. It is a composite of all of the notes. It is a one-way function of sorts – you can easily construct the notes, but I can’t see how you can undo that. I could imagine pulling the relevant frequencies out, but maintaining all of the other information about the notes… I doubt it.

    Then again, if you told me 10 years ago that you could do pitch shifting whilst maintaining time information, I wouldn’t believe it. Either way, I hope that this thing isn’t real. It already is a scary world not being able to tell real pictures from fake pictures, but extending that to music – that is truly frightening.

  2. July 11, 2009 1:42 am

    I actually have Celemony Melodyne.

    I’ve used it moderate success, though I’ve found it less of an effective tool to hide aural blemishes and more of a learning tool to actively perceive the effects of modifying different aspects of tonal production.

    With the older version I have, you can definitely tell when something has been electronically corrected/enhanced, but it sure helps with achieving equal temperament.

    That said, as is the case with live performances and most human things in general, it’s the nuances and inaccuracies that give it life (well, that and just temperament). If a sound or even a picture felt too “perfect”, it wouldn’t be as warmly received.

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