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Rap or singing? To tune or not to tune? *urgent*
Old 8th September 2019
  #1
Gear Head
 

Exclamation Rap or singing? To tune or not to tune? *urgent*

Hi everybody,

I am almost done with this song which has a mix of singing and rapping. I'm the singer.

I have a scheduled session tomorrow for vocal tuning, that's why it is quite urgent I get you guys' advice.

Some parts are clearly rap vocals which don't need tuning. But there are some parts which I'm unsure if there are actual notes or if I should treat them as rap vocals.

Here's a demo. There is no tuning on the vocals:
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1ja...bLPIxEg0Pswe5A

Here are the parts which I hesitate if I should tune or not:
1:22-1:29
1:49-1:54
1:54-2:07
2:40-2:45
2:49-2:59

These parts I'm pretty sure are rap/spoken word only:
1:16-1:17
2:08-2:20
2:27-2:33
2:46-2:49


If you guys could *please* chime in, I'd greatly appreciate it.

Thanks!

Last edited by Big Thier; 3 weeks ago at 05:33 AM..
Old 8th September 2019
  #2
Gear Maniac
 

I dont get it. There’s no rule saying that you must tune (autotune I assume) a vocal part. It can be as out of tune as you (the producer + the performer) like as long as you feel it fits the song.

You can put on autotune if you like and if it does something good for the song.

If neither you (being the producer?), the performer or anybody else in the room can hear if it needs autotune then you should either not be in the music business or it does not need it.

Use autotune as an effect, use it if the performer has difficulties hitting the notes, but don’t slap it on just because “that’s what you do”.

(I’m pretty old school so might be slightly biased. Sorry;-))

Edit: sorry. Read now that you’re the singer. Missed it. So what does the producer say? Or mixing engineer?
Old 8th September 2019
  #3
Gear Maniac
 

To put it in a more constructive way: Put it on on the entire track to hear what it does to the song and do some A/B listening.
Old 8th September 2019
  #4
Lives for gear
Yeah, I never use a tool ALWAYS. Sometimes in the bridge, I won't do any time correction or pitch tricks...

Old 4 weeks ago
  #5
Do what ever you want. Its all about what YOU want it to sound like. There are no set standards saying you need to do this and that. You do what ever you want to do.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #6
Lives for gear
"Do what ever you want to do" - is obvious really isn't :-)

We can all at any point "do whatever we want to do"!

I think the guy, like most people new to something, is looking for some advice
when faced with the myriad of options "Art" presents.

So I took a listen to the track -

Here's my humble opinion.

Your vocal is indeed pitchy and flat in places.
Your genre is alluding to melodic pop - therefore I would personally
tune the vocal, this is using modern tools to help you create some usable material now.

Software tuning can have a negative impact on a vocal sound to some degree or another so looking forward to the
future I would personally look at getting a vocal coach/online course and improving your
vocals - learning to sing scales and arpeggios etc accurately would help you a lot.

The more you sing, the more you practice with awareness the tighter your pitching will become
and then you won't need any software to help - save the odd syllable here and there :-)
Old 4 weeks ago
  #7
I'd be very surprised if the 'rapper' (MC) would want his vocal tuned. The way an MC follows the groove and uses tone of voice differently to a singer might not work for an auto tune. However, never been involved with auto tuning so don't know how it would work but being very involved with MCs in the world of Hip Hop they don't like you messing with their delivery in general unless it's a simple punch in. Hope that helps.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #8
Quote:
We can all at any point "do whatever we want to do"!
???
When do we not do when we want, when we have the final say?
Name one instance when someone didn't what he thought was the best thing to do, when he has FINAL say.
If you do not do what ever you want to do, You do not have control over your brain (in context of you having final say)
Old 4 weeks ago
  #9
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ Mastering View Post
???
When do we not do when we want, when we have the final say?
Name one instance when someone didn't what he thought was the best thing to do, when he has FINAL say.
If you do not do what ever you want to do, You do not have control over your brain (in context of you having final say)
???

LOL .... well I'm all for descending into semantics!

Of course has has the final say, again that's obvious, he's asking because he doesn't know what to that final say should be!

Last time I looked the concept was called "asking for advice" - kinda the point of this forum :-)

Did you listen to his track?
What do you think - do you think he tune the sung part of his vocal?
I think it would benefit from some tuning given the genre and chordal/harmonic style of the backing.

Last edited by thehightenor; 4 weeks ago at 03:57 PM..
Old 4 weeks ago
  #10
Gear Guru
 

I have a number of rapper clients who tune their vocals - and I mean tuning the 'rapping' part, not the "attempt at singing" part.

While they are not "singing", many of these guys naturally gravitate to a 'main' pitch or a couple of pitches - usually in the key of the instrumental and they like it better when the vocal is tighter to the track. They seem to be going for a sort of "sing-songy" delivery, anyway.

For others, I think they may just like the side-effect artifacts of Auto-Tune. Maybe it sounds "professional" to them because they hear it all the time on records?
Old 3 weeks ago
  #11
Interesting joeq - i'm guessing these are the types that are trying to get somewhere with mainstream rap songs rather than the underground kind of thing i'm associated with. In my world the MC would be laughed off the stage for auto tuning and probably even attempting to sing would be frowned upon unless done very well. The audience for underground Hip Hop is not very forgiving!
Old 3 weeks ago
  #12
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Thier
But there are some parts which I'm unsure if there are actual notes or if I should treat them as rap vocals.
I thought you said you are The Artist? If you don't know whether you were trying to sing or not, you problem extends beyond Autotune. If it seems to fall into a "grey area", it is totally up to you if it remains in that grey area or get pushed one way or the other.

it's your song, nobody can say to you: "that's not how it goes"!

Too late for "tomorrow's" tuning session, but going forward, maybe this is something you really need to address in the writing and performance. Not wait until the mix. Formal music lessons on your instrument - voice - that include a bit of theory would be a big help in making good decisions in this area. Contrary to what some people think, it will not rob you of your individuality.

Instead of just letting it "happen", make it happen.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #13
J R
Gear Nut
I would duplicate the track and tune all of the parts.

This way, you can listen between the two and decide for yourself what you want tuned and what you don't.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #14
Lives for gear
 
Quetz's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by thehightenor View Post
Of course has has the final say, again that's obvious, he's asking because he doesn't know what to that final say should be!
Then they should think about it, shouldn't they.

You can't tell someone what their art should look like.
It's not theirs otherwise, is it.

That's different from asking how to use it or asking if vocals need tuning which would be a problem in itself, but that's already been covered by the previous posters.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #15
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quetz View Post
Then they should think about it, shouldn't they.

You can't tell someone what their art should look like.
It's not theirs otherwise, is it.
When you stop and think about it, that's not entirely true.

Some of the most successful Producers do exactly that all the time with some of the most successful Artists! Tell them what their Art should sound like - well at least make a very significant contribution to the process.

Just recently I watched a documentary with Alex Lifeson (the guitarist with Rush)
talking about when they brought in a Producer to work on a new album.

The Producer basically removed Alex's beloved FX pedal board and said "no more swooning reverb and delays for you - we're making this album with just you, you're guitar a lead and a great amp!

Alex said his reaction was like "F you buddy - I'm Alex Lifeson this is my sound"

The thing was this Producer had a vision for the new Rush album and he went out of his way and really fought with Alex to get his way.

Alex said, looking back he was glad the Producer had pushed back against Alex's initial reaction because he felt the album had a been a step forward for Rush and had one of the best guitar sounds he'd ever had on record - and as a Rush fan i thought so too.

There's so many story's like this.

Personally speaking I don't take on a Production job unless I know the Artist is going to listen and act on some of my ideas .... otherwise why hire me - just get an engineer and self-produce, I have on many occasions made significant contributions to how an artists music has evolved on a record - sometimes the sound has been my vision for their song- and if it sounds fantastic - they're thrilled.

It's still their song - I've just framed it in a different way.

Now admittedly we might be taking about a two different aspects here - but in reference to the OP I think he was turning to the forum for nothing more than some production advice such as a Producer would give.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #16
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by thehightenor View Post

Personally speaking I don't take on a Production job unless I know the Artist is going to listen and act on some of my ideas .... otherwise why hire me

Exactly. If the artist is actually spending money on your advice, he is less likely to reject it - because it would be like throwing his money away. The person who offers to produce for free - or for no extra charge other than the studio time - does not get this same level of consideration.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #17
Lives for gear
 
boombapdame's Avatar
 

Strip @ mrfantastic yourself of the pretentiousness of the so-called underground. It can be equally stifling as the so-called mainstream.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #18
@ boombapdame - i'm not sure it's pretentious, just an easily understood difference to commercial appeal without additional explanation.

If auto tuning is involved it's more likely to be aimed at a mainstream or commercial audience as far as I can see. I was merely interested to hear from @ joeq that
'rappers' actually ask for it as I've never had a requirement from anyone to auto tune.
Old 1 week ago
  #19
Lives for gear
 
Quetz's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by thehightenor View Post
When you stop and think about it, that's not entirely true.

Some of the most successful Producers do exactly that all the time with some of the most successful Artists! Tell them what their Art should sound like - well at least make a very significant contribution to the process.

Just recently I watched a documentary with Alex Lifeson (the guitarist with Rush)
talking about when they brought in a Producer to work on a new album.

The Producer basically removed Alex's beloved FX pedal board and said "no more swooning reverb and delays for you - we're making this album with just you, you're guitar a lead and a great amp!

Alex said his reaction was like "F you buddy - I'm Alex Lifeson this is my sound"

The thing was this Producer had a vision for the new Rush album and he went out of his way and really fought with Alex to get his way.

Alex said, looking back he was glad the Producer had pushed back against Alex's initial reaction because he felt the album had a been a step forward for Rush and had one of the best guitar sounds he'd ever had on record - and as a Rush fan i thought so too.

There's so many story's like this.

Personally speaking I don't take on a Production job unless I know the Artist is going to listen and act on some of my ideas .... otherwise why hire me - just get an engineer and self-produce, I have on many occasions made significant contributions to how an artists music has evolved on a record - sometimes the sound has been my vision for their song- and if it sounds fantastic - they're thrilled.

It's still their song - I've just framed it in a different way.

Now admittedly we might be taking about a two different aspects here - but in reference to the OP I think he was turning to the forum for nothing more than some production advice such as a Producer would give.
I did stop and think about it after your prompting and can't disagree with anything you've written, to be honest.
I guess though that I was interpreting it as the op asking what his vision should be, rather than "this is my vision, how do I achieve/improve it?".
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