Melodyne and Electronic Music

Melodyne is an extremely powerful digital audio editor made by Celemony.  Melodyne can work as a standalone program or as a plugin in a DAW.  The idea for a program like Melodyne originated with the use of auto tune, primarily for vocals.  Antares was the most popular developer for auto-tune, but their program was lacking the tools necessary to do precise pitch correction.  Celemony took pitch correction to the next level with Melodyne by redefining the standard format and functions for pitch correction editors.  Prior to Melodyne, auto-tune worked in the background according to parameters set by the engineer. However, rather than simply calculating the frequency of a pitch and auto correcting it to certain parameters, Melodyne gives complete control to the engineer who is running it.   One of the primary differences in how Melodyne works is that audio must be first recorded into the program before any editing can be done.  After the audio is recorded in and Melodyne has analyzed it, there tons of tools that can be used to do everything from gently correcting intonation to drastically altering the pitch, formant, and timing of the audio.  This is possible through Melodyne’s ability to selectively edit any portion of a waveform that is recorded into it.  This means that a musician can record an idea on a piano, or any other instrument, and then select the whole part in Melodyne and drag it up or down to hear it in a different key.  Or, if they like the key but don’t like certain notes, they can select just the notes they don’t like and transpose them to different notes, or cut them out individually.  A girl can be made to sound like a boy, and vis versa, using the formant tool.  Vocal notes can be stretched and compressed using the timing tool.   A drum set can be adjusted to fit in the key of a song.  The creative uses for Melodyne are endless.  However, the destructive properties of Melodyne are equally powerful.  A misguided engineer or producer can easily butcher a fine performance if they misuse the software.   This does not mean it should not be used though.   The benefits of using Melodyne effectively are extraordinary.  Melodyne is being used in electronic music to do amazing things.  The “T-Pain” effect has been popular since the days of auto-tune, and now pop and electronic artists are using (or over using) the “whoozsh” vocal drop effect, which can be done in Melodyne.  As I mentioned earlier, arrangement and pre-production can be done with Melodyne to quickly audition variations of parts and compose demos for songs.  The use of samples is extremely popular in electronic music and Melodyne provides the tools to adjust samples to be in whatever key and tempo is necessary.  The creative uses of Melodyne are so extensive that, through using it innovatively, entirely new forms of electronic music can be made.   After hearing about Melodyne I immediately made it my next goal to purchase and now I love using it.  I do worry about its use at times because it can be dangerous.  When something sounds “Melodyned” it is usually a bad thing.  However, that sound can be used  creatively, and it is not too hard to learn how to avoid adding unwanted artifacts, so I think it is definitely a positive development for the industry. 


One thought on “Melodyne and Electronic Music”

  1. Hey Cooper,

    I really enjoyed your post about Melodyne. I’ve actually had the program for a while before we started studying it and have used it a lot! It is my go to pitch correction tool because I find it to be way better than auto tune due to the greater control the engineer has like you mentioned. However, there were a couple of things in your post that I had never previously thought about such as recording an instrument and transposing it. I only ever used it with vocals so you just opened a whole new world to me my friend. You also said that you can make a boy sound like a girl or vice versa. I wonder whether it is possible to make a boy sound like an old man or the other way around because someone had asked me that before and I told them that it was not. But now it seems that it may be possible with Melodyne. So thank you so much for your insight and I am surely going to make use of this.

    Cecil Wangemann

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