Correcting Pitch Problems in Home Recordings - dummies

By Jeff Strong

It used to be that if you sang or played an out-of-tune note, you had to record it over again. If your singing is mediocre, you could spend hours trying to get every note just right. And after all these hours of fixing out-of-tune notes, you’re often left with a performance that lacks “feel” (emotional impact).

Well, those days are behind you. You can now edit your sour notes using a pitch-correction program. You can find pitch correction on nearly all digital recording systems that include effects processors (computer-based and SIAB systems in particular).

To correct pitch, choose the note or notes that you want to correct and then choose the pitch-correction option on your editing menu. In the dialog box that appears, choose the amount of change that you want. You may need to experiment a little to find just the right pitch.

Some devices, such as Antares Autotune, make the correction for you automatically. (Antares Autotune is available as both a stand-alone processor and as a plug-in for a computer-based system. You can find these components at most major musical instrument retailers.)

And some pitch-correction programs, such as the one in Logic Audio, allow you to adjust not only the change in fundamental pitch but also the pitch change of that note’s harmonics. This can produce a much more natural sound.

Unless you’re going for a particular effect, be judicious in your use of pitch correction because it can suck the life out of a performance. Sometimes the slightly out-of-tune notes are what give a performance its character.

Pitch correction is often part of the system’s editing functions, but it can be used as an effect as well.