Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
redEL34

Why was "pitch control" so important they had it on almost every 4 track cassette recorder

Recommended Posts

 

Can you not hear it in the altered timbre of the instruments and voice?:idk: Think "Chipmunks", but not quite so over-the-top.

 

Listen to McCartney's voice on some of the mid-period Beatles stuff... often it's very obvious when it's been sped up. Examples? Listen to Penny Lane, or Here, There And Everywhere. And that's what they wanted - they wanted to make things sound like something else, and to change their character and timbre. They were always trying to do that; telling the engineers to "make the piano sound like something else - not like a piano." They used varispeed a LOT.

 

And varispeed DOES change the basic tone and character of sounds. And in a non-DAW environment, it can also have an effect on timing and feel too - try playing to a slowed-down track sometime vs at the tempo you're used to and see what it does to your perception of the groove.

 

Speeding up isn't the only way to change tonal character. In fact, slowing down things like drums can make them sound monstrous. And of course, in the days before Auto-Tune, if the singer couldn't quite get to that one high note, you could always slow down the tape to make it a little easier for them, and punch in that one word. And let me tell you, if you've tracked the whole song using a slightly sharp or flat-tuned piano as the pitch reference for the whole band and then later want to do a harp overdub, you'll be happy you can tune the track to the harp instead of having to do it the other way around...

 

I wish more DAWs had varispeed controls built-in. I still think it's a very useful tool. It's one of the reasons I got a Sync for my PT HD system - I don't need to lock to timecode all that often, and it lets me do that when I need to, but just as importantly, it gives me varispeed control over Pro Tools.

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
One of my bandmates, who seems to have a natural instinct for singing harmony, says he associates colour with pitch.

 

I never have. I associate pitch with... pitch. But I can recall and identify pitches at will, which is pretty uncommon, and not something I "learned" - it's something I've been able to do for as far back as I can remember. But I know other people who have perfect pitch who do associate pitches with colors. Remember those old perfect pitch ads that used to run on the back cover of Keyboard magazine? That guy was always pushing the "color" aspect. I could never really relate to that - mine works differently; kind of like a tape deck with a large library and excellent recall that's ready at a moment's notice...

 

Probably the most extreme example I know of when it comes to colors and pitch is Bruce Swedien. Bruce doesn't just mentally associate pitches with color - he has synesthesia - he actually perceives pitch in a visual manner, and sees associated colors when he listens to things. While we can both tell you the name of the note you're playing, we get there via different mental processes.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

My non-musician wife has perfect pitch and what I call a "musical memory."

 

If I want to hear Middle C I don't ask her to sing the note by name but to sing the first note of "Hey Jude."

 

 

That's basically how it worked for me before I knew anything about music. You're not born with the ability to identify an F when someone plays it on a piano - you have to learn the names of the notes first - but the ability to identify and recall pitches is something you (or at least me, and it sounds like your wife too) have had since childhood.

 

Even before I knew what the notes were called, I knew when someone was "singing the song wrong" - by which I meant in the wrong key. Even though I had no idea what keys were back then, I knew when someone wasn't singing a hit song in the original key, and would correct them by singing it in the right key - and they'd often look at me like I was crazy, because they weren't focusing on the different pitches and keys, but the words... so as long as they had the words and the basic melody correct, they would often think they had everything "right", while I was hearing the difference in pitch, but as a non-musician child at the time, I didn't know how to explain that.

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Listen to McCartney's voice on some of the mid-period Beatles stuff... often it's very obvious when it's been sped up. Examples? Listen to Penny Lane, or Here, There And Everywhere. And that's what they wanted - they wanted to make things sound like something else, and to change their character and timbre. They were always trying to do that; telling the engineers to "make the piano sound like something else - not like a piano." They used varispeed a LOT...

 

 

I find it interesting that in a lot of pop music acoustic pianos were "treated" but with digital pianos we try to get them to sound as natural as possible. Every time I switch on the delay on a digital piano I want to play the intro to "Sexy Sadie."

 

I also think it's interesting how the Moog synthesizer made an appearance on The Beatles' last album (Abbey Road) as if they were ushering in a new era on their way out.

 

A lot of early synth stuff sounds dated to me but, like everything else they did, the songs/sounds/context/music still stand up today.

 

 

Edited by onelife
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

I find it interesting that in a lot of pop music acoustic pianos were "treated" but with digital pianos we try to get them to sound as natural as possible.

 

Well, except for the several dozen variations on piano sounds included with every workstation synth. Including having "Sexy Sadie" delay. :)

I also think it's interesting how the Moog synthesizer made an appearance on The Beatles' last album (Abbey Road) as if they were ushering in a new era on their way out.

 

 

 

I always thought that album pointed the way towards the 70s in a lot of ways. The synth parts among them. One of the first '70s' albums is the last album by a major 60s group.

 

I feel the same way about "Bridge Over Troubled Water".

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...