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Correcting lead vocal pitch


Melodyne Advanced Techniques

with Skye Lewin

Video: Correcting lead vocal pitch

We have been correcting the pitch as we go along in all of these examples, but now let's take a look at some fine-tuning that we can do with Melodyne. So now we are pretty much where we left off, I am just looking at the lead 1a track, and I have got the entire track visible so I can see all of the notes and note blobs on that track, and this is in our Edit window. So picking up where we left off, let's have a listen to our chorus since we haven't touched that yet. We are just listening to the two vocal tracks that we are showing right now as we have our Edit window set to Play visible.
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  1. 2m 44s
    1. Welcome
      1m 23s
    2. Using the exercise files
    3. What you should know before watching this course
  2. 26m 6s
    1. Setting Melodyne preferences and keyboard shortcuts
      4m 28s
    2. Utilizing Melodyne with your digital audio workstation (DAW) through Melodyne Bridge
      6m 42s
    3. Utilizing Melodyne with your DAW through ReWire
      6m 9s
    4. Using Melodyne in a standalone workflow
      8m 47s
  3. 1h 3m
    1. Editing the lead vocal
      2m 5s
    2. Exploring the live editing approach
      9m 49s
    3. Using the "separate first" approach
      9m 31s
    4. Correcting pitch automatically
      10m 48s
    5. Correcting lead vocal pitch
      13m 16s
    6. Correcting lead vocal rhythm
      9m 34s
    7. Finishing up the lead vocals
      8m 55s
  4. 1h 11m
    1. Correcting background vocal pitch
      9m 56s
    2. Correcting background vocal rhythm
      11m 1s
    3. Correcting harmony vocal pitch
      18m 2s
    4. Correcting harmony vocal rhythm
      13m 6s
    5. Creating new background parts
      3m 50s
    6. Creating effects using the Pitch Modulation tool
      13m 44s
    7. Creating effects using the Formant tool
      1m 24s
  5. 6m 31s
    1. Exporting your edits from Melodyne
      3m 17s
    2. Importing your edits into the DAW
      3m 14s
  6. 26m 31s
    1. Revising your edit
      5m 47s
    2. Making further edits using the Melodyne plug-in
      3m 17s
    3. Using Direct Note Access (DNA)
      5m 55s
    4. Changing the tempo of your audio
      1m 35s
    5. Using Melodyne with instruments
      2m 1s
    6. Using MIDI to edit or perform a recording
      5m 47s
    7. Using Melodyne to trigger an instrument
      2m 9s
  7. 36s
    1. Goodbye

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Watch the Online Video Course Melodyne Advanced Techniques
3h 17m Intermediate Sep 14, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In this course, producer and engineer Skye Lewin reveals the techniques that professional musicians and producers use to get the best-sounding results from Melodyne. The course covers digital audio workstation (DAW) and session preparation, and shows how to perform rhythm and pitch corrections on both lead and background vocals. It includes lessons on importing and exporting tracks between the DAW and the standalone version of Melodyne, as well as utilizing Melodyne as a plug-in, through ReWire, and through Melodyne Bridge. Skye also shows how to use a MIDI keyboard to edit the pitch of a recorded performance in Melodyne and how to trigger a MIDI instrument using an audio recording.

Topics include:
  • Preparing for a standalone Melodyne workflow
  • Setting up a session
  • Using a live editing approach for vocal correction
  • Batch correcting vocals
  • Correcting the pitch and rhythm of vocals
  • Creating new background parts
  • Adding special effects
  • Revising an edit in Melodyne Studio
  • Changing the tempo of your audio
Audio + Music
Skye Lewin

Correcting lead vocal pitch

We have been correcting the pitch as we go along in all of these examples, but now let's take a look at some fine-tuning that we can do with Melodyne. So now we are pretty much where we left off, I am just looking at the lead 1a track, and I have got the entire track visible so I can see all of the notes and note blobs on that track, and this is in our Edit window. So picking up where we left off, let's have a listen to our chorus since we haven't touched that yet. We are just listening to the two vocal tracks that we are showing right now as we have our Edit window set to Play visible.

(music playing) All right, so we can see that that second half is a repeat of the first half. So one of the things we can do here is use our copying and pasting so that once we have corrected a section we can paste it where it repeats and not have to do the editing twice. So let's first make any corrections we want to make to the first half of this double chorus. And it sounds like there were a couple of notes here that we might need to tweak. You hear a little bit of pitch discrepancy between those two different takes there.

We can just slide one of them up. (music playing) And take a look at the other one as well. Sometimes you can select the other track by clicking a different note that may be poking out. And you can see its pitch bend that way. So here you can see that on Lead 1b the pitch starts a little sharper and ends a little bit more near the center than it does on 1a. So one way we can make the desired change is by editing one, or the other, vocal so that they both have a similar curve. In this case, one technique we can use is to separate the note and manually drag the first half down.

And what we're doing is essentially creating a fake pitch curve by doing this, essentially altering the melody. So let's hear if that works. (music playing) Yeah, that makes the beginning of both notes sound like they are starting on a similar pitch so there is not so much discrepancy between the two notes. Now in this chorus, I actually kind of want to keep some of that attitude that the song is talking about. So I don't want everything to be so perfectly corrected, I really just wanted to outline the shape but leave some of that pitch bend and some of that attitude in there.

I am not going to overcorrect most of the chorus, but the other part that I will want to correct here are these bottom notes and both of these need to be brought up a little bit. So let's look at that on both tracks, we can just select the notes, double-click and correct if they don't all snap. And here we can see that this note kind of slides up in pitch, which maybe is good. If we don't want it to we can use our Pitch Drift tool to correct that or to flatten it out, and let's have a listen to the change. (music playing) Yeah, it's a little closer to what we are looking for.

And do the same thing on the second half of the first part of the chorus. And let's switch over to 1b and grab the other one in the same take and listen to that section. (music playing) Yeah, something slightly different on this note of tude, I'll go back over here, looks like it's that same slide so maybe I will flatten that drift out a little bit more. And you can see as I did that the center has now changed. So I am going to need to drag the center of the note down. (music playing) So that it kind of line up a little bit more in the pitch.

(music playing) You don't have to be perfect because I want to keep some of that attitude in there. (music playing) And now that we have gotten that first half of the chorus ready we can simply copy and paste it to the second half of the chorus. So using copy and paste we can save ourselves some time rather than having to edit this again. Now if the performance were different on the first and second halves of the chorus we wouldn't want to use this because then we would be overriding that different performance. But in a case like this where it is a pop song, and we are actually flying one section to another this is a totally acceptable technique, and it saves us a lot of time.

So we are just going to select and use whatever key command we have assigned for copy. And we're going to select the section that we want to replace and use whatever key command we have for paste. And all of our changes are copied and pasted to the second half, and we don't have to make those edits again. Now let's go over to Lead vocal 1b and do the same thing. So again we are going to copy and select and paste and at that time you can see it didn't actually paste it where I wanted it, I am going to redo it so we can see how the timing shifted looks like I must have had a slightly different selection. And it might be because I didn't select the first half of that note that I had separated, I am going to go back and reselect it making sure that I select the entire note and reselect and repaste.

And now I can see that my timing is where it should. And we can listen to the second half just to make sure everything sounds right. (music playing) Yeah, so we have got those same changes. Now another thing we could do with copy and paste in a song like this we might want to make the repeats of girl and got literal repeats of one of the performances. So if we wanted to do that we could simply copy here and paste here, and we have got a stuttering sort of effect.

Now you could also do this in your DAW before bringing it into Melodyne, or you could do it after tuning it or correcting it in Melodyne, the choice is yours. In this case, I'm not going to do that because I want to leave that natural kind of raw atitudey sound in this section of the song. So I'll undo those. But the option is there. Let's go back to the Arrange window, and now let's unmute Lead 1c, and let's open Lead 1c in our Editor. So now Lead 1c is going to play in addition to Lead 1a and 1b because all three are visible, and we have it set to Play visible.

Let's select the beginning of that section, and I want to find a vibrato so that we can talk about changing vibratos to make them more like what we're looking for. So most of the vibratos that we have in this song are already where we want them, but perhaps a few of them are not. What we did before in this section of the chorus was to use our Pitch Drift tool and flatten out the curve to make the pitch a little bit more centered. And then we had to adjust where the pitch center landed because of that change. But instead of doing that let's take a different approach. Let's actually look at shaping our vibrato manually, one way to do that is to use out Separation tool and literally manually make a separation where each part of the vibrato occurs.

Now you can also select the entire region and under the Edit menu we are going to go to Edit Note Separations and choose Separate Note as Trill, and you can see that Melodyne will automatically make that same separation for you. Now if you find that you use this very frequently you may also want to assign a shortcut for this. Now once we have separated these notes we can control that vibrato and really make it exactly what we want by just moving the pitch of each note. Now also we can change the timing of each note if perhaps two parts of a vibrato are too close together or too far apart.

But in this example, they are pretty much good timing-wise, we just want to change the pitch so that the center stays where we want it. So what we are going to do is take the endnote, drop it down a little bit, and just gradually adjust the vibrato so that it starts and ends in a slightly growing distance from the center of the pitch. And we also need to adjust where the center of the pitch overall occurs. I am going to slide the entire thing up just a hair, and then we can have a listen, let's just play the selected one only just so we can hear this by itself.

(music playing) Yeah, so that gets us the result, and if you want to hear it before we can just undo a few times, and now we can hear the pitch drift that was naturally in the performance. (music playing) It's not that one is better or worse, it's just maybe ones what we are looking for and the other isn't. So we just make those changes, and we get a new result. Now just like we can alter a vibrato that already exists we can also manufacture a vibrato where one doesn't naturally occur. So let's see if we can find a good spot to attempt to do this.

Looks like there might be vibratos on a lot of these sections, so maybe the end of one of the chorus sections will be good, and again I am just going to play selected so we are only hearing this one track. (music playing) And granted this is not really how we would actually do this in the song, but if I did want that yeah instead of being a rising yeah, where the pitch goes up. If I wanted that instead to be some sort of a vibrato, I can actually manufacture one by again separating the note into several sections and moving those sections to kind of create the effect that I'm looking for. So we can try starting with a little bit less noticeable drift, and gradually making it broader.

Let's hear what that sounds like. (music playing) So that's not a great sounding vibrato, but you can see how you could use this to actually make one so perhaps you have a long note at the end of a phrase, and you want it to slowly grow into vibrato where there was not one in the performance. You can actually use this technique to build a little bit of a vibrato into the performance. Now I am actually going to undo this because we don't want to keep this in the song, I am just going to hit Undo a couple of times, or we can actually reset every thing to the original using those key commands. Now let's look at one other thing we can do with Melodyne.

Now let's say we wanted to completely change the melody of some part of the song. One of the great things about Melodyne is you are not tied to what you recorded. So if we wanted to change one of the lines in our verse and make something completely new we can do that. Now let's go back to one of the lines we have already edited, Lead 1a for example. And let's look at just making a new melody out of it. (music playing) So we can just simply move notes to make something new. (music playing) That's not maybe the best little change, but a few little tweaks, and we have got a different melody.

(music playing) Eh, maybe not that one, let's try this. (music playing) So you know, a couple of little tweaks makes a new melody, we can also go a lot more drastic with it if we wanted to change more of it. (music playing) And you can also start to hear a little bit of artifact introduced. So this brings us to yet another thing we can do with Melodyne. And that is to use our Formant tool, and using the Formant tool we can actually correct the formant--or the sound that actually forms the pitch we are hearing. In other words, the shape of the throat, in the case of a vocal, or the shape of a guitar body in the case of a guitar, to actually change the sound and the resonance of a sound within the shape that forms it.

So when we change a pitch by a large amount like we did here you can hear that it starts to sound a little bit degraded. (music playing) This particular note has a dirty sound to it, so we can use the formant to kind of help offset that to make it sound a little more natural, we may want to go up or down depending on the change we have made, in this case we might want to bring it a little bit down. So make it sound like the throat is actually a little bit bigger since the throat would be more open to sing a lower note. (music playing) And you just find the right balance, obviously, it's really what feels good to your ear, but finding the right balance will make it feel a lot more natural and get rid of those artifacts.

(music playing) And just kind of adjust it essentially. (music playing) Now you can also the Formant tool for effect. If we really wanted to make a drastic sonic change we could drag the Formant either way up or way down, and you will hear some very familiar effects that you have heard in many records. So going up gives us a bit of a chipmunk sound or a really, really small source of the sound. (music playing) We probably won't do that in the song, but you can hear the effect and going down likewise will open it up in the opposite direction.

(music playing) Now sometimes changing the pitch and the formant together can give you an even more exaggerated effect. So perhaps we would drop this entire section by a full octave, maybe it won't be the cleanest sounding thing, but it will certainly give us that effect. (music playing) Now we can always exaggerate it even further if we want. (music playing) And you can also experiment with changing the formant in the opposite direction of the pitch change. Now all the stuff gives you some cool stuff you can use as effects.

I am going to put that all back to where it was initially since we don't want to actually make those changes. And I am going to undo all these changes to the melody that we made since we are not actually going to keep them and get us all back to where we started right there, have a listen to it just make sure it's right. (music playing) Cool. And one last thing we can do is using the Volume tool we can actually change the volume of a note. We kind of looked at this little bit earlier when I was talking about low notes. But if you have, for example, several different takes that you count together and they sound slightly different and maybe the vocalist was further away from the mike in one or closer in another, you can use this tool in Melodyne to help smooth out the difference between the takes.

And you can also do this in your DAW with different techniques, but it's nice to be able to do it in Melodyne if you didn't catch it before you already brought that vocal into Melodyne. So here's an example of how that might sound. Let's pretend that this section was recorded and the vocalist a little farther away from the mike. We are going to just listen, and you are going to be able to hear the difference the level of the two. (music playing) On the words, to amend her, it sounds like it's just a lot farther back. So if that were the case, and that was actually part of our comp we can literally compensate by dragging this up and making it louder for those selected words.

(music playing) To make it sound like it should. I am going to just undo that and put it back to where it was naturally. And now that we have gotten through this pass on our vocal, let's go back and double check our changes and catch any rhythmic issues.

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