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By David Franz | Monday, May 21, 2012

How to use the Pitch tool in Melodyne to tune a vocal

Artists use Melodyne for corrective or creative pitch adjustments in nearly every genre of music. When using Melodyne for pitch correction, you may not hear the effect. However, when using Melodyne creatively, the idea is to hear the effect. Regardless of the application, the Pitch tool and its related subtools are often the tools of choice to create pitch alterations in Melodyne.

The main Pitch tool moves notes up or down. You can do this in three ways:

  1. by semi-tone (click and drag the note)
  2. by cents, or 1/100th of a semi-tone, for finer tuning (press the Option or Alt key and then click and drag), or
  3. by double-clicking on the note to snap it to the exact pitch center

The overarching idea is to move the note either up or down in pitch, depending if the note was originally flat or sharp.

The Pitch Modulation tool is used to flatten or exaggerate the curve of a note’s pitch. Flattening out a note’s curve reduces vibrato, scoops, or pitch bends, or, in contrast, increasing the modulation exaggerates those effects. You can also use the Pitch Modulation tool to create an Auto-Tune effect where all pitches are strictly conformed to the pitch centers, resulting in a tuned robot-like sound.

Screenshot of Melodyne being used to flatten and exaggerate a note.

Two screenshots of Melodyne being used to exaggerate and flatten a note.

The Pitch Drift tool enables you to edit the drift of a pitch from the start to the end of a note without altering the modulation. For instance, if a note starts a little sharp and ends a little flat, the Pitch Drift tool will fix the pitch but keep the natural vibrato in tact, thus effectively tilting the pitch curve of a note to flatten out or exaggerate the curve of a pitch.

The Pitch Transition tool is used to edit the transition between two notes. You can exaggerate the transition, creating a long slide between two notes, or you can minimize the transition, making the transition between two pitches very short and more robotic sounding.

After applying all of these pitch adjustments to a number of notes on a track, what if you want to go back to the original performance on one or more notes? Instead of using the undo command, try selecting the notes you want to return to their original states, then going to the Edit pulldown menu and selecting Edit > Edit Pitch > Reset All Pitch Related Changes to Original. This command resets the pitch of a note back to its original performance state, regardless of when the edit on that note was performed in the undo queue. I find this to be a very handy feature.

In Melodyne Essential Training, Emmy-nominated author Skye Lewin shows us how to use all of the Pitch tools. In this video from chapter three of the course, Sky introduces the Pitch tool and its subtools:

Interested in more? • All audio courses on lynda.com • All courses by Skye Lewin on lynda.com

Suggested courses to watch next:Pro Tools Projects: Pitch Correction with Auto-Tune Evo • Audio Mixing Bootcamp • Foundations of Audio: Compressors and Dynamic Processors

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