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The mathematical genius of Auto-Tune • Priceonomics
Zachary Crockett on the inventor of this much-used product, who first retired - after making his fortune in oil discovery - in 1989:
<p>Others who’d made an attempt at creating software had used a technique called feature extraction, where they’d identify a few key “variables” in the sound waves, then correlate them with the pitch. But this method was overly-simplistic, and didn’t consider the finer minutia of the human voice. For instance, it didn’t recognize dipthongs (when the human voice transitions from one vowel to another in a continuous glide), and, as a result, created false artifacts in the sound.

Hildebrand had a different idea. 

As an oil engineer, when dealing with massive datasets, he’d employed autocorrelation (an attribute of signal processing) to examine not just key variables, but all of the data, to get much more reliable estimates. He realized that it could also be applied to music:

“When you’re processing pitch, you add wave cycles to go sharp, and subtract them when you go flat. With autocorrelation, you have a clearly identifiable event that tells you what the period of repetition for repeated peak values is. It’s never fooled by the changing waveform. It’s very elegant.”

While elegant, Hildebrand’s solution required an incredibly complex, almost savant application of signal processing and statistics. When we asked him to provide a simple explanation of what happens, computationally, when a voice signal enters his software, he opened his desk and pulled out thick stacks of folders, each stuffed with hundreds of pages of mathematical equations.

“In my mind it’s not very complex,” he says, sheepishly, “but I haven’t yet found anyone I can explain it to who understands it. I usually just say, ‘It’s magic.’”</p>


A great long read.
music  algorithm  autotune 
yesterday by charlesarthur
Tablature 101
Best in-depth explanation of guitar tablature I have ever seen. From the Joni Mitchell site, of all things.
guitar  tab  tablature  music  jonimitchell  cb 
yesterday by beery
Joni Mitchell: Fear of a Female Genius - The Ringer
One of the greatest living artists in popular music still isn’t properly recognized. Joni transcends gender, genre, and time. Here’s why
theringer  jonimitchell  music  musician  folkmusic  laurelcanyon  losangeles 
yesterday by brendanmcfadden
NYLON · Everything Is Embarrassing: On Loving The National
This - nominally, on The National - is great on the band... but it's also great on what it means to love music, and to love music about feelings, and the ways we choose to throw ourselves into the things we love.
music  sentimentality  saddads  thenational  feelings 
yesterday by infovore
The Gay Architects of Classic Rock
Who created that gorgeous 20th-century creature, the rock star? Consider the gay image makers of the day, from Brian Epstein to Jann Wenner.
history  culture  music  business 
yesterday by jacobraleigh

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