Editing versus Real Life Playing In Recordings

melodyne_bass.pngThis is one of those music-philosophical postings. A work flow that I use a lot just now is to record bass or guitar tracks in one take, from beginning to end. After that I open it up with Melodyne and tighten up the recording. Then save the track via Logic into the bin and load it back in to another track. This bass or guitar recording is very pure, not effects and so forth. I could then use that material with effects, PodFarm et rest. I could even chop it into small parts — I usually play a 20 or 24 bar section — and model the song based on the various chopped parts.

I must say, Melodyne Plug-in works really well. I set the grid view to 1/32 notes and nudge the entries along to the right positions. So far I’m happy with my playing, there’s some nudging needed but the less the better.

So why the philosophical spin? Well, what’s the difference between re-recording the bass line over and over, maybe with multiple takes and then put together the final version. This versus playing once and fixing the timing issues? I think it does not really matter. The problem is that a recording, not a live one, is a frozen moment in time. Most studios spend a lot of time fixing timing issues. Long time ago it was recording the same take multiple times and then a poor engineer had to splice together multiple tapes with razor blades and tape for the final product.

Ten years later it was a copy and paste operation in combination with nudging values inside a digital editing window. And now it is Melodyne and similar operations. Even recordings such as Michael Jackson’s Thriller went through thousands of re-edits, even with the calibre of musicians used for those recordings.

So I think this is just fine. It opens up so many avenues, especially with creativity. You record something down, fix it and then use it in various scenarios.

The other story is that you then later need to learn how to play it inside out for live purposes…

2 Comments:

  1. certainly so – you edit re-edit, copy, paste like million times until you get it right

    BUT if you’re a live musician just forget it. Think this is where you ditch the dumbass process of editing and polishing and really start making music. As you say below:

    “The other story is that you then later need to learn how to play it inside out for live purposes…”

  2. Yes. But it’s also a philosophical question as musicians play the same thing over and over to make it polished. Maybe that counts as practice for the shows?

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