Celemony will soon release Direct Note Access to their Melodyne Plug-in. This will be big. You could break down an instrument into separate parts, such as a guitar comp, and edit each one differently. Or make new chords. Fix sloppy playing. Add sloppyness to tight playing. Fix a badly tuned guitar. Fix one note wrongly played on a recorded electric piano chord…
The video here explains it inside out. Also, check out the interview with the Melodyne developer/mastermind Peter Neubäcker as he talks more about the ideas with DNA. For example, you could then extract MIDI information from the audio material.
This is like the holy grail, you could move between the recorded analog signal and a pure MID-based data world, back and forth. Not to speak of all the functions you could do with Melodyne in general to generate singing backtracks with any kinds of harmonies, create brand new solos from a single take of let’s say a saxophone melody line and so forth.
Yes, it’s on my radar screen to get the Melodyne plug-in now. Yes, I know, real musicians to takes until it sounds good. But time is money, it’s kind of fun to do such sessions the first week, then it gets boring. As for singing fixes, if famous singers do it nowadays what could you do? The problem with recorded material is that it is a time stamp, it will live forever compared with a live situation. It’s a matter of singing the same lines over and over until it sounds good, but again it takes time and effort.
Just to be clear: I don’t support the idea that musicians, singers and producers totally rely on such tools of many reasons. To start with you could never do any live playing (unless you are prepared to do playback from tape/DAT/computer file.) Secondly, there’s something good about sloppy and unpredictable playing from time to time, gives the recording character. But as with all other kinds of spices in the studio, it is just another one to be used.