Untitled - Peter Bussigel
ELECTRONIC VOICES
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BON IVER
(JUSTIN VERNON)
WOODS, FROM THE BLOOD BANK EP (2009)
Sampled By Kayne on “Lost in the World” (2010)
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KAYNE WEST
ALBUM: MY BEAUTIFUL DARK TWISTED
FANTASY (2010)
SONG: LOST IN THE WORLD
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Voice + Technology
Recording voices
Microphone as Instrument
Vocal processing effects (talk box, vocoder, auto-tune)
technical processes feed back into vocal styles
Microphones
Transducers!
dynamic
Two most common types of microphones:
Dynamic
Condenser
condenser
Dynamic Microphones
versatile and ideal for general-purpose use
relatively sturdy and resilient
better suited to handling high volume levels
Condenser Microphones
require power from a battery or external power source
tend to be more sensitive and responsive than dynamic mics, but less suited for high volumes
Microphone Polar Patterns
Directional Sensitivity
indicates how sensitive it is to sounds arriving at different angles about its central axis
Considerations for Microphone Placement
inverse-square law: distance vs. intensity
High frequencies are more directional than low frequencies.
Room sound: close mic for less hall sound (reverberation)
Proximity Effect: (Bass boost) on directional mics.
Bass Rolloff: reduces low frequency sensitivity
Phase Cancellation: frequencies 180 degrees out of phase will cancel - Constructive-Destructive Interference
Neumann U87
High-end condensor microhone with switchable polar patterns
(cardiod, figure-8, onmi).
The omnidirectional microphone has a very “flat” (accurate)
frequency response.
Proximity Effect
Most pronounced when using directional mics
closer to the mic, more bass frequencies are
transmitted
Shure SM58
microphone as an instrument
Crooning
Crooning: a style from 1920s to 1950s
intimate
Associated with Rudy Vallee, Bing Crosby,
Mildred Bailey, Perry Como, Annette Hanshaw, &
Frank Sinatra
Listen: Bing Crosby, To Learn to Croon (1933)
Bing Crosby
Crooning
Crooning: a style from 1920s to 1950s
intimate
Associated with Rudy Vallee, Bing Crosby,
Mildred Bailey, Perry Como, Annette Hanshaw, &
Frank Sinatra
Listen: Mildred Bailey, Lover (1937)
Mildred Bailey
Trevor Wishart
Professor at the University of Oxford
composer whose interests deal mainly with the human voice, in
particular with the transformation of it and the interpolation by
technological means between human voice and natural sounds.
Excerpt from Tongues of Fire (1994)
Transposition (pitch shift)
Truncation (cutting)
Overlap (mixing)
Inversion
Speed Change
Mike Patton
Listen: Six Litanies for Heliogabalus (2007)
Composed by John Zorn
Lead vocalist for Mr. Bungle and Faith No More
Patton's vocals touch on crooning, falsetto, screaming, opera,
death growls, rapping, mouth music, beatboxing, and scatting,
among other techniques. - Wikipedia
Joan La Barbara
Vocalist and composer
Has worked with John Cage, Robert Ashley, Morton Feldman, Philip
Glass, Larry Austin, Peter Gordon, and Merce Cunningham.
Listen/Watch: Joan La Barbara Performing Christian Marclay's
Manga Scroll
How the Voice Works
To produce a sound, air is pushed up through the vocal cords
from the lungs
Power (diaphram/lungs) + Sound Source (pitch from tension in
the larynx) + Filter (nasal cavity, tongue position, mouth
opening).
The human vocal tract, like a musical instrument, has it’s own
natural resonant frequencies, called formants.
The difference between humans and most instruments is that
humans can flexibly change the shape of their mouth, which
changes the formant. These different formants allow humans to
create distinguishable vowels, even if the pitch of the vowel
itself is not changing.
How the Voice Works
Tuvan Throat Singing
Listen: Kargyraa (style of throat singing)
Melodies and high frequency tones are
produced by isolating partials above the
fundamental by changing the resonant shape of
the mouth
TALK BOX
An effects pedal that allows a
musician to shape the sound of their
instrument much like the vibrations of
our vocal cords are shaped by our
mouths.
When activated, the sound from the
amplifier is directed through the tube
into the performer's mouth. The
shape of the mouth filters the input
signal (synthesizer, guitar, etc) using
the vocal cavity, effectively making it
sound like the guitar is talking.
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VOCODERS
“voice” + “encoder”
Developed in 1928 at Bell Labs as a way to encrypt voice
communication. combining the formant qualities of the input (typically
speech) with the sonic qualities of the output (usually a
synthesizer). The result is “robotic” sounding speech,
with the filtering characteristics of the voice, and the
timbre of a synthesizer.
Sound is passed through a multi-band filter, with each
band then going to an envelope follower, which controls
then filters a different sound. The result takes the spectral
envelope of one sound, and maps it onto another.
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LAURIE ANDERSON
Known primarily for her multimedia
presentations she has cast herself in
roles as varied as visual artist,
composer, poet, photographer,
filmmaker, instrument builder,
vocalist, and instrumentalist.
O Superman launched Anderson’s
recording career in 1980, rising to
number two on the British pop charts
and subsequently appearing on Big
Science, the first of her seven albums
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LAURIE ANDERSON
The tape-bow violin is an
instrument she created in
1977. It uses recorded
magnetic tape in place of
the traditional horsehair in
the bow, and a magnetic
tape head in the bridge.
She also developed the
“Talking Stick”--a granular
synthesis controller--in the
90s
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IMOGEN HEAP
English singer-songwriter and composer.
known both for her work as part of the
musical duo Frou Frou and her solo albums,
which she writes, produces, and mixes.
Listen: Hide and Seek (2005)
The song is performed with the sole
accompaniment being a keyboard synth
transformed by a vocoder
influenced by Paul Lansky
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AUTO-TUNE
audio effect that measures and alters pitch in vocal and
instrumental input through use of a phase vocoder.
scale both the frequency and time domains of audio
signals by using phase information. The computer
algorithm allows for time expansion/compression and
pitch shifting
Uses a Fast Fourier Transform to quickly analyze and
resynthesize the frequency domain of the voice
“Photoshop for the human voice”
Authenticity Controversies
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ANTARES AUDIO TECHNOLOGIES
It was originally intended to disguise or correct off-key
inaccuracies, allowing vocal tracks to be perfectly
tuned despite originally being slightly off-key.
based on technology initially created by Andy
Hildebrand, an engineer working for Exxon as a method
for interpreting seismic data
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CHER
LISTEN: BELIEVE (1998)
Constantly reinventing herself
“if you set Auto-Tune on its most aggressive
setting, so that it corrects the pitch at the exact
moment it received the signal, the result is an
unsettlingly robotic tone.”
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PAUL LANSKY
digital voices and formant synthesis, linear predictive coding
excerpt from “Idle Chatter Junior” (1985)
Radiohead sampled his "Mild und Leise" (1973) in their song
“Idioteque” on Kid A (2000)
teaches at Princeton
Cutting/Editing Voice
Listen: William Burroughs - Silver Smoke of Dreams (1960s)
HOLLY HERNDON
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