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Trey Parker

Trey Parker had to Deliberately Sing Off-Key to Get Auto-Tune to Work.

Trey Parker, born Randolph Severn Parker III, is a multifaceted entertainer who works as an actor, screenwriter, voice artist, and producer. Fans know him best as the co-creator of the adult animated series South Park, which he created with his best friend and business partner, Matt Stone. But did you know how he got auto-tune to work?

Trey Parker had to sing off-key to get auto-tune to work, claiming that “if you use it and sing into it correctly, it doesn’t do anything to your voice.”

Trey Parker and Auto-Tune

Parker revealed in the Gay Fish song “Fishsticks” commentary that he couldn’t get auto-tune to work with his voice. They were convinced that there was a technical issue or that the sound guys were tampering with him. After several takes of trying to get auto-tune to work and ruling out all other possibilities, they realized Parker was singing in tune, preventing the device from working.

You had to be a bad singer in order for that thing to actually sound the way it does.

Trey Parker, Entertainer

His solution to the problem was straightforward, and it worked. He had to sing as badly as he could for auto-tune to work, and it did. Trey Parker was singing as badly as he could, resulting in the Gay Fish song sounding like a modern pop song. This demonstrates that Parker is a better singer than most of today’s popular and successful artists. (Source: BBC

The Auto-Tune Name

Because of its widespread use, Auto-Tune has been verified, usually becoming autotune with a lowercase ‘a’ and no hyphen; its name is now synonymous with what it does as Hoover or Google. Despite its popularity as a generic doing word, there are numerous competitors on the market, including Wave Tune and VariAudio, with Melodyne being the most well-known. Autotune vs. Melodyne is an ongoing battle that has gained traction, similar to Blur vs. Oasis, but with music tech types, and who wins depends on who you ask. (Source: BBC

The Impact of Auto-Tune on New Artists

Cher’s Believe became the biggest hit of her career when it was released 20 years ago and let a genie out of the bottle. Pitch correction had been around since the early 1990s, but what some saw as a gimmicky effect applied to Cher’s vocal around the 35-second mark would revolutionize pop music’s sound.

The way one manipulates technology is more artistic than many people realize. T-Pain, whose hit Bartender is one of the movement’s great standard-bearers, is wary of other artists who’ve attempted to use the technology, mainly his old pal Kanye West, whose 808 and Heartbreak albums used the effects after the vocals were laid down, not before.

According to pop historian Simon Reynolds, writing for Pitchfork, T-Pain was disappointed that Ye’s album received critical acclaim while his own Rappa Ternt Sanga, released in 2005, did not receive the same universal credit despite commercial success. According to Reynolds, Rihanna’s Barbadian vocal grain interacts well with Auto-nasal Tune’s tinge, creating a fire-and-ice combination. At the same time, other vocalists have learned to bend with the effect, exploiting the super smooth sheen it lends to long sustained notes and intuitively singing slightly flat because that triggers Auto-Tune over-correction pleasingly. (Source: BBC

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