Melodyne: Tuning Vocals… and Tuning Guitars, Keyboards and Other Things During the Mix


This post will most likely find a much smaller interested audience than my last post, which topped half a million readers (craziness!). This time I’m talking to that unique demographic of people who spend countless hours in the engineer’s chair at a recording studio. So, for the 12 people who will read this, I’ve discovered a wonderful program called Melodyne.

For years, I’ve been involved in vocal production for studio projects. I am always striving to get the best sound, as any engineer would do. Some musical styles call for that slightly out of tune floating-around-the-pitch sound. I am not involved in much of that. My stable of projects either have a full band with a lead vocal and background vocals that need tuning, or a complete a capella song where everything needs tuning.

For years, I’ve used a program called Autotune. Most people have heard of this, since it was popularized by its overuse, resulting in robotic voicing. I believe Cher was one of the first to do this back in the 90’s. It’s so popular it has resulted in a slew of iOS apps that achieve the same result for the fun of it. Too much.

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Top 15 Posts for 2012

Tomorrow is New Year’s Eve. It’s a good time to look back and see what has worked and what hasn’t. I read a post from Michael Hyatt this morning that offered a good suggestion. Pull up the year’s stats and see what you top, most-viewed posts were. This kind of thing can be very helpful in determining the direction of posts for the next year.

He was right. It was rather intriguing. My stats are nowhere near as large as his (he ranges from 60,000 to 200,00 per post), but they still tell me something. Here are my top 15.

  1. Is Chinese a Language of the Tower of Babel? (306)
  2. Photoshop Tutorial: Adding Grass to an Image (192)
  3. Here’s a Good iGoogle Alternative (179)
  4. Acappella Memories: Kathisophobia or I’ll Stand, Thank You (173)
  5. Acappella Memories: The Seat of Questioning (170)
  6. Acappella Memories: Entertaining Angels Unaware (149)
  7. Acafest 2012 Review (143)
  8. Acappella Memories: Alvin! (142)
  9. Lose 10 Pounds Without Really Trying (142)
  10. Acappella Memories: Duane Adams at Acafest 2012 Pt. 2 (132)
  11. Acappella Memories: Grounded in Texas (130)
  12. Arranging (129) – this one is actually a page, not a post, for those of you who know the difference.
  13. The Power of Introverts (129)
  14. Acappella Memories: The Original Well on my Way (109)
  15. Acappella Memories: Duane Adams at Acafest 2012 Pt. 1 (107)

I removed the “About Gary” page, which actually fell at #2 on the list.

So what does this tell me? First, it seems there’s a great interest in the mysteries of history as they pertain to the Bible. Who would’ve thought that the Chinese/Babel connection would’ve come in first? I will need to explore more topics along this line.

Next, 2 of the top 3 posts were about productivity. Looking at the top 50, I could see that it placed very strongly as a topic. I should do more productivity.

But obviously, the thing that easily stands out the most is the number of top 15 posts that were Acappella-related. 9 of the top 15 were about my time with Acappella. I guess I need to brush off the cobwebs and revive more memories.

If you have a blog, have you checked your top posts for the year? It’s rather revealing.

Acappella Memories: George Pendergrass at Acafest 2012

George PendergrassGeorge Pendergrass was part of the roundtable discussion at Acafest 2012 this past summer in Nashville, TN. He shared the floor with me, Duane Adams and Robert Guy… Acappella from 1992 to 1995 (I think that’s correct… I lose track).

Anyway, we had been discussing life on the road from the single man’s point of view as Robert shared his memories. We were about to open it up for questions when George spoke up and added something to the discussion. Many people have asked us what life is like on the road with families. George shared the joys and the trials of such a life.

Acappella Memories: Robert Guy at Acafest 2012

Robert C. GuyRobert joined Acappella about 5 years after I jumped into the group. He replaced Wayburn Dean and sang as bass for the combination of himself, me, Duane and George for several years. He brought a new dimension to the group and it was wonderful to have him as part of the gang. You can hear Robert stand out in his first couple of albums with the group, Beyond a Doubt and Hymns for all the World. He went on to sing with various combinations of Acappella over the years and now sings often with ACAPPELLA CLASSIC, the collection of former Acappella members who sing here and there from time to time.

In the following audio clip from Acafest 2012, Robert shares his views of life on the road with families as a single guy. He handled it with style and grace, I can tell you that much. Thanks Robert…

Acappella Memories: Duane Adams at Acafest 2012 Pt. 2

Duane Adams 2012Here is another snippet of the recording from our roundtable discussion at Acafest 2012. Duane Adams shares a particular memory from an evening in Dallas, TX at the late, great Footloose. We were blessed to be able to sing many different, powerful songs. The most powerful, I believe, were some of the songs that came direct from scripture. His Righteousness, from the Sweet Fellowship album,  was one of those. This is the story of one song on one night.

Acappella Memories: Duane Adams at Acafest 2012

Young Duane AdamsAt Acappella’s recent 30th anniversary event, which took place at Acafest 2012, everyone had the chance to share their memories from their days on the road. The groups were divided into different periods, and the early 90’s Acappella had their chance to share on July 2nd, 2012 at 8:30 AM.

Several interesting stories were shared, and I’ll post more in the future. Here is one humorous story shared by Duane Adams relating Acappella’s encounter with a “spiritual retreat center” in New England.

Acafest 2012 Review

As many of you know, I’ve recently traveled back to Tennessee for Acappella’s 30th anniversary concert which happened during Acafest 2012. It was a wonderful, albeit exhausting, time for all of us. I was fortunate in that I was able to bring my family with me. It’s been far too long since my wife has been able to see some of her old friends. My quickly growing kids have recently rediscovered their love of a capella music. It was fun to see it all come together.

The schedule was very full and I was not able to make every event. This time around it was much more than an Acappella reunion. Several other groups celebrated with returning members as well, including Vocal Union, AVB, Acappella Children, Durant, His Image and the New Life Quartet. I thought I would take a few moments and comment on some of these things for those of you who could not make the event.

Acappella Reunion

Reunion - both groupsWe split this event into two days. The first evening, Saturday, was the Acappella Classic concert. This is something that we’ve done several times before, both in the U.S. and Internationally. Acappella hosts the event and Acappella Classic joins them. Classic usually sings about 30% of the concert by themselves and another 20% with the current Acappella. The line up varies slightly for each event. This time around it was Keith Lancaster, Rodney Britt,  Duane Adams, Robert Guy, Kevin Schaffer, Steve Maxwell and me. It was loads of fun, especially the “battle of the bands” with Everybody Said. My personal favorite was Robert Guy singing lead on I’m At Your Mercy. That is one amazing song.

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Acappella Memories: Entertaining Angels Unaware

Acappella 1989

Duane Adams, Gary Moyers & George Pendergrass

I debated with myself quite a while about posting this story. I’ve told it to very few people. I figure it’s time I shared it. Some of you will think I’ve lost it. That’s okay. I’m past being concerned about that. It’s an occurrence that Danice Sweet and I will never forget.

Before the story can be told, a little background is necessary. Early on in my Acappella career (circa early ‘89), we had a concert in northern Alabama. I think it was Florence, but it might have been Huntsville. Wayburn, George and I were still pretty new to the whole Acappella experience. Rodney was the old pro and we were learning fast.

Our concert that evening had been a great success. The house was packed and the crowd was very responsive. We finished our last song and left stage. The crowd was having none of that and called us back for an encore, which we didn’t expect in the least. What artist does? Sorry, I digress.

Just as the four of us reached stage and started setting up our mic stands for the last song, we heard Rodney over on the far left of the stage saying something like, “Please, don’t do this…” As we looked over, we saw a man, about our age, forcing his way to the microphone. It turned out that this was an old acquaintance of Rodney and he had a bone to pick with us.

He spent the next 5 minutes berating us in front of the packed crowd for our unscriptural approach to gospel music. I won’t go into the theology of it all at this point. Suffice it to say, he was greatly convicted and felt compelled to show us the error of our ways in front of everyone.

Looking back, it was pretty humorous. As soon as he started talking, our sound engineer promptly reached up and turned off the mains, leaving the monitors on. This fellow could hear himself very well (as could we), but the crowd had trouble making out what he said. Good move.

Anyway, it was like a bucket of cold water had been poured over everyone’s head. Talk about quenching the Spirit, this guy had grabbed him by the collar and slapped hard several times.

When he had said his piece and left stage, Rodney called him by name and quoted Matthew 18:15 – “If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.” He countered this guy’s near-rage with the Word of God. The crowd became re-energized, we sang Well on My Way and the evening ended on a somewhat somber up-note. We spent the next 90 minutes speaking with audience members and encouraging one another.

And thus the story begins. Since we we’re in northern Alabama and only a few hours from our home in Tennessee, we opted to drive home after the concert. That was unusual in itself. Our norm was to spend the night and move on the next day.

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Acappella Memories: The Seat of Questioning

Acappella Classic

photo courtesy of Keith Lancaster

We (Acappella Classic) had a reunion concert in Amarillo last week. It was a wonderful time, and more events like this are planned. Most people probably don’t realize that these concerts are much more fun for us than for the crowd. Or, at least, that’s what we think.

When we get together, old stories and habits start popping up quickly. Most of the habits and antics would be senseless to you, as they are the product of so many years together on the road. Many of them are just plain stupid, but they made us laugh.

But the stories… there are countless stories to remember and share. For instance, one former member (who shall remain nameless in this entry) shared his approach for the ride home with the people who would be hosting us.

Some explanation is probably required. For the first few years of Acappella’s existence, we stayed almost exclusively in homes, usually members of the church where we sang. This continued from the beginning (1984) until somewhere around 1992. At that point we slowly started adding in hotels, until it became nothing but hotels a few years later.

Staying in homes was usually a great experience and I firmly believe that is one of the reasons we enjoyed such success early on. Some of those hosts have become lifelong friends. Still, it was tough in ways you wouldn’t expect unless you’ve experienced it. Every host home fed us like it was our last meal. I would wager I gained 200 pounds and lost 170 over my time with the group, due in large part to the fabulous food our host families offered us. Along with this, every host would want to talk to us until late into the evening, long after the concert was done and most sane people were long since sleeping. Between the lack of sleep and the food, we had to make some changes which is why the hotels started coming into play more often.

But I digress. Let me share about the “ride home.” This would vary somewhat, depending on whether or not the host knew who we were (oh yes, there were a good number who thought we were college kids or who didn’t come to the concert and had no clue). In general, the person who sat in the front seat took the brunt of all the questions. We would take turns being in the front – the seat of questioning. The guys in the back would relax and snicker at the Inquisition happening up front.

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Acappella Memories: Lost in Holland

Dutch_windmillsBefore I begin this story, I admit that my memory is a bit sketchy on the facts. Certain parts of the story stand out vividly, and parts are very fuzzy. I will try to connect the facts as best I can and you guys can fill in the rest.

We were invited to a festival in Holland, which was very exciting for us. It may have been our first International foray, but I’m not entirely sure. This would have been around 1990. The concept of Acappella Missions, our new outreach organization, was new and this was one of the first times (if not THE first) that we had a chance to do something for it.

We knew we were flying over, expenses paid, for the big event in Holland. Since our flights were taken care of, we decided to extend our time in Europe and go on a mission-based tour, singing in cities connected with local missionaries. This was the trip that we had our East German experience, which is another story entirely.

Anyway, our plans were to meet Tom and Margaret Kincannon, the directors of Acappella Missions, in Holland at the conclusion of the festival. But first, we had to make it through the festival itself.

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