You recall Cher warbling “Do you believe in life after love?” in the 90s? She sounded like her voice was run through a weird synthesizer – like much of Cher’s body by now, but I digress.

The weird synthesizer is Auto-Tune, as you may know. Auto-Tune can make you sound weird, but more significantly it bends notes to the correct pitch.

In fact if you use it aggressively enough, it can mostly eliminate the need for musical talent. Take a good-looking kid who can dance and make him/her a star by scrubbing over the vocal track with your handy Auto-Tuner.

Aside, this has exactly the same cultural value as so-called Advanced Chess, where the combatants can consult with a computer to help ensure they avoid tactical blunders. It’s a proposition with minimal sportsmanship or interest to me.

Anyway, here’s the very interesting bit about this technology: According to Wikipedia it was originally developed by a seismic engineer working for Exxon.

You recall the Bud Light commercials with Auto-Tuned homeboys yapping about a party on their cell phones? (Plus a cameo by T-Payne asking someone to pass the guacamole?) Hopefully this is a sign that Auto-Tune has jumped the shark, to borrow another meme from the pop lexicon.


6 thoughts on “Auto-tune

  1. I have no personal interest in Advanced Chess, either, but your post does remind me of something I am curious about. I don’t use a computer to speak of for chess study, but I wonder if you have any good tricks for using the computer for chess improvement?

  2. Pete – I don’t. I’ve never spent the money for Fritz etc, although Mark Kaprielian gave me an old copy of megabase once upon a time. My computer training is limited to tactics at and occasionally playing blindfold on FICS. I wouldn’t count other sighted blitz games as “improvement” although I do learn a bit about openings that way.

    LEP – well duh.

  3. Yet another nail in the coffin for American Idol.

    Emrald and blindfold FICS — hmmm, do I smell a Shmelov influence? Shmelov has recommended both training methods to me, too. I work at Emrald daily, but I have yet to get to the blindfold chess.

    BTW, Derek, what’s your rating at Emrald? I’ve peaked at 1620, but usually hover between 1550-1600. My goal is to keep my head above 1600. Constant work at Emrald gives me the confidence that my tactical skills are staying sharp, and this gives me the confidence to formally work on other areas, if I have the time.


  4. In this case no, no Denys influence. Glad to know he endorses this stuff though.

    My rating hovers around 1700 on Emrald. Speed is my main problem.

  5. Interesting. Denys has me do daily 10-15 minute doses of Emrald to keep my tactics sharp. It appears that my Emrald rating is disproportionately high compared to my USCF rating, so that just confirms I have weaknesses in non-tactical areas. Of course, if I am going to make 2200 USCF, then I probably need to boost my Emrald at least 100 points to 1700. -Howard

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