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HACK: How to make pitch-shifted "instrument variants"...

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HACK: How to make pitch-shifted "instrument variants"...

Postby kmlandre » Fri Jul 11, 2014 8:02 pm

Hi All-

For those who are looking for a little variation in terms of instrument sounds, there's a usable but a bit hackish method you can use to achieve it without resorting to external libraries.

It uses "Pitchproof" (a 64bit freeware VST plugin from Aegan Software -- http://aegeanmusic.com/pitchproof-Specs) to pitch shift notes a few steps up or down, giving the instrument a moderately variant sound by mildly fiddling with (I presume) the overtone series of the note as well as changing the phase relationship. That and some mild EQ can help to achieve what I'm finding to be a reasonably good approximation of a "different" instrument of the same type.

The exact trick/steps are as follows:

1) Write and create the part as you would normally in Notion.
2) When you're ready to listen back or record your piece, *transpose* the part down 4 half-steps (a major 3rd).
3) OPTIONAL: Judiciously apply some EQ. While not required, it can help "vary" the sound from the original.
4) Apply the Pitchproof plugin directly to the instrument you transposed.
5) Set the "PITCH" to +4 and set the "TRANSIENT FIX" to OFF. I recommend turning the TUNER off as well (set it to "NO DISPLAY") just to preserve CPU.
6) OPTIONAL: Set the DETUNE to a small value for additional variation (I used 0.0100).
7) Set the BLEND to 100% WET (1.000).
8) OPTIONAL: Judiciously apply further EQ.
9) Playback or record.

In the spirit of Surfwhammy, I've attached copious screenshots of exactly how this is achieved, as well as some light analysis of what the sound frequencies look like and an audio sample of what it sounds like (I've used a clarinet for this particular example).

Feel free to ping me with questions or suggestions. Looking for any improvements to this method anyone might have (Yeah, I'm looking at YOU, Surfwhammy! :D)

Kurt M. Landre'
https://www.SoundCloud.com/kmlandre

(The rest of the files will be in the PART II post)

PitchShiftHowTo.png
PitchShiftHowTo.png (1.03 MiB) Viewed 4770 times


ClarinetFreqChart.png
ClarinetFreqChart.png (44.86 KiB) Viewed 4770 times
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Re: HACK: How to make pitch-shifted "instrument variants"...

Postby kmlandre » Fri Jul 11, 2014 8:09 pm

Admittedly, this effect is very subtle. In fact, it's probably not even noticeable in many circumstances. However, I think the same could be said of "normal" instruments as well.

If a more drastic difference is desired, the pitch shifting could be more radical and the EQing could also be a bit extreme as well...

Anyway, here's the files for PART II:

Pitch Shifting experiment.mp3
(2.2 MiB) Downloaded 336 times


PitchShiftedClarinet.png
PitchShiftedClarinet.png (190.59 KiB) Viewed 4769 times


Kurt M. Landre'
https://www.SoundCloud.com/kmlandre
kmlandre
 
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Re: HACK: How to make pitch-shifted "instrument variants"...

Postby Surfwhammy » Sat Jul 12, 2014 4:56 pm

kmlandre wrote:In the spirit of Surfwhammy, I've attached copious screenshots of exactly how this is achieved, as well as some light analysis of what the sound frequencies look like and an audio sample of what it sounds like (I've used a clarinet for this particular example).

Feel free to ping me with questions or suggestions. Looking for any improvements to this method anyone might have (Yeah, I'm looking at YOU, Surfwhammy! :D)


This is an excellent extended post on so many levels that it is virtually mind-bogglingly fabulous!
:ugeek:

(1) It has words . . .

(2) It has visuals . . .

(3) It has links to an MP3 audio clip and a website with a festival of other personal compositions . . .

(4) It is so big that it required two consecutive posts . . .

(5) It provides stellar information that includes enlightening clues to key aspects of NOTION 4 and digital music production which for the most part appear to have nearly nothing to do with the primary topic, and in fact were implied rather than mentioned explicitly, which fully satisfies what I call the "Abstruse Observation Rule" . . .

(6) It makes it possible to construct a patently surreal segue to Miley Cyrus, David Bisbal, Elvis Presley, Lady Gaga, and advanced vocal production . . .

THOUGHTS

The clarinets sound very realistic--which typically is not an easy goal to achieve--and I like the textures and reverberation, as well . . .

One of the connections to NOTION 4 and digital music production is the Melodyne Editor (Celemony), which (a) can be used to do pitch-shifting and other advanced audio enhancing and producing techniques and (b) is included in a practical way in Studio One 2.6+ Professional via Melodyne Essentials, which can be upgraded to the two higher levels of the Melodyne Editor, thereby reducing the total cost of ownership for the Melodyne Editor . . .

Studio One 2.6+ Version Comparison (PreSonus)

[NOTE: Most people consider products like Melodyne and Auto-Tune (Antares Audio Technologies) to be focused on correcting vocal mistakes, but there are other ways to use this software to tailor audio, which includes such activities as creating harmony, constructing custom echoes, and changing the tonal characteristics of instruments and voices . . . ]

Melodyne (Celemony)

But perhaps the most significant connection involves providing an indisputable example of the difference in chromatic samples and non-chromatic samples, where for example the special editions of Vienna Symphonic Library have samples only for every whole step, while the full versions of Vienna Instruments are chromatically sampled where each and every note is sampled (half-step sampling rather than whole-step only sampling) . . .

By first transposing the original notes downward by a major third and then using the PitchProof Harmonizer|PitchShifter (Aegean Music) to move the pitch of the notes upward by a major third, which is done using an advanced algorithm-guided computation, this demonstrates the way non-sampled notes in non-chromatically sampled libraries are computed; and it also provides a clue to the practical range of such computations when they do not involve time-based or motion-based playing styles . . .

[NOTE: The exception for time-based and motion-based playing styles is that when one is using a partially sampled sound library, the "in-between" notes that were not sampled need to be created by an algorithm and a bit of computing, which is fine for what one might call "dry" playing styles, but this introduces problems for other playing styles, where for example using an electric guitar played through a Fender tremolo pedal that fluctuates the volume level at a fixed rate, all the sampled notes will have the correct tremolo fluctuation rate, but the algorithmically computed "in-between" notes will have different tremolo fluctuation rates depending primarily on two factors, (a) the frequency of the sampled note used as the basis for the computation and (b) the frequency of the basis note in relation to the computed note, where if the basis note is lower, then this involves speeding-up the frequency to get the higher pitch of the computed note, which in turn increases the tremolo rate. Conversely, when the basis note is higher, this involves slowing the speed and maps to a slower tremolo rate. This also applies to vibrato, which is fluctuating frequency or pitch at some rate that most likely is consistent based on the tempo at which it was sampled and other aspects. For this reason, if the exact articulation, dynamic, playing style, and so forth is available in a chromatic sampled sound set, I use it; but otherwise I use dry samples in NOTION 4 and do the elaborate time-based and motion-based work in the Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) application on all the notes or selected phrases, since this keeps the time-based and motion-based stuff consistent in every respect . . . ]

Curiously, the DigiTech Harmony Man stereo effects pedal does something similar, as does the DigiTech Whammy stereo effects pedal . . .

[NOTE: In some respects, the HarmonyMan is the more advanced unit, but for lead guitar I prefer to use two DigiTech Whammy pedals, since while they are set to specific intervals, they have variable position foot pedals like a wah-wah pedal, which makes it possible to do intermediate intervals. Most of the time I set one to do a single octave and the other to do a double octave, which works nicely, because with octave jumps you only need to play the actual note correctly, and if you miss the actual note, you can use a jump as a diversion while you quickly correct the note with a finger motion, string bend, or a bit of whammy bar action, as you can hear in the instrumental version of "Dreamwalk" (see below) . . . ]

Image
Image

This started with the idea of creating the definitive example of everything that is possible to do with a Fender two-point synchronized tremolo "whammy" system and an elaborate set of advanced effects pedals, which included among other things two DigiTech Whammy pedals; a Budda Budwah pedal; and a Fulltone Tube Tape Echo unit, which is fabulous . . .

[NOTE: This was done when I was doing everything with real instruments and was composing and playing everything in real-time on the fly, except the rhythm guitar chords, which were composed in advance but recorded only once. And it is just a single rhythm guitar and single lead guitar, except that both electric guitars are run through a virtual festival of effects, hence sound like a "Wall of Guitars" . . . ]

"Dreamwalk" (The Surf Whammys) ~ Instrumental Version ~ MP3

Fabulous! :ugeek:

P. S. These various signal processors and effects units, including VST effects plug-ins, are used in the Pop and DISCO music universes for elaborate vocal production, as exemplified in the vocal production for "Who Owns My Heart" (Miley Cyrus), which based on the way I define and count tracks has somewhere in the range of 100 to 150 vocal tracks, including the virtual festival of male and female backup singers and all of the consonant overdubs that Miley Cyrus did . . .

[NOTE: The fascinating stuff happens during the bridge or interlude that begins at 2:25, which among other things (a) proves that she actually can sing and (b) has slowly whirling background "roller-coaster" warbling, which is simply superb. David Bisbal does this, as well, except that he does not need elaborate vocal production enhancements to do to it, as was the case with Elvis, who was the greatest operatic tenor of the 20th century. Miley Cyrus is young, so she gets a break, since the natural ability is there and it takes a while to develop . . . ]

"Who Owns My Heart" (Miley Cyrus) ~ YouTube music video

"Bulería" (David Bisbal) ~ YouTube music video

"Surrender" (Elvis Presley) ~ YouTube music video

[NOTE: Lady Gaga has the same truly amazing natural vibrato as Elvis, and she can sing . . . ]

"You And I" (Lady Gaga) ~ YouTube music video

Lots of FUN! :D
The Surf Whammys

Sinkhorn's Dilemma: Every paradox has at least one non-trivial solution!
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Re: HACK: How to make pitch-shifted "instrument variants"...

Postby JohnF » Mon Jul 14, 2014 10:53 pm

Can this forum handle two Surfwhammy's? :D

Interesting stuff, Kurt.

Don't you guys wish we could wake up every morning, walk out of our bedrooms, and find an orchestra waiting in our living room eager to play our next cue?
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Re: HACK: How to make pitch-shifted "instrument variants"...

Postby kmlandre » Tue Jul 15, 2014 5:00 am

JohnF wrote:Don't you guys wish we could wake up every morning, walk out of our bedrooms, and find an orchestra waiting in our living room eager to play our next cue?


Oh, you have no idea...

No, wait. Yes, you do. You, too, have been stricken...WITH ORECHESTRANITIS! ;-)

Kurt M. Landre'
https://soundcloud.com/kmlandre
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