The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Monday, November 09, 2009

“But it's about the dancing!”

For months now Bunny and I have been going back and forth on things like Microsoft songsmith, Auto-Tune which has been, basically, an argument about tools vs. crutches. [1] That topic surfaced once more today when Bunny mentioned that some Aussies are rather upset at Britney for lip syncing (and here I thought that was common knowledge—guess not down under).

Here is one Australian's take on it:

That being so, it makes sense that when it comes to touring she should mime. After all, it allows the projection of voice perfection, or at least as perfect as it sounds on CD. What sort of a show would it be if she were heard to miss a note or sing offkey. If you had spent a couple of hundred dollars or more, you'd probably walk out and/or demand your money back.

Still, if this is a comeback tour (with the somewhat rapidly turning ironic title of Circus) then surely wouldn't a singer want to reacquaint her voice to her fans? Then again maybe her singing voice ain't what it used to be.

The truth, for the punters, is you'd never know anyway unless you heard her singing in the shower. This is the age of musical perfection where every singer can have perfect pitch, where any imperfection can be erased, where the human can be deleted from the process of recording. It's in the technology. In the digital age, sound can be manipulated. Voices can be modulated, on stage and in the studio. You would never know unless you had something with which to compare it.

Miming, however, is not new. Bands and solo singers were doing it on television pop shows decades ago. Indeed, wasn't it strange that those guitars sounded just like they did on the record, yet they weren't plugged in, and wait a minute where are the amps?

Concerts, however, are another thing. There's a transaction involved between fan and artist. Which leads to one of the most notorious cases in popular music of things not being as they seem. Milli Vanilli won a Grammy Award. Yet the duo of Fabrice Morvan and Rob Pilatus, whom everyone thought were Milli Vanilli were, in fact, just the pretty faces, the image music entrepreneur Frank Farian wanted to project to the public. The voices were actually those of studio singers. The whole thing came crashing down when Morvan and Pilatus were found to be lipsynching at one of their concerts.

Britney Spears | lip synching | Warwick McFadyen

Hmm … tool … crutch … this is appearing to be the Month of the Tool …

  1. I view such things as tools, Bunny views them as crutches, but she's had musical training and I haven't. I view such things as IDEs and PHP as crutches, whereas I think Bunny would view them as tools, but I have a background in programming. I'll have to ponder on this some more. [Back]

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