Yesterday I saw this cool set of videos which used something called "Auto-tune" software to change the pitch of a normal voice to match the pitch of the music. As I watched the set of "Symphony of Science" videos it was inspiring and interesting to note how differently my brain responded to the knowledge being imparted in this musical form. As I talked about this with Guruka Singh he explained how the part of the brain that understands human normal speech is different from the part that understands music – left brain/right brain. So when you are listening to the words with music it has a deeper and more powerful impact than speech alone. It engages me a lot more than just hearing someone talking. It’s no surprise that the heart of our Knowledge and guidance of the Sikhs is the Siri Guru Granth Sahib which is composed completely in musical form.
After watching all the videos I was curious about the technology for making the voices sound that way. This technique (Vocoder) is nothing new. It’s been used to correct off-pitch notes in singers’ vocals in the recording studio for a long time. Sometimes we hear it used in old movies to create robotic voices, or in the 80’s in various pop music tracks. Apparently, these days it is quite overused in modern hip-hop music by lots of musicians.
At this point I thought it would be interesting to see what I could do with this software myself, so I started playing with it. After some initial searches for software downloads, I found an iPhone app which is called "I am T-Pain" which uses the "Auto-tune" software. It adjusts the pitch of your voice to make it sound quite different.
While Charanjeet was in the bathtub I started it up and she loved it. It was so much fun. We just recorded in solo mode (no background music) and she sang and sang, making up all kinds of songs. It was quite fun! You can even use your own music that’s on your iPod, though I didn’t have any tracks that worked well for me.
This morning after everyone left the house, I thought I was just going to post a clip of her singing, and ended up recording some quick songs using poetry. I just picked some lyrics, started the song, hit record, and whatever/however it came out…it came out. It wasn’t a big production… just for fun. But it was quite an experience! I’m no rapper, but this was really fun! Something about singing these words was like a meditation (I didn’t use the actual song lyrics, but used spiritual poetry). I can now begin to relate to other musicians who sing good lyrics and get really into their music. I admit I know nothing about the rapper T-Paine, but I sure had fun recording these poems.
All of this was a great learning experience about using music and audio in a way to learn and have a unique experience. I’m always looking for new ideas and new ways to create an impact on people. I think it is up to our own creativity to find new ways to inspire and teach each other. It would be so cool to create a set of educational/inspiration videos using music. Or even using the auto-tuner as a means to have kids get into singing.
Here is one of the cool "Symphony of Science" videos to whet your appetite. More videos and downloads here.
My Recordings from the "I am T-Pain" iPhone app.
Keep in mind these were all recorded "live" within an hour or so, so they’re pretty raw. You might even hear a sniffle here and there. Just switch gears from the above video into "Gurumustuk T-Pain Singh hip-hop music singer mode". It’s pretty cool that all this was just recorded right on my phone. Now all we need is a Gurbani/Poetry Karaoke Machine.
Lyrics by Gurutej Singh Khalsa
English translation by Guruka Singh
Hail Guru Ram Das
Lyrics from Furmaan Khalsa (Titled: Dhanavad/In Gratitude)
by SSS Harbhajan Singh Khalsa Yogiji
Lyrics from Furmaan Khasla (Titled: Jaag/Wake-Up!)
by SSS Harbhajan Singh Khalsa Yogiji
We are the Khalsa (sung a-capella)
This is part of one of the songs that the kids sing in Gurdwara.