The fine folks at Celemony just released Melodyne, their polyphonic audio note editor. Yes, you heard me right: you can now edit audio clips the way you edit MIDI! Once only a distant figment of my imagination, this feature is now actually a reality.
What will this mean? Well, for one, it will be easier to correct an acoustical performance. If you wanted to alter a chord of a recorded piano performance for example, it will be easier than ever. You can just load up that recording in Melodyne and drag around individual notes in a chord to reassign their pitch and time position. Somehow, a magic algorithm doctor made the special voodoo needed to make it possible.
It’s mind boggling, really. See for yourself in this nifty video.
I really think this is going to be pretty revolutionary for sampling. I don’t personally sample other artists (even though I’d love to) because I don’t want to hire a lawyer for the clearances. (Also I’m a chicken.) But I do know that some artists like to grab a snippet and alter it so much that nobody will ever know where it came from. This will be a godsend for them, and not just to make the sample fit their track better… If one was in court, suing for sample usage, and the sample that was used had completely different notes and timing — it would be hard to prove that someone ‘stole’ the awesomeness from a prior track. And at the very least, it would make the case pretty interesting. 😉
Some advances you just know will mark a watershed moment in production technology. This might just be one of them.