Photoshop and Auto-Tune

Welcome censorship to the 21st Century.

For decades, we have all seen manipulated and doctored photos whether we know it or not. And recently, software like Photoshop has made the revision of photographs and images easier and more difficult to detect. Harmless or malicious, they can alter our perception.

See many examples of historical photo revisions at this site.

Now Auto-Tune, the computer correction of musical notes and melodies. For further description, here is an excerpt from an article in The New Yorker:

Auto-Tune locates the pitch of a recorded vocal, and moves that recorded information to the nearest “correct” note in a scale.  Unnaturally rapid corrections eliminate portamento, the musical term for the slide between two pitches.  Portamento is a natural aspect of speaking and singing, central to making people sound like people.  Auto-Tune can turn the lolling curves of the human voice into a zigzag of right-angled steps.

So, censored are the flaws in talent found in some modern music.  Is exceptional musicianship now less valuable?  Are computer wizards the new musical virtuosos?  Though true ability will not be taken from those who have it, the illusion of its possession is more available.  This censorship of musical deficiency muddies the water between art and technology.

In 1941, FDR gave a State of the Union address commonly referred to as the Four Freedoms Speech.  In it, he discussed his desire for a worldwide freedom of expression.  Offered here is the ending clip of the original speech, Auto-Tuned.  Enjoy.

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If in other lands the press and books and literature of all kinds are censored, we must redouble our efforts here to keep them free.

-Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1941

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