May 20, 2016 12:51 PM   Subscribe

 
Omg. Unbearable. Seriously got four words into "Never Gonna Give You Up" before I had to turn it off.
posted by town of cats at 12:54 PM on May 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


This should be punishable by death
posted by Elementary Penguin at 12:55 PM on May 20, 2016 [9 favorites]




Things I learned from the Rick Astley one: There are still people on the internet who post "First!!"

Also the Rick Astley one was cool because it would sound basically OK for a bit and then suddenly be so very wrong. I imagine this is very much how I sound when I sing.
posted by not that girl at 12:58 PM on May 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


As if there wasn't enough pain and suffering in the world.
posted by jeffamaphone at 12:59 PM on May 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


Holy crap, that is painful. I mean viscerally, wince-inducing, frantically-scrabbling-for-the-mouse painful.
posted by widdershins at 1:00 PM on May 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


When I was in high school, I used to amuse myself during our five hour passover seders by singing everything a perfect fourth off from everybody else. If I did it loudly enough, everybody would eventually migrate to that pitch. Good times.

Also: Share and Enjoy
posted by rouftop at 1:00 PM on May 20, 2016 [17 favorites]


My ears are mad at you. I've listened to several so far and none are nearly as offensive to me as "Firework". Ouch.
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage at 1:00 PM on May 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


It bothers me that I listened to that Take on Me clip and couldn't really tell.

Every now and then I'll be playing guitar along with a backing track or YouTube video and I don't realize that the recording is tuned a half step down. I'll be playing along, having fun, not really aware of other sounds around me. Suddenly, the door will burst open and my wife will be screaming "you're not in the right key! Something is wrong and you're driving me crazy!"

Sometimes I can tell, other times I can't. I hate my fucking ears.
posted by bondcliff at 1:01 PM on May 20, 2016 [20 favorites]


This is what I imagine the entire world sounds like to people with perfect pitch.
posted by Metroid Baby at 1:02 PM on May 20, 2016 [19 favorites]


This is what I imagine the entire world sounds like to people with perfect pitch.

My wife says it's a curse. The same woman bought me a banjo. She contains multitudes.
posted by bondcliff at 1:03 PM on May 20, 2016 [54 favorites]


Now every hit song can sound like you're hearing it live at the fifth grade talent show!
posted by Countess Elena at 1:03 PM on May 20, 2016 [18 favorites]


(missing the #keepmefiweird tag)

I feel like this is exactly what every karaoke bar sounds like. Especially if I am the one singing.
posted by jillithd at 1:05 PM on May 20, 2016 [8 favorites]


This is like the antiautotune.
posted by Kabanos at 1:07 PM on May 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


I listened to Tom's Diner one half-step out of key and it sounded fine.
posted by lore at 1:07 PM on May 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


The Bohemian Rhapsody one is strangely compelling, the dissonance almost works.
posted by leahwrenn at 1:08 PM on May 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


How on earth do they do it? How do you isolate the vocal track to mess around with it?
posted by stanf at 1:09 PM on May 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


I really like when the harmony vox on the chorus in Hungry Like The Wolf kick in; it's a whole extra level of kick with the multiple voices.

But the Bohemian Rhapsody one is especially wonderfully terrible, because it's got Freddie's lead vox detuned but not the backing vox, and the song opens with that essentially acapella section that throws a spotlight on the dissonance. For a band whose sound is so strongly defined in part by those crystalline vocal constructions, it's like a pure vein of musical dystopia.
posted by cortex at 1:09 PM on May 20, 2016 [4 favorites]


Came in too late to make a "go stick your head in a pig" threat toward whoever thought up this torture...
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:10 PM on May 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


I have perfect pitch. I get mad when they pitch down "Happy Birthday."
posted by Melismata at 1:10 PM on May 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


Came for Share and Enjoy, leaving satisfied.

At some point, A-ha went back into tune... or is that just psychological? Like the inverted vision goggles, where the wearer's vision flipped?
posted by infinitewindow at 1:11 PM on May 20, 2016


I listened to Tom's Diner one half-step out of key and it sounded fine.

The problem with Tom's Diner is it has too many different notes.
posted by cortex at 1:11 PM on May 20, 2016 [5 favorites]


This is like the antiautotune.

This is much more listenable than overused autotune to my ears. Autotune sends me into a rage though so most things are more listenable.
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage at 1:13 PM on May 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Bohemian Rhapsody is oddly beautiful. I highly recommend listening to the very end. Some of the guitar tracks are also detuned in the final section, and it gives the impression that the wrongness is spreading across the whole band. The center cannot hold.
posted by curiousgene at 1:17 PM on May 20, 2016 [8 favorites]


dying

see also this amazing rendition of Jump by Van Halen (previously)
posted by Existential Dread at 1:19 PM on May 20, 2016 [7 favorites]


Sometimes old recordings were made with everyone tuned up to whatever rented mule of a piano was at the session.....also there are tape speed issues often.......if you had perfect pitch I guess you'd really need to let that kind of thing slide if things not being at the current pitch standard bothered you
posted by thelonius at 1:23 PM on May 20, 2016


How on earth do they do it? How do you isolate the vocal track to mess around with it?

There's probably multi-tracks floating around of all of them.
posted by mayonnaises at 1:24 PM on May 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


I sent the Duran Duran one to a friend who plays in an awesome 80s cover band, and suggested if they used it for pre-show music, it would make them sound really great.
posted by dubwisened at 1:25 PM on May 20, 2016 [8 favorites]


Oleg Berg has a wonderful channel where he keys songs written in major scale to minor and vice versa. My two favorites are Hey Jude, and Don't Happy, Be Worry.
posted by the_querulous_night at 1:26 PM on May 20, 2016 [9 favorites]


yeah a lot of these isolated tracks are ripped out of the RockBand games I think
posted by thelonius at 1:26 PM on May 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


On the plus side, that's a version of "Take On Me" that I can actually match at karaoke nights.
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 1:27 PM on May 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


The problem with Tom's Diner is it has too many different notes.

Yes, yes, I think you've hit on it exactly! There are in fact only so many notes the ear can hear in the course of an evening. I think I'm right in saying that, aren't I, Court Composer?
posted by Naberius at 1:36 PM on May 20, 2016 [11 favorites]


aw man, this is hilariously uncomfortable.
posted by grubby at 1:38 PM on May 20, 2016


Ahh... Thanks mayonnaises & theolonius. That's my weekend sorted!
posted by stanf at 1:39 PM on May 20, 2016


On the plus side, that's a version of "Take On Me" that I can actually match at karaoke nights.


That song came out when I was 16, and I was thrilled and a bit surprised that I could actually hit that high note. But my voice was still maturing, and week by week it became harder and harder to get to it, until one day I just couldn't. It was heartbreaking, because reaching for that high note and nailing it was glorious.
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 1:40 PM on May 20, 2016 [4 favorites]


Huh, apparently Bruce's vibrato is so wide and his tendency to swoop so pronounced that I can't actually tell that anything's been done to Run to the Hills until the chorus kicks in.
posted by Existential Dread at 1:41 PM on May 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Take on Me has two instrumental versions. One of them is the official mix, the other matches the in-tune backing music for these. I wondered why I could hear a bunch of parts and instruments I'd never heard before in the mix. It might be something like a 6-to-2-channel mixdown from a DVD-Audio/Super Audio CD remix.
posted by infinitewindow at 1:42 PM on May 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


This is exactly like listening to my colleague sing along to the radio at work. I never knew it was even possible to be as tone deaf as she is - a talent she cheerfully admits to - but the pain of hearing her murdering classic pop on a regular basis is physical. I was disappointed "Firework" wouldn't play for me as I was curious if it sounded any less flat and forced than the original. (I have love for Katy Perry but Jesus...)
posted by billiebee at 1:43 PM on May 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


I am terrified to listen to these.

But I am totally sending them to the rest of my a cappella group!
posted by blurker at 1:44 PM on May 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


Sometimes old recordings were made with everyone tuned up to whatever rented mule of a piano was at the session.

Sometimes. Sometimes?!?!

....also there are tape speed issues often.......

We had a record player, three or four cassette players, and a reel-to-reel player in our house. (We never fell for 8-track, for some reason.) They were all different. As a four-year-old, I remember asking my non-musical parents why and they looked at me like they were afraid they'd created a monster.

I direct a handbell choir, and I still complain when a hymn tune is arranged in a key that is not as good as the original or some other variant. (When I did this while taking violin lessons as a kid, the teacher just said shut up and pay attention.)

if you had perfect pitch I guess you'd really need to let that kind of thing slide if things not being at the current pitch standard bothered you

Oh, thelonius, I so love you for your blissful ignorance...
posted by Melismata at 1:46 PM on May 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Now we need a version of Toto's Africa done this way. Also More Than A Feeling and I Don't Wanna Lose Your Love Tonight
posted by Existential Dread at 1:47 PM on May 20, 2016 [4 favorites]


Just tore off my ears and threw them out the window. I hope you're happy.
posted by merriment at 1:47 PM on May 20, 2016 [8 favorites]


This is hilarious.
posted by mxm011 at 1:48 PM on May 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


WHICH ONE OF YOU HAS BEEN RECORDING MY KARAOKE PERFORMANCES
posted by duffell at 1:50 PM on May 20, 2016 [6 favorites]


*shudder*
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 2:07 PM on May 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


And I thought I was the only one who found listening to someone singing flat to be torture. I can't listen to Morphine and a handful of other bands because they're always pushing the edge of flat (and I like the rest of Morphine's instrumentation!)
posted by gusandrews at 2:07 PM on May 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


MY SKIN IS CRAWLING AND I LOVE IT
posted by aubilenon at 2:07 PM on May 20, 2016 [4 favorites]


Heh. These all sound pretty okay to me. I'm surprised anyone's ever put me in charge of leading a group in song.
posted by JiBB at 2:10 PM on May 20, 2016


Laughing my ass off at work listening to these.
posted by resurrexit at 2:17 PM on May 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Precedent: Jonathan and Darlene Edwards "Stayin' Alive".
posted by Carmody'sPrize at 2:23 PM on May 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Best of all is when you play them all at once.
posted by Sleeper at 2:26 PM on May 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


As someone into noise and experimental and avant-garde music, and someone who wonders what the next "frontiers" of those could possibly be in a world in which we're inured to all kinds of harsh, discordant stuff - I really think this is tapping into something important.

This is the kind of stuff future generations will be listening to seriously and unironically.
posted by naju at 2:27 PM on May 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


These are as close to "brown note" as I've ever heard.
posted by padraigin at 2:29 PM on May 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


Oh, man, I want to have a party and just play these without comment.
posted by Missense Mutation at 2:36 PM on May 20, 2016 [10 favorites]


From the post I thought the instrumentals would be repitched too, and I thought "Surely this can't be so bad." How wrong I was! As it is this is a fascinating, addictive sort of unpleasantness. Pluffnub's channel has a version of Take On Me where the vocals are a half step sharp instead of flat. It's just as terrible, but it's interesting to compare the two.

Oleg Berg has a wonderful channel where he keys songs written in major scale to minor and vice versa. My two favorites are Hey Jude, and Don't Happy, Be Worry.

Another entry in this delightful genre: the Imperial March from Star Wars repitched to major.
posted by egregious theorem at 2:40 PM on May 20, 2016 [5 favorites]


Ow. Ow ow ow ow.

Made it the furthest into "Take On Me" -- partway through the first chorus.

OWWWWWWWW
posted by Quasirandom at 2:54 PM on May 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


Mashup of Take On Me one half step flat and Take On Me one half step sharp.

Has a bit of trouble syncing the video but I kind of like it that way, especially at the chorus
posted by Existential Dread at 2:57 PM on May 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


I um...I sorta can't tell...I had to do multiple comparisons to the originals to figure out the difference.
posted by Shutter at 3:04 PM on May 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'd be interested to hear if it improves Grateful Dead songs.
posted by klarck at 3:09 PM on May 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


Do you think that Katy Perry and Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber sound more like this than like their songs before they get filtered through the autotune pre-processor?
posted by bukvich at 3:09 PM on May 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


I love this so much. It is closing time at the Ramada Inn bar on karaoke night. The one across from the truck stop.
posted by 4ster at 3:11 PM on May 20, 2016 [6 favorites]


Definitely throwing in one of these if I ever have a DJ set.
posted by hopeless romantique at 3:17 PM on May 20, 2016


a flat walks into a bar, the bartender says don't you look sharp

(as an imperative mind you)
posted by sylvanshine at 3:27 PM on May 20, 2016


I cannot stop laughing at this for whatever reason. Is this what they blast at Guantanamo Bay prisoners to wear them down? Because they totally should. I'm not so sure I wouldn't pick waterboarding in a choice between it and listening to these god forsaken clips in a never ending loop.

Also my cat hates these.
posted by bologna on wry at 3:27 PM on May 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


Not quite the same thing, but surely this crowd will appreciate the Alto's Lament.
posted by duffell at 3:28 PM on May 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


This is the kind of stuff future generations will be listening to seriously and unironically.

Chalk up another reason I'm glad to not have children?
posted by bologna on wry at 3:29 PM on May 20, 2016


Yeah, I didn't realize these would be from multitracks with isolated vocals, so listening to the A-Ha one went something like "Hmm, I really can't tell that it's tuned dow....oh, oh God NO!"
posted by TwoWordReview at 3:29 PM on May 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


I feel I have to mention Tim Minchin's F Sharp...
posted by AllShoesNoSocks at 3:33 PM on May 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


I have perfect pitch. I get mad when they pitch down "Happy Birthday."

God help me every time that song is sung. IT IS THE ABSOLUTE WORST. People are never in time, always off pitch, and the whole thing sounds more like a slow funeral march than anything resembling mirth or merriment.

Christ I'm getting worked up just thinking about it.
posted by bologna on wry at 3:35 PM on May 20, 2016 [7 favorites]


When I was younger I loved taking death metal tabs, exporting them to .mid files and then importing them into Logic Pro and changing the notes around.
posted by gucci mane at 3:41 PM on May 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


"see also this amazing rendition of Jump by Van Halen"

That's hilarious. Almost as good as this version.
posted by mikeand1 at 3:54 PM on May 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


That's hilarious. Almost as good as this version.

Oh my god, what even WAS THAT

David Lee Roth reminds me of that awkward uncle who you're embarrassed to be related to. You know the one, who gets on the dance floor at the wedding and thinks he's so hip with his hip, hip moves but to everyone else looks like he's having a seizure? Jesus.
posted by bologna on wry at 4:04 PM on May 20, 2016


Half step flat vocals are great! Let's expand this -- like, have the drums play at some fraction (very close to one) of the regular tempo, eventually coming back into sync by the end of the tune.
posted by klausman at 4:06 PM on May 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


> Just keep reaching, you'll eventually get those high parts.

> Holy crap, that is painful. I mean viscerally, wince-inducing, frantically-scrabbling-for-the-mouse painful.

Obligatory: O Holy Crap
What I love about it is just when you think it couldn't possibly get any worse, it does. By a lot. And it does this more than once, building to the most glorious mess I've ever heard. I smile every time I hear it.
posted by christopherious at 4:23 PM on May 20, 2016 [4 favorites]


I can't stand Duran Duran because Simon Le Bon always sounds just slightly flat and it drives me up the wall.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 4:30 PM on May 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Oleg Berg has a wonderful channel where he keys songs written in major scale to minor and vice versa.

Holy shit, thank you. I'm going to listen to all of these.
posted by moons in june at 4:33 PM on May 20, 2016


😭😭😭😭😭😭😭
posted by Enemy of Joy at 4:49 PM on May 20, 2016


I literally could not have told the difference if you played those for me without telling me they were off-key. If I'm listening, I can tell that something might seem a little off, but it wouldn't have particularly attracted my attention.

Mind you, when I used to play trumpet in middle and high school, I had to play up the scale until I hit the starting note for a given song and so that I could start off in the right place. Otherwise I was just as likely to start playing at the complete wrong note and kind of wander off into the cornfields.
posted by Scattercat at 5:04 PM on May 20, 2016 [3 favorites]



> Just keep reaching, you'll eventually get those high parts.


My god that is so funny I'm crying here
posted by leahwrenn at 5:20 PM on May 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


There's some sort of speed issue in these things... they didn't correct the speed of the vocal when they detuned them... that's the really annoying part for me.
posted by MikeWarot at 5:35 PM on May 20, 2016


Wow! I always thought I was tone deaf, but I hated these so much that I had to listen to the original versions to cleanse my ears. Maybe I can have a musical career after all!
posted by monotreme at 5:49 PM on May 20, 2016


It bothers me that I listened to that Take on Me clip and couldn't really tell….
Sometimes I can tell, other times I can't.


Hey! Have we worked together?

I was laughing and cringing until I got to "Never Gonna Give You Up" and "Firework". Whoa.
posted by bongo_x at 6:18 PM on May 20, 2016


Maybe I’ve just listened to so much free jazz and gnarly polytonal 20th-century classical that my ears are eager to pick apart any harmonic rat’s nest, but I am amazed by the degree to which these are not unmusical. They are all, to varying degrees, tense and challenging, but rather than sounding like a horrible mishmash, the vocals maintain one harmonic framework and the accompaniment supports a parallel but distant one, and then they kind of move past each other. It’s especially fun in Bohemian Rhapsody when the call and response bits alternate between the two keys.

I wouldn’t want to listen to these all the time by any means, but some interesting things happen by accident in them.
posted by musicinmybrain at 6:36 PM on May 20, 2016 [5 favorites]


I can't even tell you how much enjoyment my family and I have gotten out of this. Hours. My perfect pitch son and husband have been laughing to tears. Down the rabbit hole!
posted by cooker girl at 7:02 PM on May 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


I dunno this Kiss one sounds like every 2am karaoke bar I've ever been to, which is delightfully awesome
posted by St. Peepsburg at 7:15 PM on May 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


quoth the husband: "No, why would you do it? Why would you do this to yourself deliberately?"
posted by rebent at 7:29 PM on May 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


These have the same uncanny valley feel as the St. Sanders shred videos.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:35 PM on May 20, 2016


My ears, like, fought it. A wave of unease would hit, crest, and then my brain would like try to make sense of it, and tell me it was fine, and then oh no it's not fine. I think it's the closest I'm ever going to get to spacesickness.

Also... for all the comments about this being like bad singing... all I can think of now is how hard this would be to do intentionally.
posted by condour75 at 7:36 PM on May 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


i think i laughed myself into a hernia

that mashup of the sharp and flat versions of Take On Me is what the cenobites would play in their torture exercise room
posted by Existential Dread at 8:14 PM on May 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


Can any musicologists here explain why these are excruciating, but major-to-minor shifts are not? (I love "Hey Jude" in a minor key.)

(I do notice that it's much less bothersome if I don't know the original song.)
posted by zompist at 8:25 PM on May 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Let's expand this -- like, have the drums play at some fraction (very close to one) of the regular tempo, eventually coming back into sync by the end of the tune.

Or you could have just come to one of my band's gigs twenty years ago.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:26 PM on May 20, 2016 [5 favorites]


There exists an alternate universe where these are the real versions of these songs.
posted by dr_dank at 8:45 PM on May 20, 2016


Pluffnub must have been the audio engineer for Meatloaf's performance at the 2011 AFL Grand Final.
posted by Diag at 8:49 PM on May 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


That would actually be a neat prank to have a karaoke machine pitch down the vocal a half step. That would be super-weird, trying to compensate and sing what your muscles think is sharp to make your ear hear it in tune.
posted by ctmf at 10:02 PM on May 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


I knew a soundman that used to tune the guitars a step-up in the monitor mix only. Mean but very funny.
posted by ericthegardener at 10:10 PM on May 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


Can any musicologists here explain why these are excruciating, but major-to-minor shifts are not?

Not a musicologist, but from what I've heard the major-to-minor things are a different beast. They are shifting the whole song. It's not "wrong", the song could have been written that way, it's just not what you're used to hearing. If you didn't already know the song it wouldn't be funny or weird at all.

These things are different in that only the vocal is shifted so that it doesn't work with the other instruments. If the entire track were shifted it wouldn't sound wrong at all and most people wouldn't even know the difference. You actually hear tracks like this all the time. It's the new vocal notes against the old instrument notes that sounds so awful.

If the vocal only was shifted major to minor, but the instruments were not, it would sound weird, but only on certain notes, and wouldn't be as funny.
posted by bongo_x at 10:26 PM on May 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


In addition - someone correct me if I'm wrong - but it's only excruciating because we've been trained over a lifetime to find it irritating. There's nothing per se objectively "bad" going on, it's just that we are not used to this particular sound, which has been (more or less arbitrarily?) treated as a cardinal sin throughout western history.
posted by naju at 10:47 PM on May 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


I have a science nerd question: is there something intrinsically physical or biological behind a sound being on pitch and off? I mean, why do certain notes sound right and others not right? It's not the same for other senses, where everything (colors, sensation, smell) is more on a continuum.

Also, I also had a hard time telling that A-Ha were off pitch, but it was painfully obvious with Duran Duran.
posted by kanewai at 10:47 PM on May 20, 2016


(To put it another way: this is a deep dive into unorthodox microtonality, from the vantage point of familiar pop. It's funny in the way that other comedy that mashes up incongruous things is funny)
posted by naju at 10:50 PM on May 20, 2016


No, I wouldn't say we've been trained to find it irritating, although some make arguments like that I find them weird. It's more that there are certain sounds most people tend to like together and those are the ones people use most. None of it is "wrong" it's just something most people don't like. You aren't trained to not like Limburger cheese, but many people are naturally going to like Cheddar and only a minority will learn to appreciate Limburger.

(To put it another way: this is a deep dive into unorthodox microtonality, from the vantage point of familiar pop. It's funny in the way that other comedy that mashes up incongruous things is funny)

Ah, gotcha. Agree about the funny part, but it's not microtonal. It's just regular scales with notes that don't go well together. There's a reason these are half steps. It's an interval that is hard to make work well, and doing it consistently and constantly is what sounds so crazy.

is there something intrinsically physical or biological behind a sound being on pitch and off? I mean, why do certain notes sound right and others not right?

Math.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mathematics_of_musical_scales
posted by bongo_x at 11:26 PM on May 20, 2016


Can any musicologists here explain why these are excruciating, but major-to-minor shifts are not?


Major-to-minor shifts play with knowing the piece and hearing it in another mood, or tone color. For anyone who didn't know Hey Jude at all, the minor version would be an acceptable song, no questions asked.

Singing along half a tone off with the instruments, on the other hand, creates constant dissonance--on every note. Of course much of why we don't like this kind of grating has to do with training, cultural expectations etc. But it is also true (hence the cat not liking this either) that together-sounding seconds would occur naturally only quite far up in the overtones, while octaves, thirds and all the "consonant" stuff are more easily audible components of most musical tones--our ears are attuned to sounds of that kind. We're not nearly as well attuned to a whole song of parallel seconds.
posted by Namlit at 11:31 PM on May 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


Ah, thanks for the correction, not microtonal. Still think this is all culturally learned, though, not hardwired/biological. Would be interested in any information pointing to that.
posted by naju at 11:38 PM on May 20, 2016


Hey, they even treated some TWRP!

They've all got that wonderful "singing while wearing headphones" sound.
posted by scruss at 6:46 AM on May 21, 2016


Well, math, but there's also a psychoacoustic side. For example, most people will tolerate an interval of a fifth being much more out of tune than an interval of a third. How much that's cultural seems like a question we may not know how to answer yet but it sure seems likely to be some of it, to me.
posted by thelonius at 8:04 AM on May 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


I've got a bunch of stems kickin around, this sounds fun, let's give it shot:

Cult of Personality (Living Colour)

Trippin on a Hole in a Paper Heart (Stone Temple Pilots)

Roadhouse Blues (The Doors)

More Than a Feeling (Boston)

(Excuse the shitty mastering, I didn't really spend much time on these. And Soundclound's automated system flagged and removed the tracks on copyright infringement grounds so I had to use an audio hosting service that I'd never heard of.)
posted by Rhomboid at 9:37 AM on May 21, 2016 [7 favorites]


Oh, that More Than a Feeling is amazing, Rhomboid.
posted by cortex at 9:42 AM on May 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


Yeah, that one came out interesting because there's a track that contains both backing vocals and some guitar overdubs, so I couldn't really pitch shift it. So there's a smattering of in-tune vocals underneath the main vocals, as if there was a competent backup singer on set who was just shaking their head the whole time.
posted by Rhomboid at 9:54 AM on May 21, 2016 [3 favorites]


I'm an amateur musician and I've been playing things up to a half step off-key for decades. Glad to see it's becoming popular!
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 10:08 AM on May 21, 2016


"Like Pavarottii.....or Mussolini*
posted by thelonius at 11:06 AM on May 21, 2016


Man this is just a rabbit hole. You can try all different kinds of things. Danzig turns into Andre the Giant when you shift him down by a fifth.
posted by Rhomboid at 11:09 AM on May 21, 2016 [1 favorite]




(Oh shit, just noticed that I exported only the vocals track on that Danzig one. Trust me, it's hilarious with the rest of the tracks but I can't be assed to go back and redo it.)
posted by Rhomboid at 11:48 AM on May 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


God, that More Than A Feeling makes some really interesting and hilarious harmonies with the backing vocals. Oh man, 3:37 kills me
posted by Existential Dread at 11:49 AM on May 21, 2016


That Danzig one reminds me of the Alvin and the Chipmunks in normal voices FPP. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaalvin
posted by Existential Dread at 11:52 AM on May 21, 2016


Another murdered classic for you to barf to: Duran Duran - Rio. And apologies for the stereo imaging that seems to wander all over the place; I'm not spending much time on this actually trying to produce anything of quality, just a simple butchering.
posted by Rhomboid at 12:24 PM on May 21, 2016 [2 favorites]


Seeing Duran Duran get this treatment is pretty hilarious since apparently Simon Le Bon couldn't sing on pitch to the degree that the engineers had to triple his vocals to get it to sound okay. With one layer pitched a quarter step up and one pitched a quarter step down, one of the three would be on pitch.

The bohemian rhapsody one is pretty interesting, I thought. With all those harmonic layers it sounds more intentional than the others.

As far as why it sounds so 'excruciating', it is math. Our brains resolve the ratio of the various frequencies, with 1:2 and 2:3 sounding very harmonious (octave and perfect fifth). With a half step off, you are getting 15:16 throughout the entire piece. It's harder to resolve those ratios so it comes out as painful, but with ear training over time it shifts into sounding 'interesting'.
posted by thetruthisjustalie at 1:01 PM on May 21, 2016 [4 favorites]


HAH! I KNEW I WAS RIGHT ABOUT LE BON!
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 1:08 PM on May 21, 2016 [2 favorites]



Carry On Wayward Son as if heard coming from a seventh grade band practice room


That one's especially weird because unlike a bunch of the other ones, this time it sounds like the voice is in tune and the instrumentals are way off.
posted by leahwrenn at 2:17 PM on May 21, 2016


This is brilliant. I'm listening to the Bohemian Rhapsody one all the way through. It really reveals a huge amount about the harmonic content of the piece, and

It's done very well, by the way. I'm wondering how they managed to get Freddie's voice so clearly out of the mix..
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 2:28 PM on May 21, 2016


this time it sounds like the voice is in tune and the instrumentals are way off.

On that one the vocal track contained all kinds of other stuff (piano, organ, guitar overdub, etc.) so there was no way to do just the vocals. Instead I downtuned the main guitar track by a fraction of a semitone and tweaked the vocals+ up by a different tiny fraction of a semitone. There's no real method to this madness, I just wanted to make something that would sound bad in an interesting way.
posted by Rhomboid at 3:09 PM on May 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


Here's Blondie - Call Me with the vocals transposed up a semitone. Call me crazy (no pun intended), but it actually kind of works.
posted by Rhomboid at 4:02 PM on May 21, 2016


That's pretty great, Rhomboid. I could see that as the music for the climactic Buffy melee in the Bad Willow arc.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 6:41 PM on May 21, 2016


I'm curious.
Youtube wants to play me "Metallica - Master of Puppets (St. Anger version)".
I'm afraid to click.
posted by Mezentian at 5:43 AM on May 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


This should be punishable by death

This is seriously testing my staunch opposition to the death penalty. I mean, so long as we can definitively trace the IP address.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:26 AM on May 23, 2016


For those who were asking how it's done. Pluffnub has posted a helpful 'how it's done' video which shows he does indeed use the vocal only and instrumental only tracks that are available on youtube. There is software and techniques out there to extract vocals and single instruments from a mix, but even the most advanced techniques can be pretty hit and miss.

What's fascinating to me is the what our minds 'center' the tuning on and how easily that's disrupted. For example in the A-Ha track, during the chorus, it sounds like the guitars have a slight bend (from the tremelo arm I guess) which makes my brain assume the vocals are correct and the instrumental track is the one that is out of tune. I guess there is some relation to the the psychoacoustic concept of streaming here (essentially how our brain groups related sounds together into a single stream).
posted by TwoWordReview at 9:39 AM on May 23, 2016 [3 favorites]


« Older Just one race   |   Plug ‘n Play Part Phone Persists Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments