Thinking this was possibly a bit too good to be true, I then tried forcing the whole thing to a strict 93bpm — and it worked! Moving on, Eli covers working with tempo, by showing you how to record a free performance and then assign a tempo to it, and how to work with time signatures. Pros: Probably the best app around for manipulating digital audio. Once the audio has been captured, the experience of working in the Melodyne Studio plug—in is in most respects now no different from working in the stand—alone program. Now, revolutionary features in version 4 promise to make tempo and timbre equally fluid. You can access notes inside polyphonic material and make guitars, pianos, and other instruments shine.
Move it to the right, and dynamic variation within the sound is exaggerated; move it to the left, and the attack phase of the note is de—emphasised. A multitrack view can be enabled that allows you to see all instances of Melodyne in a project from within any one of those instances. So the first thing to be noted about the new versions is that it brings all of the different flavours of Melodyne back into sync. I found that more radical settings often worked better on monophonic material; pianos and guitars tended to degenerate into an unpleasant mess of artifacts, but I could pull the penny whistle solo described earlier into some very strange places indeed! The Phases control, meanwhile, adjusts the relative phase of the partials within your sound, and can have quite pronounced effects. The original guitar part was rhythmic, but after a bright start at 95bpm or so, slowed down gradually through the take, ending at 85bpm or so. For instance, in the key of C, a justly intonated E will be 14 cents flat compared with its counterpart in equal temperament. As with the rest of Melodyne 4, Celemony have clearly put much thought into developing a user interface which makes that functionality accessible.
The improvements to the user interface alone make the upgrade a no—brainer; add in the extraordinary tempo—manipulation features, true multitrack operation, new analysis algorithms and the limitless possibilities opened up by the Sound Editor, and you have a colossal step forward. Polyphonic Decay is similar to the original polyphonic algorithm, whereas Polyphonic Sustain is designed to work with sounds such as legato strings that do not contain clear note attacks. Pitch editing within polyphonic material is available only within the Studio and Editor editions of Melodyne. Simply whacking up the Magnitudes slider to full just makes everything sound like a rather dull synth brass patch, and you usually need to make fairly sweeping adjustments to the envelopes to restore some life and movement to the sound. These are paired with a couple of slider controls which are visible in all modes.
I wanted to add further rhythmic elements to the track, but the obvious tempo fluctuations made any drum part sit uneasily, so I decided to see whether Melodyne Studio could nudge the entire project towards strict tempo. Bring audio into Melodyne and it is analyzed for pitch, duration, formant, intonation and other characteristics. As long as I used Universal analysis mode for the polyphonic sources, there were no audible time—stretching artifacts that I could detect; and as importantly, the process preserved all the musical nuances of the performance. What that means in practice is if you have Melodyne inserted on several vocal tracks for example, you can view and edit all those notes at the same time from a single window, changing them by the same amount, conforming them and so on. It has correctly identified the acoustic guitar as the main rhythmic element and has generated a tempo map visible in the lower half of the screen that reflects the tempo of the session as a whole. Does that magical take just have too many flaws to be a keeper? Tempo edits in a multitrack Melodyne Studio session preserve phase accuracy between tracks, so you can work with multitrack drums or other multi—miked sources without incurring phase problems.
Existing users will find an avalanche of new features that will revolutionise the way they work with the program. How does it actually let you get inside the chords? Changes made in the Hi editor leave low notes unaffected, and vice versa; both can be used in conjunction with the main Harmonics page, so you can combine global and treble— or bass—specific edits. Melodyne 4 editor also lets you transpose notes, change timing, and even change formants, for perfect results every time. Easy to follow on a complex product. By contrast, the editing tools in Melodyne 4 just seem to do exactly what you want them to. It also works pretty well in related keys such as D major.
The only possible fly in this particular ointment concerns backwards compatibility. Slightly to my amazement, the analysis had not only correctly focused on the guitar as the main rhythmic element in the multitrack, but had created a tempo map that fitted it like a glove, requiring no editing at all. Can you keep a secret? At its heart is still the ability to manipulate polyphonic digital audio in astonishing detail, but there are some eyebrow-raising new tools as well, stuff you may not have even realized you needed. Towards its leftmost extreme, it actually begins to invert the original spectrum, so that peaks become troughs and vice versa. Direct Note Access for polyphonic as well as mono audio. Truly amazing company that has continued to put out and somehow miraculously improve an incredible, stand-out product.
Instead of correcting all notes to a fixed scale, Dynamic Just Tuning tries to find the sweetest intonation for each chord, given the musical context, and re—pitches the whole chord to minimise the degree by which the most affected note differs from equal temperament. Melodyne 2 was available in several different editions. Slightly spooked, I undid the automatic tempo adjustment and turned instead to the manual editing tools. Have had Melodyne for some time and this latest version adds some great functionality and comprehensive sound sculpting options. The last two options let you clear the mean spectrum entirely, or randomise it, to predictably unpredictable effect. Elastic Audio Melodyne Studio is fantastically powerful and arguably the best software of its kind around. It would sometimes mistakenly treat the noise component that marks the attack phase of a new note as belonging to the sustain phase of an existing note, with very audible results.
With a little practice, it becomes second nature to identify a slump, lump or hump in the tempo curve, select the appropriate section of it and drag to iron it out or exaggerate it, if you want. In the majority of real—world situations, the new tools for working with tempo in Melodyne 4 are a pleasure to use, and they carry out their work with a musicality and transparency that is, as far as I know, completely unprecedented. Of course I'am one to want to get the right take. The fact that every technique is demonstrated — and you can hear the result — makes remembering what to do on your own sessions so much easier. I'd just like even more. Audio files can be opened in the stand—alone Melodyne 4 through the Import dialogue, or by drag and drop, and additional files can be brought into a Melodyne project at any stage.