Autotune has been getting a lot of attention lately. Whether you use it in recording or in performance is between you and your sound guy, but I think it also has useful application in the practice room. Here’s how to use it to shed some light on your own intonation. (I’m using all free Windows software: Audacity and the GSnap plugin. You can also do it with Garage Band if you’re a Mac person.)
Record yourself playing something you would like to get better in tune. Slow scales and arpeggios work great for general intonation practice, but you can also use a repertoire piece.
Make a duplicate copy of the track.
Dial up some fairly rigorous autotune settings. The simplest way to do this is to use equal temperament settings, but depending on your software and your practicing goals, you can also adapt this to other tuning systems. This is just for practice, so don’t worry about making things sound unnatural. Go a little T-Pain on it.
Apply autotune to one of the tracks.
Play both tracks back together. The notes that make you wince the most are the ones that are most out of tune. Are there certain notes, registers, or dynamic levels that are consistently a problem?
Try muting the original track and playing along with the tuned one.
I like this method because it’s aural rather than visual (unlike using a chromatic tuner) and because it’s very results-focused. Try it over a few days or weeks and see how quickly you correct the pitch issues in your playing.
4 thoughts on “Using autotune in your practice sessions”
Nice tip! I’m going to have to give that a try!
Friggin’ brilliant, Bret!
I’m going to try this out. And by the way, Audacity is cross-platform.
Audacity is indeed cross-platform but the GSnap plugin does not work for Mac, it’s Windows only.