In college, I developed an interest in professional audio. This included mixing boards, amplifiers, microphones, and audio effects. I spent countless hours (when I should have been studying) setting up equipment, watching bands play, hauling heavy equipment around and talking about audio.
One day, a local band brought a new piece of equipment and inserted it between the microphone and the mixing board. I learned this effect was called “autotune.”
This technology analyzes a singer’s voice and determines if they are singing. If they are, it looks for when the singer holds a note. Then, the audio processor analyzes the intended key and adjusts the pitch so that the resulting voice “is perfectly on key.” Using autotune, an inexperienced singer sounds like they had many singing lessons and practiced for years.
During the band’s warmup, they “cut in” autotune, and the singer instantly became fantastic. The change impressed me; since then, autotune technology has drastically improved. In fact, the word has become synonymous with a particular artificial singing sound caused by setting the autotune to an unrealistically high level. Unfortunately, this technology has also drastically raised the bar, and audiences now expect live singers to be super talented. Meaning that singers are expected to use autotune.
What does this have to do with writing? Yesterday, I was slogging through my sixth book with Prowriting Aid and Grammarly. These powerful tools uncovered many errors and made excellent recommendations. The results pleased me; it was like I had years of writing classes…
While uplifting my words, the experience reminded me of first hearing autotune. One button press transformed the singer into a superstar. I realized my two writing tools are in the same class. Granted, the process is far more involved.
Note that autotune has no effect on the singer’s style, music type, or appearance. It only tweaks the voice at just the right time. So a bad song will still be a bad song. The same is valid with computer writing tools. The content could be dreadful, but the grammar and spelling will be fantastic. Well, in my case… Let’s settle for good. Alright, passable. Perhaps a smidge above dreadful.
Readers also benefit from writing tools with improved documents. As a result, readers do not tolerate basic mistakes. However, this is not quite the topic of this blog. I still get a warm feeling when I use Prowriting Aid and Grammarly. “This is the kind of writer I should be.” What astounding technology.
I still enjoy that magical moment of seeing my writing come alive after a good scrubbing. It makes me wonder what a singer feels when they hear their autotuned voice. I certainly remember the first time I used a spell checker. A completely transforming moment. I suppose my four blog readers also appreciate polished blogs without gibberish. See, I spelled “gibberish” correctly. Thanks, spell check!

You’re the best -Bill
January 04, 2023
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