The Columbia Chronicle

Defenders of R&B musician R. Kelly show their support for him after his hearing at the Dirksen Federal Building in downtown Chicago, Thursday, March 5.

R. Kelly pleads not guilty during hearing, new trial date set for October

March 5, 2020

In a hushed courtroom filled with dozens of fans and supporters, R&B artist R. Kelly pleaded not guilty to an updated, superseding federal indictment as investigators revealed the seizure of appro...

Provost finalists to visit campus, Kim announces first candidate

Columbia closes multiple programs

February 8, 2019

Dance Movement Therapy and Early Childhood Education programs are no longer going to be offered at the college beginning in the Fall 2019 semester, according to a Feb. 8 email to the Faculty Senate fr...

The EPitome of vinyl success

The EPitome of vinyl success

April 16, 2018

International Record Store Day offers vinyl aficionados an opportunity to salute those unique, beloved brick-and-mortar establishments immortalized in the day dreams of hipsters and fogies alike.The April 21 c...

Sexual assault must be addressed regardless of circumstances

Turns out, you can pick your family

By Arabella Breck

April 24, 2017

Cases of sexual assault and gender-based violence in South Sudan increased by 64 percent in 2016 compared with 2015, said Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General and U.N. Resident and H...

Columbia has 138 student veterans currently using benefits provided by the college, according to Paul Loretto, the veterans educational benefits counselor.

Student and faculty veterans discuss transitioning into college

November 11, 2016

Like many military members, Columbia's student veterans are only honored once a year on Veteran's Day. Yet veterans struggle with the effects of military service all year round, many for the rest ...

Sexist comments show Kasich is no GOP savior

By Associate Editor

April 25, 2016

At an April 15 town hall in Watertown, New York, a woman in her first year of college at St. Lawrence University asked GOP presidential candidate John Kasich what he would do as president to protect women like her from sexual harassment and assault, according to a Politico article published the same day.Kasich initially responded with sympathy for sexual assault victims, even pointing out he has teenage daughters, but his wa...

No time limit on justice when adults molest minors

April 18, 2016

Former Speaker of the House, Congressman from Illinois and Yorkville High School wrestling coach Dennis Hastert has been convicted of illegally structuring bank withdrawals to pay for the silence of one of his alleged sexual abuse victims, according to an April 8 New York Times article. Federal investigators discovered that Hastert was withdrawing large sums of money, which were used to pay off a former student. The prosecutio...

Producers continue to take advantage of ‘Crazy Kids’

By Managing Editor

October 20, 2014

Kesha and songwriter/producer Dr. Luke have dominated the headlines in the last week after the pop star filed a lawsuit against Luke on Oct. 14 for allegations of sexual, physical and verbal abuse, according to an Oct. 14 Billboard report. The 27-year-old star filed a 28-page complaint, which details alleged accounts of rape and mental torment by Luke along with other kinds of abuse the pop star says she experienced at Luke’s...

Auto-tone deaf

November 12, 2012

FOR SOMEONE WHO raps about brushing her teeth with a bottle of Jack, one would assume she’d be a tough bitch who couldn’t care less about public opinion. But in an October interview with Billboard magazine, popstar Ke$ha seemed fed up with negative comments about her musical abilities. In the article, Ke$ha said she has pulled away from auto-tune, which was used consistently on her debut album, “Animal,” because she wants to make something clear: She has legit vocal skills. “I got really sick of people saying that I couldn’t sing,” Ke$ha told Billboard. “I can do very few things confidently in my life, and one of them is that I can sing.” Excuse me, Ke$ha, for assuming your “white-girl rapping” discredits you as the next Adele. It might be a little hard to take you seriously when your lyrics are as substantial as they are wholesome. However, I digress. There’s a larger argument to be made here: that there shouldn’t be an argument at all. Auto-tune, in a lesser-known way, is taking over the music industry whether we as listeners like it or not. Similar to a subtle Photoshop retouch, the use of auto-tune is sometimes disguised from our ears. It all started in 1996 when a man named Andy Hildebrand, who worked for the oil industry at the time, wanted to create a way to use sound waves to locate potential drill sites. While at a dinner party, a guest challenged him to invent a box that would allow her to sing better. He created a device that would automatically alter her voice’s sound waves to a different pitch. After he studied autocorrelation for a few months, he created auto-tune. Now the music industry uses auto-tune plug-ins that take live vocals and automatically tune notes to the correct pitch, digitally creating a better sound wave than was actually produced. Almost immediately after it was released, studio producers and engineers used it as a trade secret to quickly cover up flubbed notes, which saves them the expense and hassle of having to re-record sessions. The program’s re-tune speed can be set from zero to 400. When it’s set on zero, the program will instantly change the original pitch to the target pitch, changing the output pitch and disallowing a natural transition between notes, which creates the robotic, heavily edited, synthetic sound of artists like T-Pain, Cher and Ke$ha. Set on higher numbers, the program will take more time to adjust the output pitch to the target pitch. This method smooths over the edited notes and makes it hard to distinguish which artists are fiddling with auto-tune. If you listened to 10 pop songs today, nine of them would likely feature this technology. Nowadays, anyone can use auto-tune. A $99 version for DIY musicians was released in November 2007, and T-Pain and auto-tune’s parent company teamed up in 2009 to create an iPhone app that features auto-tune software. I’m sure people are infuriated that Ke$ha is a famous performer, because auto-tune can re-create anyone’s voice to replicate recording artists, making her seemingly talentless.This has led people to argue that music was better back in the day, but I would argue that musicianship mattered more “back in the day” because that’s how artists sold records—they performed well. Pitch correcting microphones weren’t invented until the late ’90s, so precision was key. Now, two clicks of a button can get you a perfect sound. It isn’t the industry’s fault, though. Millions of dollars worth of music is illegally torn out of the label’s grasp and put on consumers’ iPods, which forces labels to conduct heavy market research and create airbrushed “Barbie doll” versions of musicians who are guaranteed to sell. With virtually no control over today’s consumer, labels have had no choice but to combine their money and advanced recording technology to make the best-sounding and best-looking artists for the market, forcing the industry into a heavily commercialized post-digital age. Not only does this open up the music industry to performers who are entrepreneurs rather than musicians, it can also make for disappointing concerts and ultimately a more competitive industry. We can’t fight auto-tune (sorry, Jay-Z). Instead, the consumers needs to be aware of its presence. Talented, un-edited artists still exist, but it might take a little more digging to find them. Complaining about the existence of auto-tune or lack of musicianship in today’s popular artists is like complaining that McDonald’s fast food isn’t fine-dining. It’s synthetic and horrible, but it’s everywhere. Whether or not we agree with its nutritional value, it tastes great. 

Battling child abuse

By Lauryn Smith

November 28, 2011

Organizations across the country are taking action in the aftermath of the Pennsylvania State University sex scandal.One such organization, the Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center, is attempting to raise awareness of how to prevent child sexual abuse. The nonprofit organization is conducting bi-monthly media receptions in hopes of gaining support for CCAC’s mission.The Penn State scandal has reminded people that sexual a...

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