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  Celemony Melodyne 7/10. Date Posted 27/09/2003. by Saeed Amen.

The great advantage of recording MIDI tracks is you can edit the whole performance. As such MIDI enabled instruments like keyboards have become very popular. However, with actual audio, eg. WAV files, you do not really have the flexibility to change the notes easily.

Now in its second version Melodyne attempts to change this all. The idea is quite simple, put in a track with a single instrument (eg. vocal or saxophone part) and it will detect the melody and put it into musical notation. You can change the length of the notes and the pitch.

Installation is not too difficult, but there are quite a few copy protection measures which require you to visit their website, similar to Microsoft's protection on XP. This prevents it from being installed on more than one machine.

I was quite sceptical until I actually tried it with a WAV file of my own (not of the specially prepared samples!) After waiting for a couple of minutes whilst Melodyne reads the WAV file and detects the melody, you are free to manipulate the track. You can also export the melody to a MIDI file, making it easy to create backing instruments for your vocal and working out the key of the vocal. If your computer can handle it, you can load up many tracks at once, but I prefered to load up the WAV edit it, and then take it back to my sequencer Sonar.

In most cases Melodyne manages to make the changes sound natural. However, you must use your common sense and your ear, when making changes. It is fine to change a note maybe half an octave, but not one or two, and expect it to sound natural. The same goes for making notes longer. In any case you can vary the melody of vocals to make them sound quite interesting.

This application is great fun, and creates so many possibilites. At six hundred pounds though (double the price of a decent sequencer), it is very much too expensive and explains why I cannot give it more than 7/10. For a professional remixer though, this piece of software is a must.