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PostPosted: Sat Nov 16, 2002 7:06 am 
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All jokes aside, anyone know how the vocals on Greggery Peccary were recorded? Did FZ do it by slowing down the backing tracks and singing over them or was equipment to 'munchkinize' the sound of your voice without changing the musical key you're singing in already available in the mid-seventies? <br>

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 16, 2002 9:33 am 
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I used CoolEdit 2000 to time-stretch the 'Cheepnis' vocals. You can get a free working version from http://www.syntrillium.com , although the demo version only allows you to save your files for the first 30 days you use it. (Of course, there are ways to disable that eehm... "feature" *cough*cough* ;))<br><br>About Overnite Sensation: I think he used some weird effects on the vocals too, like on Montana where he sings "Gonna be a Mental Toss Flycoon", although I'm not sure if this was done by changing the pitch of the recording. On the 'Token of My Extreme' video, he uses some kind of device to lower his voice an octave.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2002 1:53 am 
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Interesting topic, and while we're on the subject of speeding up and down instrument parts and vocal parts, I have a liitle question about the background vocals on Montana....<br>I've read somewhere that Frank ''used'' a little bit of Ike Turner and The Ikettes for that....<br>Is this true....????

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2002 10:59 am 
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[quote author=MentalTossFlycoon link=board=legends;num=1037420362;start=0#7 date=11/16/02 at 22:58:17]<br>As for Greggary Peccary, it was almost certainly done by his usual tape speed method. The thing is, when I slowed it down, I didn't quite recognize the voice. You don't suppose it's........ nah, couldn't be......<br>[/quote]<br><br>You know.. that is weird. I've tried it as well, but I also can't get it to sound like Frank at all. Perhaps the process isn't really reversible without access to the original master tapes.. Anyway, this is the best I could do:<br><br>http://onlinerock.com/musicians/purpletentacle/peccary.mp3

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 18, 2002 2:57 pm 
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[quote author=Studebaker link=board=legends;num=1037420362;start=0#6 date=11/16/02 at 11:33:06]About Overnite Sensation: I think he used some weird effects on the vocals too, like on Montana where he sings "Gonna be a Mental Toss Flycoon", although I'm not sure if this was done by changing the pitch of the recording. On the 'Token of My Extreme' video, he uses some kind of device to lower his voice an octave.[/quote]<br><br>I think the effect used on the 'Token of My Extreme' Show is an octaver (a.k.a. octave divider). This device uses some ring modulation to produce a lower sound (but it's different than a pitch shifter). We can also hear it on the sung section of Approximate on the same video ...<br>

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2002 10:51 am 
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[quote author=Chris_Federico link=board=legends;num=1037420362;start=0#9 date=11/18/02 at 12:31:59]<br>Tina Turner and a couple other girls from the Ikettes sang backing on "Montana" and "Uncle Remus."<br><br>Why didn't they get credit on Frank's albums, then?<br><br>Because Ike Turner -- y'know, the ABUSIVE ASSHOLE -- didn't want Tina's name to be displayed anywhere unless HIS name was there too. This is a true story. Ike Turner didn't give Frank permission to put Tina and the Ikettes' names on the album covers.<br><br><br>CF[/quote]<br><br>Parts of Apostrophe and Overnite Sensation were recorded either in Ike's studio or in a studio where Ike & Tina Turner were also recording. Zappa decided to put backing vocals on some of the tunes. From what I've read, it's true that Ike was an asshole who didn't let the girls get credit on the album covers (hence, I guess, there are names like "Debbie" on Apostrope). More interesting was that he also didn't let them get any more money than what he pays. So, for spending hours upon hours to get lines like "I'm pluckin de olll' dennil flaaaws" right, the girls -including Tina- made the same money as they do for singing "doo-wap doo-wap doo".<br>

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2002 1:01 pm 
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[quote author=Studebaker link=board=legends;num=1037420362;start=0#10 date=11/18/02 at 12:59:46]<br><br>You know.. that is weird. I've tried it as well, but I also can't get it to sound like Frank at all. Perhaps the process isn't really reversible without access to the original master tapes.. Anyway, this is the best I could do:<br><br>http://onlinerock.com/musicians/purpletentacle/peccary.mp3[/quote]<br><br>I heard a snippet of the file (I buffer for days), and it sounds like Frank to me; he seems to be purposefully elongating dipthongs and overpronouncing syllables to make them come out sounding more normal during regular-speed playback.<br>

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2002 4:04 pm 
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[quote author=MentalTossFlycoon link=board=legends;num=1037420362;start=0#14 date=11/19/02 at 18:01:31]<br><br>Ah yes.... one of my personal favorite lines...<br><br>Zappa also did a remarkable thing with the background vocals on that song; he changed the pitch while they were singing. As they were singing the line "I plucked all day an' all nite an' all Afternoon," he slowly turned down the speed of the tape deck. The singers had to adjust to the slower speed and lower key while they were singing. On playback, you can hear their voices get more and more chipmunky....<br><br>It must have required dozens of takes to get this effect just right. Zappa often used tape-speed effects; but as far as I know, this is the only time he actually changed the recording speed while he was recording.<br><br>It must have been a huge pain in the ass to do that, and I wonder how many people even noticed what a startling effect it was. But that's Frank for ya....[/quote]<br><br>Is this documented somewhere or are you relying on your own ears?<br>

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2002 10:18 pm 
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[quote author=MentalTossFlycoon link=board=legends;num=1037420362;start=15#16 date=11/19/02 at 22:15:07]<br><br>It's not documented anywhere that I know of, but it's perfectly apparent that the voices are pitching up during the passage. I couldn't think of another way he could have done it then, although there are several ways he could do it today. <br><br>If you can come up with an alternate explanation, I'd love to hear it.[/quote]<br><br>If you're talking about using a VSO to adjust the pitch, he wouldn't have necessarily needed to change the pitch while the ladies were singing; he could have punched their vocals in after slowing down the speed of the tape deck. That way they wouldn't have had to be in a constant state of adjusting to brand new pitch information in real time...he could have given them plenty of lead-in time to get adjusted to their new pitch climate, or climates, depending upon the number of punches and VSO resettings.<br><br>He could have done this in the middle of extremely quick phrases needing extremely quick punches (if only one bg vocal track was available, which I seriously doubt) if Kerry McNabb was behind the board. Which I'm pretty sure he was.<br>

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2002 10:47 am 
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[quote author=MentalTossFlycoon link=board=legends;num=1037420362;start=15#18 date=11/20/02 at 04:15:17]<br><br>OK.. What I think you're saying is that he recorded the ladies twice; once at one VSO setting and again at another setting. Then, during mixdown, he just switched from one track to the other. Is this what you meant?<br><br>If it is, it's certainly simpler than the scenario I suggested. The problem is, it sounds to me that the change in the voices is continuous (you can't do that by switching tracks). I've listened to it dozens of times, and I still have my doubts.<br><br>Geez, I wish Frank was here. If he would just log on and say "Them was right," I'd drop it.<br><br>In any case, thank you Them. When I suggested that you supply an alternate explanation that made sense, I doubted you could. You did. Hats off to you.[/quote]<br><br>Or, if the bg vocals were recorded on one track with all the girls singing together around a mic (again doubtful, but instructive to my point), he could have done something like this (with each punch representing an engaging of the tape machine's record mechanism coinciding with a pre-determined and pre-realized shift in tape speed):<br><br>[Punch in] "I'm plucking the old dental floss [keep the performance, rewind, reset the VSO, preroll, punch in] Even if you think it is a little silly folks [keep the performance, rewind, reset the VSO, preroll, punch in] I don't care if you think it's silly folks [keep the performance, rewind, reset the VSO, preroll, punch in] I don't care if you think it's silly folks"<br><br>The final punch would need to be extremely quick, but Kerry McNabb was up to the task; and the girls would have had to be at the absolute top of their game (and they were; neither Tina nor the Ikettes had ever, or would ever, sing anything remotely as difficult as their parts on this song).<br><br>If this was how a VSO speed-up effect was accomplished, Zappa would have undoubtedly given the singers enough pre-roll to become accustomed to their new pitch climates, and during this preroll they would have heard the "keeper" tracks they sang that occurred prior to the punch-in they were currently focused on, which would have given them vocal pitch references as well.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2002 3:52 pm 
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[quote author=Chris_Federico link=board=legends;num=1037420362;start=15#20 date=11/21/02 at 14:31:03]<br>Just to name one example at random, "Let's Make the Water Turn Black" is not heard at normal singing speed.<br><br>Frank's double-tracked voice is ever-so-slightly sped up during this great tune, which amounts to a parody of folk-like '60s songs with stories in them (like those by Dylan, the Byrds, etc.).<br><br><br>CF<br>[/quote]<br><br>  Talking about "Let's Make the Water Turn Black", have you ever noticed that the first chords of this tune are the same than The Beatles's "A Day in the Life"?<br>  Zappa even pushed the limit to play exactly the same voicings on the acoustic guitar ... Considering that We're Only In It For The Money is a parody of Sgt Pepper, I think it's an intentional choice !

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 22, 2002 6:09 pm 
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FZ probably used the Eventide Harmonizer.<br>FZ was really a studio wiz...<br>


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