Melodyne Spangled Banner

”This Time It’s Political, Baby!”

This video is my reinterpretation of the Catus Cutie’s performance of ”the Star Spangled Banner”. Basically I wanted to make a political stand on current global events caused and enforced by the USA through rearranging their national anthem in a way I saw more fit. I think it actually sounds more beautiful this way.
This was done using some advanced Melodyne techniques in order to make the changes as unnoticeable as possible (read on further down for an explanation of what Melodyne is). This is almost musical surgery and a trained ear will still hear digital artifacts from the editing, but hopefully some of you won’t realize that they are not singing the song like this at all. Compare with the original to the right to experience the difference.
The idea to play around with the Star Spangled Banner sprung while I was doing basic composition assignment for school (we were to put together a simple minuet). I made a quick sketch – so please pardon the sound – where I changed the major scale into an oriental for an ironic twist fit for Americas newest state ”Iraq”. Originally I was going to do the same but with vocals, but since oriental music does not use chords and the girls were singing harmonies I had to tweak the idea. Have a quick listen if you want a feel of how it could have turned out:
Star Strangled Tanner

What is Melodyne?

I actually just started using the new version of Melodyne called ”Melodyne Editor” and this video was a way to learn how to operate the software. Melodyne is a pitch correction software similar to Auto-Tune yet much more versatile. These pieces of software are mainly aimed at correcting vocals that are a bit off in pitch, but can also be used for correcting melodies in any kind of instrument. Overuse of this tool creates a synthetic sound that was made famous through Cher’s song ”Believe” and can be heard on any kind of moronic hip-hop or R&B tune on modern radio. However and unfortunately, pitch correction is subtly used on almost every song released today which makes most of the modern pop stars just as fake as Milli Vanilli back in the day.
In the new Melodyne Editor it is now possible to pitch correct polyphonic material (more than one note played at the same time). This enables you to ”dive into” the music and change certain notes in a chord without affecting the others. They call it Dynamic Note Access (DNA). Watch this video to get the idea: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jFCjv4_jqAY. As most audio professionals will tell you, something like this should be more or less impossible which makes it so utterly mind blowing. For instance, someone could record a childrens choir and not have the recording totally ruined if one of the kids is out of tune. Just fix it afterwards like this guy did!
Melodyne is foremost an editing software but it’s so powerful and versatile that I would not be surprised if people start using it as a composing tool like I have instead.

Original video

Comments ( 8 )
  • John says:

    rather impressive, I much favor the new version!

  • Ron Thompson says:

    Why was it necessary to insult four innocent young children, their families and friends to make your point? If it’s the Iraq war you’re objecting to, they didn’t start it and aren’t fighting it. These are decent kids of high character. Apparently you share neither trait!

  • Terri Sites says:

    Seriously? Your ”global political statement” entails ”altering” the singing of four young girls who sing because they love it so much and have loved it for as long as they can remember? I suppose you would embrace & welcome someone altering your compositions in the same manner? Do you compose for the ”love of composing”? Do you study music because you love it and it brings you joy? Of all of the singers and performers you could target for your ”global political statement”…you chose the Cactus Cuties? That has to mean–THEY have the best performance of the Star Spangled Banner you’ve heard. I doubt that you would have chosen a ”lesser” performance. It also means you know that 7 1/5 million viewers have seen the original Youtube video of their performance of the US National Anthem. Perhaps you are hoping that your ”version” will get that many views? Capitalizing on 4 young girls to further your own career gains….hmmm, isn’t that exactly the type of behavior you ”accuse the USA of doing”?

  • earnest boatrite says:

    i agree with ron thompson in this issue

  • Bull says:


  • Jeff says:

    have you thought about publishing a score for this version?

  • wrench says:

    Sure I have, unfortunately I can’t find the time. I plan on someday making a proper choir piece out of this. When that happens you will be the first to know. Thanks for watching!

  • Justin Draper says:

    Wow let’s not get melodramatic here… I think it’s an interesting demo of a very impressive technology and sounds beautiful!

    What’s insulting about it? It would take just as much skill to sing this version as the unmodified one!

    As for a political statement, you people’s negative reactions further the point that I feel like this video tries to make. The fact that he used a popular video of american youth singing our national anthem has great symbolism considering the sad state of our union and the atrocities we have committed at home and abroad in recent times.

    Great work!

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