back in grad school, i road-tripped with sonja to her home turf of mississippi. i had met her folks once before after one of her recitals, but this would be the first opportunity for me to spend any amount of quality time with the potential in-laws. they were very nice, hospitable, and made a genuine effort to get to know me. her dad asked if i wanted to watch some tv (my sweet spot), so we plopped down in the living room and fired up the tube. the first thing we watched? back to back episodes of cheaters. no joke.
there has been quite an uproar in the news recently regarding obama's second inauguration. my ex-girlfriend beyonce is presumed to have lip-synced our national anthem. which side of the argument holds the advantage? she either mouths along with the track, acting like she is totally going for it - OR - she risks singing live and battles that goofy acoustical slapback, hoping everything goes well in a overexposed moment. sounds like a lose-lose proposition, ms. knowles.
do we like cheating? we are quick to bronx cheer a live performance that goes sour. baseball fans fell in love with sosa & mcgwire back in '98, but now the writers won't vote anyone from the steroid era into the hall of fame. we praise the long ball and whitney houston's version of the national anthem, yet spew barbs of purism in the same breath. should we insist that nothing be slight of hand yet still expect magic at every turn? make up your judgmental minds, people.
the adage of "if you ain't cheating you ain't trying" crosses over into many disciplines. in the recording studio, various takes of the same solo are scrutinized. punches in & out of certain sections is common place. fixing the pitch, adjusting the balance, modifying the tone, moving the attack, and building a solo like dr. frankenstein are all techniques used in production. i remember once hitting a clam in a piano solo and then picking my jaw up off the floor as i watched the engineer find the note and move it up a 1/2 step.
i just finished mixing my jazz band's performance of the snarky puppy tune "binky". i did some housecleaning - spruced up the solos, shined up the backgrounds, picked out the best guitar solo, borrowed the bass figure from later in the tune and pasted it into an earlier section, and stretched out the tambourine at the end. should i have done this? sure. in fact, i think it's my responsibility. i got the blessing of my students to throw on some scrubs and get surgical with the track. it came off nicely and the kids are super proud.
when i read a blogpost, i assume that the author has proofread their writing and corrected any grammatical blips. when i listen to something, i assume the artist has taken the care to go through their stuff with a fine-toothed comb. is tweaking your own work acceptable? you betcha. have i chopped up and rebuilt my own recordings? oh ... i'll never tell.