Technical GRAMMY Award: Celemony

Producer/songwriter A.R. Rahman pays tribute to innovative audio-editing software
  • Celemony's audio-editing software Melodyne
  • Photo: Samir Hussein/Getty Images
    A.R. Rahman
February 05, 2012 -- 3:55 am PST
By A.R. Rahman /

Since Celemony founder Peter Neubäcker introduced Melodyne in 2001 at the winter NAMM Show, the audio-editing software has been steadily recognized by the music industry for its innovation and contribution to how we approach the recording process. This revolutionary software has altered the music landscape for artists around the world, with icons such as Pete Townshend and Herbie Hancock joining me in singing its praises. While nothing will ever replace the truth and beauty of the human voice or a fine instrument, Melodyne is a window into what’s possible when technology and artistry intersect.

For more than 20 years, I've had the good fortune of successfully producing film soundtracks as well as my own solo albums and, from my experience, using Melodyne has completely changed how I record music. Beyond being a milestone in audio processing, Melodyne has, on a larger scale, helped ease the pressure for artists and producers in the studio who have a limited amount of time to record. If you think about the traditional recording process, hundreds of the tiniest details must go perfectly — one thing out of tune, and weeks of work can be lost. With Melodyne one can seamlessly correct out-of-tune notes in a piano track, change the chords in a harmonic accompaniment after it’s been recorded, or manipulate the timing within notes. The creation of music is enriched by this technology.

Founded in 1997 by Neubäcker in conjunction with his wife, professor Dr. Hildegard Sourgens, and software developer Carsten Gehle, the Munich-based company has grown to a staff of more than 20, serving tens of thousands of Melodyne users worldwide. The company is pursuing new frontiers in the realm of audio, evidenced in 2011 by the introduction of Neubäcker's latest invention, Capstan, a program that removes wow and flutter from musical recordings — on tape, compact cassette, wax, shellac, or vinyl.

I'm very happy to see that The Recording Academy has recognized Celemony with a Technical GRAMMY Award for its remarkable contributions to the world of music.

(A.R. Rahman won two GRAMMY Awards in 2009 for his score for the Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire. In 2011 he teamed with fellow GRAMMY winners Mick Jagger, Damian Marley, Dave Stewart, and Joss Stone for the project SuperHeavy.)

In addition to the GRAMMY Awards, The Recording Academy presents Special Merit Awards recognizing contributions of significance to the recording field, including the Lifetime Achievement Award, Trustees Award and Technical GRAMMY Award. Each year, The Academy invites friends and colleagues of Special Merit Awards recipients to pay tribute to the honorees' career accomplishments, while also adding colorful anecdotes and personal accounts. In the days leading up to the 54th GRAMMY Awards, will present the tributes to the 2012 Special Merit Awards recipients.

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