I was working on a song recently in the studio and I decided to try a new virtual piano sound that I had heard was supposedly fantastic and authentic sounding. When I added the piano into my recording, something started to sound off pitch. It wasn’t exactly out of tune, but there was something in the tuning that was causing me to cringe. I thought to myself, “I must be wrong. Virtual instruments are tuned perfectly because all the sounds are samples from the computer. I must be hearing things.” I decided to ignore it and move on. I even sent the recording to some friends to see if they could hear the tuning issues I was hearing. Everyone said it was fine. Even my friend with perfect pitch said she could not hear anything off. I ignored my own ears and what I was hearing even though it was driving me crazy. I thought I was losing my sense of pitch and started to panic. I started researching sudden hearing changes and read up on musicians who went tone deaf overnight. It was all very dramatic.
Finally I decided to give my ears the benefit of a doubt and decided to objectively test if the piano was indeed out of tune. I played a few different notes into a tuning program and lo and behold…the piano was consistently 5 cents sharper than standard tuning. I went back into the recording and lowered the tuning of the piano by that same amount and voila, the tuning problem immediately disappeared. My frazzled mind was finally at peace as everything started making musical sense to my brain.
The larger lesson in all of this? Trust your instincts. There are times when we look at the world and we get this strange feeling that things that are slightly off. Often it’s very subtle. Maybe it’s hints of racial oppression, or insidious religiosity. Maybe it’s gossip disguised as sincere concern. And maybe the people around us don’t even notice it. The temptation may be to resign yourself to the status quo. Bury your head in the sand and cover your ears. But I think we have God given instincts that let us know when something is slightly “out of tune.” And we can either believe that everyone else is right or test it out for ourselves. The truth always unveils itself to those who are trying to find it.
Those are my thoughts for tonight. Peace.