Vocabulary - Music

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Reading - Music

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Auto - Tune is a piece of software that is becoming increasingly popular with major singers and musicians. Although the technology was originally developed to map seismic activity in the oil industry, it is now used to modify the pitch of voices and instruments in the recording studio. Just as a well-known program can improve your photos by adjusting the colours, Auto - Tune can correct the sound of musical notes. This is particularly useful if you are a poor singer who sings out of tune. Simply switch on the computer and you will soon be hitting those high notes and singing in tune.

The strange thing is that, not only do bad singers use Auto - Tune, talented singers use it too. This is because the audio processor can also distort voices to make them sound more robotic. Listen to some recent dance music hits by artists such as Rihanna or Justin Bieber, and you will hear this effect. Some singers like Lady Gaga feel under pressure to modify the sound of their voice. She explained in a recent interview that she uses Auto - Tune because her fans expect her to sound a certain way, a way that is currently trendy. Getting this sound right is as important as the tune, rhythm and lyrics. As she says, 'If they (the listeners) don't hear that, it's not hip.'

But is using Auto - Tune cheating? Many music critics think so and have criticized recent releases for sounding as if they are sung by computers. Pop stars like Jay-Z and Christina Aguilera have said publicly that they won't use the product. Country music star, Allison Moorer, even put a sticker on one of her CDs stating that she hadn't used Auto - Tune to make the album. Despite this criticism, it seems the use of Auto - Tune is spreading. A famous record producer recently told TIME magazine that almost every singer he works with uses Auto - Tune. The technology is used in popular TV shows like Glee and some performers even use Auto - Tune in live concerts.

Pop music has always used electronic effects to make songs sound different. Like most things in pop, Auto - Tune is fashionable now, but in a few years something new will come along and Auto - Tune will be forgotten. It will probably still be used, however.

According to the text, are these sentences true or false?




Auto - Tune can make bad singers sound good.


Only bad singers use Auto - Tune.


Lady Gaga doesn´t make records using Auto - Tune.


Some singers use Auto - Tune to sound better when performing live.

Choose the best answer.

1. What is Auto - Tune?

a song
a computer program
a way to change your photos
an instrument

2. Lady Gaga uses Auto - Tune because...

she can't sing in tune
it makes her voice sound better
it makes her voice sound fashionable
Rihanna recommended it

3. Which statement is not true about music critics?

They criticized Jay - Z for using Auto - Tune
Their criticism hasn't stopped producers from using Auto - Tune
They don't like the effect that Auto - Tune has on the sound of songs
They think it's a dishonest way to make music

Grammar - Modals

Choose the correct alternatives.

1. You don't have to / mustn't pay for the music you download from this website - it's completely free!

2. If you wish to return your MP3 player, you can't / must bring the receipt.

3. To protect your CDs, you shouldn't / can't touch the surface.

4. The band is coming onstage. Can / Must you see them?

5. You have to / mustn't practise every day to be a great guitarist.

6. You needn't / ought to send your songs to a producer. They're great.

Complete the sentences using modal verbs.

1. It's possible that this song will get to number one this week. (could)

This song

this week.

2. It's advisable to know the lyrics if you want to sing along. (should)


if you want to sing along.

3. It's obvious to me that Tim knows about music. (must)



4. Perhaps she doesn't want to go to the concert. (might)


to the concert.

5. You are not permitted to take photos at the gig. (mustn´t)


at the gig.

6. It's impossible that Dave is a fan of theirs. (can´t)


of theirs.

Grammar - Modal Perfects

Complete the sentences using modal perfects.

1. I didn't go to the concert and now I regret it.


to the concert.

2. He obviously broke his leg because it's in plaster.


his leg because it's in plaster.

3. It was wrong of you not to tell me the truth.


me the truth.

4. I can't find my purse. Perhaps I left it on the bus.


my purse on the bus.

5. I'm sure she wasn't at the party. She was on holiday.


at the party.

6. It's possible they took an umbrella with them. I just don´t know.


an umbrella with them.

Complete the sentences using the correct form of can or be able to.

1. When she was three, Silvia

play the guitar.

2. Now she

also play the drums.



practise the violin this week or has been too busy?

4. In a few years, she

play the violin perfectly.