A device which raises or lowers the pitch of an input signal, in real time. The pitch shifter accomplishes this bit of sonic prestidigitation by digitally chopping the signal up into small chunks and then playing back the chunks faster or slower than the input rate.To make up the time difference, the pitch shifter must introduce splices into the signal; one of the distinguishing characteristics of a good unit is how well it covers up these splice points in the output. Pitch shifters are sometimes known as “Harmonizers”, but that word is a trademark of Eventide, which introduced the first practical pitch shifter in 1976. A pitch shifter differs from a frequency shifter in that it preserves the harmonic relationships between the different frequencies present in the signal. This means that the output signal will continue to timbrally resemble the input signal, up to a point; see munchkinization.

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