Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 17

Thread: Too many harmony parts

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Minneapolis
    Posts
    27
    Thanks
    11
    Thanked 6 Times in 6 Posts
    Rep Power
    0

    Too many harmony parts

    Sign in to disable this ad
    Anyone have any good harmony/background vox tips or ideas?

    I'm working on some alternative rock and acoustic type songs for an upcoming release. All my parts are recorded already, so this is more of a mixing question. Almost all of my songs have a main vocal part and two harmony parts (one higher and one lower). Typically, main vocal is center and I will pan the harmony parts a little bit L-R and bring them down a bit below the main vocal line. I also sometimes double the main vocal during choruses and have some random oohs and aahs sprinkled throughout.

    But at this point, almost every vocal part has a harmony part (Verse, chorus, bridge, etc.) throughout the entire song. I feel like it may be too much. I'm a little concerned that it will get tiring or boring to the listener. So then I thought maybe mute some and have harmony parts only during chorus, 2nd verse etc. Just not sure what the best rule of thumb is for mixing harmonies with the most impact. Is too many harmonies a bad thing?

    Any ideas or suggestions on how to include 3 part harmony in my songs, but using it sparingly so there is impact and the listener doesn't get bored.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    2,773
    Thanks
    6
    Thanked 311 Times in 280 Posts
    Rep Power
    5753153
    Quote Originally Posted by toddfugere View Post
    All my parts are recorded already, so this is more of a mixing question.
    Well, at this point it's an editing question isn't it? You need to decide what to cut and what to keep. Then you can mix it. It's actually a writing/arrangement question, but you kicked that can down the road. One wonders why you recorded all of these things. Was it just by rote? Did you think about how it was actually serving the production? If you'd had a stronger and clearer vision at the start, you wouldn't be second-guessing yourself now.

    I know that doesn't help but I really can't give you any advice here because I'm not listening to what you've got. If I was, I certainly wouldn't follow any rules. I'd just listen and decide and do.

    I will throw one little trick that might be worth a try. Sometimes it can be fun to obscure the harmonies behind heavy effects rather than cut them out altogether. Could be as simple as muting the dry tracks out of the mix while leaving their reverb sends active. Or you can get a little weird with distortion and some filters and almost make it into another instrument. Course in DAW we can actually turn it into another instrument by using the track to generate MIDI notes...

  3. The Following User Says Thank You to ashcat_lt For This Useful Post:


  4. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    U.K.
    Age
    33
    Posts
    19,256
    Thanks
    1,174
    Thanked 982 Times in 866 Posts
    Rep Power
    1000000
    I know there's a huge value in planning the arrangement and structure in advance but I tend to do what you've done, on purpose.

    Of course if a group have a solid and well known arrangement then I'll record that and be done but if there's any ambiguity I tend to record everything I might need,
    then work out what I actually need/want later.

    Probably not a popular approach but It's just something I've settled into.

    I tend to use harmony lines and bvox for movement/difference, where there's repetition, to keep the song interesting.
    So if, for example, if three are three choruses in the song which are largely the same, I might use no bvox in the first, some in the second, and all in the last.
    Same with verses; Maybe I introduce a single harmony part with/half way through a first verse but, then, maybe the next verse has more going on.

    Quite often it ends up with less is more, maybe I have a whole part recorded for a verse but, in the end, only use one small part of that to highlight a certain line, or whatever.

    As I say, I doubt that's a common approach but where there's any uncertainty I like having all the options then 'painting' them in afterwards.

    Quote Originally Posted by toddfugere View Post
    Any ideas or suggestions on how to include 3 part harmony in my songs, but using it sparingly so there is impact and the listener doesn't get bored.
    Gradual introduction. If you reveal all the recorded parts right from the start then the listener probably will get bored.
    Revealing melodies and voices bit by bit keeps that movement and interest up.
    Last edited by Steenamaroo; 01-09-2019 at 11:38. Reason: typo
    ---------- Steenaudio Website ----------

  5. The Following User Says Thank You to Steenamaroo For This Useful Post:


  6. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Minneapolis
    Posts
    27
    Thanks
    11
    Thanked 6 Times in 6 Posts
    Rep Power
    0
    I appreciate that advice "stronger clearer vision at the start." Never really considered that. Basically, I built a house without a blueprint and wonder why it's f'd up. The other mistake I always make is recording more than what I need and cutting later, but then I completely struggle and second guess what needs to be cut later. Not to mention, I waste a lot of time recording parts I do not need (plus editing). Thank you.

  7. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Austin, Texas
    Posts
    14,341
    Thanks
    58
    Thanked 592 Times in 540 Posts
    Rep Power
    21474863
    It is not a bad thing to record more than you need. The fun part comes when you pare it down and get a better song out of it.

    I was going to give you my thoughts on arrangement, but Steeno said everything I was going to, so... yeah, I second what he said.

    Start out small and let the song build as it goes.

  8. The Following User Says Thank You to Chili For This Useful Post:


  9. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Minneapolis
    Posts
    27
    Thanks
    11
    Thanked 6 Times in 6 Posts
    Rep Power
    0
    Thanks. Yeah, I like this advice a lot "Gradual introduction. If you reveal all the record parts right from the start then the listener probably will get bored. Revealing melodies and voices bit by bit keeps that movement and interest up."

  10. The Following User Says Thank You to toddfugere For This Useful Post:


  11. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Ranelagh Tasmania
    Age
    68
    Posts
    7,714
    Thanks
    195
    Thanked 581 Times in 471 Posts
    Rep Power
    21474857
    Gradual introduction is a good and standard technique.

    Another possibility is to examine the musical story: what do the music and lyrics tell you? Are there moments of drama which would benefit from many voices? Are there more reflective moments that would benefit from fewer, if just one, voices?

    Are there particular words or phrases that are key and could be emphasized with harmonies, while the words around them remain solo-voiced?

    Is there a particular point in the song where it all gets too much and you need to give the listener a break by emptying everything out?

  12. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to gecko zzed For This Useful Post:


  13. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Fremantle, Australia
    Age
    62
    Posts
    5,879
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 210 Times in 192 Posts
    Rep Power
    11804435
    I record a lot of clients that want to fill everything up with harmonies, my advice is that you put harmonies where you want the song to lift, usually the chorus. However don't just go to this plan, I recently recorded a song when we had some scattered harmonies in the verses and none in the chorus.

    Another thing to consider is that don't get stuck in the high low harmony thing, for example sometimes you could have 2 high harmonies, one on the 3rd and one on the 5th above the 3rd, this depends on where the main vocal range is. Even try 2 vocals singing the 3rd above in unison (double track the 3rd).

    But remember sometimes less is more.

    Alan.

  14. The Following User Says Thank You to witzendoz For This Useful Post:


  15. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Posts
    99
    Thanks
    89
    Thanked 15 Times in 15 Posts
    Rep Power
    214751
    It's all about arrangement as folks have already said. I certainly believe in the gradual introduction, but that is merely one technique to maintain interest.
    My method is to harmonise as much of the song as possible in the tracking stage.
    I generally later (when mixing) find that some of the harmonies simply don't work well enough (purely subective).
    Then, I may harmonise lines two and four of verse two. Part of the chorus.
    But on Verse three, I might harmonise different lines, and all of the chorus.

    And then there is the swell method. You gradually increase the presence of harmonies as in the gradual method, but on the final verse or final lines, strip right back to just the lead vocal.

    Basically, do what sounds right to you, because there is no right or wrong.

  16. The Following User Says Thank You to Coquet-Shack For This Useful Post:


  17. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Lowell Street Studio, New England
    Posts
    12,074
    Thanks
    19
    Thanked 555 Times in 528 Posts
    Rep Power
    18632360
    Look at an 'every other line' thing for harmonies - 1st line no harmonies, 2nd line with harmonies. This can work well with both verses and choruses - but dot' do it with both all the time in a song. A lot depends on the focus of the lyric and singer. Sometimes a chorus with harmonies on all lines except the 'hook' final line works well. If I'm not sure about the final arrangement when I'm tracking vocals (which I often do before recording leads or extra background instruments), I will record multiple harmony parts - sometimes more than one take of each one. Then if I choose during mixing I can have a giant chorus effect - or not.
    Mike B My new album on CD Baby: Fact and Fiction
    My Bandcamp site: http://mikebirchmusic.bandcamp.com

  18. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to mjbphotos For This Useful Post:


Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 12
    Last Post: 01-05-2017, 07:56
  2. 6 tascam 244's for parts, 8 244 belt kits and various parts, 2 parts 238's...
    By robert_millsap in forum Free Ads for Music/Recording Equipment
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 04-25-2013, 12:40
  3. 388 parts needed or buy my parts deck?
    By zorf in forum Analog Recording & Mixing - Tape & Gear
    Replies: 29
    Last Post: 02-16-2009, 15:57
  4. Tascam 48-OB parts...lots of parts...a whole deck worth
    By sweetbeats in forum Free Ads for Music/Recording Equipment
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 02-11-2009, 00:55
  5. Harmony
    By joro in forum MP3 Mixing Clinic
    Replies: 21
    Last Post: 04-13-2003, 04:07

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •