Easy Way To Vocal Harmonies
Scott Fritz, May 2011

As engineers, much of our time can be spent analyzing technical aspects of sound, but even more important is the content of the music we work on. In virtually all genres, no single aspect of the music is more important than the vocal.

Creating complex vocal arrangements used to take a bunch of notation paper and plenty of hours working on the possible theoretical counterparts. But, with technology, we are able to create parts as intricate as our imagination allows using just a computer. One very cool way I like to create parallel vocal harmonies is using Celemony Melodyne.

Try Out Harmonies with Melodyne
Check it out - once you have your lead vocal completed (and tuned to your liking), import a 2nd version of the SAME exact lead vocal into Melodyne (so you have 2 versions of the same lead in the project), along with an instrumental bounce of the song. Now, you can take the duplicate lead vocal and move it around the scale as you like, and hear the result as you drag the pitches around!

You can easily create complex counterpoint melodies, and once you have the harmony track you like, you can export it to use as a guide track for your vocalist to learn in order to get a proper take. Or, depending on how many artifacts the movement created, you can choose to use the synthesized track in your mix. This whole process can be done again with a 3rd duplicate of the main lead vocal in order to create 3 part harmonies, and so on.

This way you can create as thick and as complex a vocal arrangement as you like, all the while hearing exactly what your options are and what they sound like in real time.

© 2011 Scott Fritz
Scott Fritz is the president and producer of the Chicago-based studio Stranded On A Planet. Recently recorded artists include Amirah, Nadia Ali, Cavalier King, Michael Angelo Batio, Martha Berner, A Friend Called Fire, Karen Kiley, The Hawthorne Effect, and Voice Of Addiction