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Workflow for back-vox


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  • Workflow for back-vox


    What's your workflow for composing/arranging for  background vox /choir?


    Do you sing yourself?

    Do you write out score?

    Melodyne studio all the way?

    Do you use vsti choir?

    Piano? Other instruments for the composing?

    Or just on the fly with those you have around?

    G-Sun.no | MyAudioBlog | Bandcamp

  • #2

    I rehearse the vocals with the singers, then record.

    No score, not even a lead sheet, not for me and not for the singers.

    When singers look at lead sheet, they don't sing as good as they can.


    • #3

      G-Sun wrote:


      Melodyne studio all the way?


      Mainstream pop is all design.


      • #4

        First and foremost, you want good chorus, you need good singers who can sing well. They have to be able to sing their harmonies without being distracted by others pitches and work their voices in unison to match the cadence, dictation and emphasis of the words of the music. If they slur the words, don't hit the pitches dead on with the proper annunciation and emphasis, a chorus can sound awful.

        As Rudy mentions, practice is a real big key. The singers can't be second guessing what the other guy is going to do or he may hesitate or try to carry others along. Following each others body language in close quarters singing together helps too. If you're multitracking a chorus together, its more difficult and you may have to do a whole lot more takes.

        If I was doing actual chorus stuff with others, you really shouldn't need to rely on text because you should have practiced the part enough to where you don't need it. When I do solo stuff, I often use a detailed printout that I mark up with special notes. My solo recordings consists of 100% original stuff and its written  as I perform in what might be considered as one take wonders. I really don't know what a part will be before I do it and develop the part as I track. I use a lyric sheet as an aid in the process. I add my own custom symbols for pitch, emphasis, breaks etc as I need them. Its more the act of writing it down Greek symbols that helps me memorize what I will do on the next take, than actually following the score when I'm hitting peak performance.

        There are other times where I know the lyrics and just close my eyes and sing the part the way I hear it in my minds eye (or minds ear) and just nail it first shot. I like that the best but it comes down to how technical the song is, and how long its been since I sang the lead part and went back to add the chorus.

        The big thing is just focusing on your own part and following the lead. I was lucky to work with great singers since I was very young. I sang with people who were 10 years older than me with formally trained voices that did pro stage work in musical plays that were really big back in the 60's. My voice was never really that good and still isn't but I had an aptitude for vocal techniques. I still rely on that today because its just as important as having high quality vocal tone.


        • WRGKMC
          WRGKMC commented
          Editing a comment

          Oh, and I never use melodyne or similar harmonizers. If you like the synthetic voice thing and the singer has dead on pitch that doesn't waver, then it can work a bit to fill things out, but I don't consider it to be an actual chorus any more than I consider an octaver or chorus on a guitar to be any more than a tome based modulation effect. My ears are trained to hear the difference and when I hear the same voice singing backup, its obvious to me.

          Its the uniqueness of the backup voices having different tonal ranges that really makes the difference in a chorus. There are a few artists that can pull off the whole backing vocal thing and not sound like the lead singer doing a backing vocal of his own stuff. Its allot like one actor playing several roles in the same film. They have to be really talented not to draw too much attention or they'll be identified as the same artist. Allot has to do with the music type too. If the lead vocals are sterile and the backing as well, it really doesn't matter much whose singing because there's few identifiable traits in voice to distract the listener.