Individual Parts For “Helplessly Hoping”

Ever since I first put up the video of myself singing all the parts to Helplessly Hoping, by Crosby, Stills and Nash (see the video below), I’ve had a lot of people ask me for the individual parts, so they could learn them and sing the song in 3-part harmony. So I’ve just been e-mailing the three mp3 files to whoever asked.  But that takes a bit of effort each time I do it – and you know how I feel about effort;).

So I’ve decided to just post each of the three vocal parts on this page and put the link on the video.  Hopefully that will be a win-win for all parties.

What to Do With These Audios

Well obviously you don’t have to “do” anything with them except listen. But if you want to hear them all together, just stick each one on its own track in your favorite DAW (digital audio workstation). In Reaper, simply click Insert on the menu, and Media file in the drop-down. Then navigate to where the files are and insert them onto their own tracks. They are already panned, and there is some reverb on each file already.

So all you have to do is hit “Play” and they will sing together in harmony. Then you can mute and/or solo the tracks at will to get a feel for how they fit together.

Plus you can practice your part by muting whichever part that is, and singing along with the other two parts. Fun, fun, fun! Note about using the guitar track: if you want to try to put the guitar track in with the vocal tracks, you’ll have to shift the vocal parts over to the right to make time for the guitar intro.

This is easy in Reaper. Just click, hold and drag the vocal parts so that the start point is at about 13.5 seconds. You may need to fine-tune.

First I’ll put audio players below so you can just play and listen to them right now. Then after those you’ll find links that will let you download each mp3. Ready?

Melody for Helplessly Hoping

Middle Part for Helplessly Hoping

High Part for Helplessly Hoping

Guitar Part for Helplessly Hoping

If you would like to download the mp3 files, just right-click the below links and select “Save Link As” or the equivalent for your browser.


Middle Part

High Part

Guitar Part

How to Use These Files To Sing With Others

Lots of people like this song and would love to sing it with their friends and sound like CSN. The problem is that it isn’t easy for most people to listen to a song and then figure out each individual part. With these files, you can listen to one, have one friend listen to another and learn it, and another friend listen to the 3rd. Then you can all sing those parts together and have 3-part harmony, which is seriously cool.

How to Sing Harmony With Yourself

If you don’t HAVE any friends who can sing, you can sing harmony with yourself. The basic idea is to learn all 3 parts first. Then sing the first part in a track in recording software. then add a track and sing the 2nd part, then the 3rd.

Read our post: how to sing harmony with yourself (and record it on your computer) like this using the free software, Audacity. I actually used Reaper software for Helplessly Hoping. The process is quite similar no matter what software you use.

There is an in-depth series of videos showing you how to do all this in Reaper, including how I did Helplessly Hoping, in our newest home recording course, The Newbies Guide to Audio Recording Awesomeness 2: Pro Recording With Reaper.

If you are really only interested in focusing on learning to record vocal harmony, check out our course, Harmony Recording Awesomeness.


If you want a few free videos from our Harmony Recording course, click below…

free videos from harmony recording course

114 comments on “Individual Parts For “Helplessly Hoping””

  1. Great job Ken! As a CSN&Y fan of many years, and as a musician (keyboards and vocals) I was very impressed and appreciative. Have you thought about a trifecta? Doing harmony breakdowns for ‘Suite Judy Blue Eyes’ and ‘Carry On’?

    1. Thanks Joel. I just replied to your comment on YT. I would like to do Suite Judy Blue Eyes – as soon as I plow through all the other urgent projects I have going on. So look for it long about 2014;). Seriously though, I appreciate the comment.

  2. Hey Ken, I can’t wait to get started. I was going to do it on my own until i happened across your page. Nice tone to your voice; you are a professional thru and thru and a patient soul to lay it all out for everyone to enjoy!

    1. Thanks Ed! I Very much appreciate that. Good luck on your your version.



  3. Hey Ken, thanks muchly for this work. You’ve saved me weeks of squeezing my eardrums and testicles in my junk heap loft trying not to terrify the neighbours. Neigh being the operative word.

    Now, to find someone to sing with…


    1. You’re welcome Pete! I feel your pain. My wife and I do great 2-part stuff but not having someone to sing harmony with all my life is what got me into recording in the first place:). Then I can do as many parts with myself as I want.

      Good luck with it.


  4. Hey! Thanks so much for this! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried (and failed) to nail this song’s harmonies. This helped a ton!
    Greetings from Estonia. All the best!

  5. Hi Ken, very good work and very helpful! I would try to sing it with other 2 friends using your file with your guitar base, but it seems that your link in the download page is not working.
    Anyway thanks a lot.



    1. Thanks for letting me know that, Carlo. I just fixed the guitar track download link. They all work now. Good luck!

  6. Hey Ken thanks for your harmony breakdown. I did that song many moons ago with a drummer (very good ear for harmonies, but couldn’t read a not of music). Without your mp3’s I would have never attempted it again. Thanks bro.

  7. Your helplessly hoping made learning that song so much easier. I’m wondering if you’ve worked on Sweet Judy Blue eyes? Please email me back, maybe I can purchase the harmony tracks from you?
    Thanks in advance!

    1. Roni,

      Thanks for the feedback! I have not recorded Suite Judy Blue Eyes yet. I do know the harmonies though. Maybe I’ll try what you say. IF so, I’ll certainly make an announcement to my mailing list. IF you’re not on the list yet, you can sign up by filling out the form on in the top right of the sidebar here: Thanks again!


  8. Thank you so much!!! I sing in a band and even though we got close, it has always been so hard to tell the exact melodies!!!

    You’ve helped us a lot!!!!!!!

  9. You made my day with the guitar part of my favorite song…
    I am traveling and did not bring my guitar, but with your guitar part and my laptop I could still enjoy myself recording a bit.
    Would you by chance know of any website that has these nice ´clean´ guitar parts of other songs (I´m thinking Dust In The Wind, The Arms Of Mary, stuff like that)?

    In any case, many thanks and good luck to you,

  10. Hi Ken, thanks for your reply. In fact I do know how to play the song, it´s just that I don´t have my guitar with me for a while… just my laptop with Audacity on it, so I am searching the net for a basic guitar part of Dust In The Wind (no solo, no vocals, no strings) but most of what I find is a bit too dressed up.
    I figured there must be someone somewhere who puts straightforward guitar parts of good songs on the net, much like you did on this page…
    Thanks again, have a good weekend,

  11. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I am not trained musically but have a good ear for harmony. I sing in a little group and we want to add this to our list but I was having a hard time isolating the mid and high part by just listening to the song…you are an answer to prayer. Haven’t completely decided if I will be singing the middle or the highest but now I feel more confident about being able to do either part after listening to this. By the way…in case you missed it…THANK YOU.

    1. Wow thanks! You are very welcome! I’m so glad it helped you. Good luck with performing it!

  12. Ken, you are a gift. You just brought me out of my lonely rut. I can now practice singing harmonies with your recorded parts!!!! Plus this gives such insight on how the wrote these unusual lines of harmony. Like everyone else here, would love to have MORE! Seems a lot of people want Suite Judy Blue Eyes, but I would love to learn any of the other groups that had wonderful harmonies as well. I think there is a magic that you chose something with just a guitar part. It makes it all the more reachable versus trying to reproduce 4-5 different instruments. You mention you sing with your wife, being a woman would love to hear you with a female voice. Just more thoughts. Seems you are a treasure chest of great stuff and it seems there are a lot of us that would love to be blessed with your talents. Hope to hear more from you.

    1. Thanks Beth! I’m so glad you liked it. You’re right. I know I need to do more. And your comment helps motivate me;). Have you seen the video of Lisa and I doing “My Eyes” (from Dr. Horrible)? It’s just 2 parts, but that one is here: Also, here is a link to a page that has songs from our Christmas album – lots of harmonies:) – As for doing more parts-breakdowns like with “Helplessly Hoping,” I will move that up on the priority list. Thanks again!


  13. This is great and I wish you’d do more. Thanks!

    One suggestion: tune up. You’re not quite in tune with A440.

    1. Thanks. I am actually planning to do Suite Judy Blue Eyes. And yes, I know I’m not at 440. But that’s because neither were CSN:-P. And they still aren’t for SJBE. Sigh. I have a mania for doing covers exactly as they were done by the original artists as much as possible. I’m getting therapy:).

  14. Hello ,
    what is to do to get the individual parts of the voice
    and the guitar part of “helplessly hoping” in MP3 ?

    kind regards
    Günter Hecker

  15. Hello, i am a rising singer and would like to know how you are able to make a video with all four pictures and singing separately… noone seems to be able to tell me how to do this.. could you please let me know how i can do this with my music? Thanks in advance… FYI… i like your song

    1. Hi Netoya! I used Vegas video software. I used Vegas Pro, but I think you can do it with Movie Studio too. You just record yourself singing the song 4 times and then stack each video as a track in Vegas. Then use the Crop tool on each track to shrink it down and move it to the corner. Once it is shrunk down, the underneath tracks will show through. Do that to all 4 tracks and bingo! multiple videos on one screen. Then just render it down. For the music, you can see our video here: at the bottom.

      Hope that helps.


  16. Hi Ken,

    I am an alto singer who loves singing (privately). A friend at work who is a classically-trained soprano asked me if I’d like to sing with her during our lunch hours. I was looking for something that would be easy for us to start with for harmonizing. Your Helplessly Hoping recordings and instructions are simply PERFECT! I’ve never been sure how to harmonize well through an entire song with someone. What you’ve done here will give me confidence. Please do more songs for us!


    1. You’re welcome:-). Wow, thank you Anne! It’s so great to know you found this so helpful!. I had no idea it would be received so positively. So if I’m going to do more songs like this as you suggest, what song(s) would you be most interested in? No promises;-).



  17. Dear Ken,
    first, thank you very much for the individual parts to helplessly hoping, it’s one of my favourite songs, and I have wanted to attempt a cover with two friends for some time. Prior to finding your recordings, I attempted to figure out the harmonies myself, but never quite got it right – and now finally we can do it. Thanks so much! Do you have any advice on transcribing three part harmonies in general? How do you go about it?
    Seeing that you asked for suggestions in the last post: Apart from the suite judy blue eyes, which by now has been requested a few times but must be a monster project to do, did you ever think about doing find the cost of freedom? I find it most beautiful, there really is only one phrase with harmonies, and apart from the voices there is only a basic guitar track to cover, which I guess would make it a much easier thing to do in a shorter time, and also closer to helplessly hoping than the above suggested suite. There is also the version which is completely a capella, as performed by crosby, nash, and david gilmour – if you haven’t seen it, here’s a link:
    thanks again and all the best,

    1. Thanks Joe. Yes, time is a huge factor. I will be doing more of these just because so many have asked. But I have to find the time first. Thanks for the suggestion!


  18. Hey Ken,

    Thank you so much for this tutorial, I ve been dying to find those separate voices of this amazing song for ages ages, and given up trying to find those with my own ears ( I am French…)

    By chance would you have any similar split voices for this other great song “Our house” from CSN&Y ?

    That would be really really awesome !

    Merci beaucoup !!


    1. Roch,

      You’re welcome. I’m glad you like it. I do not have any other split voices yet:-P. Sorry about that. Maybe in the future;).



  19. Thank you Ken! This is terrific. My siblings and I just love singing together, and this will make this song work!

  20. Hi Ken

    Are you able to advise if you have completed your project to prepare the vocal mp3 parts for Suite Judy Blue Eyes. I’m performing a festival in Cornwall in July and really wanted to do this one. I know the Graham Nash part really well and the Steven Stills part – sort of but can’t nail the middle David Crosby part at all.

    Here’s Helplessly Hoping you have.



    1. I’m out of the state right now. But when I get back, I’ll see what I can do.



  21. Wow! That is so awesome! Thanks so much for posting this!!!

    Can you do Southern Cross by the same band as well? 😀

    1. Thanks! And yes, I actually do that song:). Maybe I should record it like this one some day.



  22. Thanks, Ken. Tremendously educational (and it sounds terrific). I too would love to hear other notable CSN vocals pulled apart like this.

    1. You’re welcome. Glad you liked it. I actually have been wanting to do another one. I may do Southern Cross at some point;-).

  23. Is there a place I can go for the actual sheet music for Helplessly Hoping the way you sing it? I’ve seen it at some online sheet music stores but I’m not sure they are written the way you sing it. Thanks!

  24. Thanks! I guess maybe it’s weird but Crosby & Nash of always sounded like one voice to me which is amazing but I can’t really get a handle on what each one is doing so that should help

    1. Hi Chris. I actually didn’t record it to a click track. But I just stuck it into Reaper to find the closest BPM and it’s very close to 140 BPM. Hope that helps.

  25. Wow, exactly what I was looking for : just now I realize how difficult thid is to sing. Thanks !!

  26. Hi Ken,

    This was amazing!!! thank you for this!!! I am usually good at getting harmonies but this one really had me stumped!!! thanks again!!!!


  27. Ken, Greetings.
    Glad to find you as I was hoping to find a CSN(Y) acapella website. Well, after a Google search, there you are.
    Thank you for sharing.

    Did you complete the Suite Judy Blue Eyes project?

    1. Hi Brian. You’re welcome for the HH parts. I have not finished the SJBE project yet. It got preempted by several other things. But I do still plan to do it, though. I promise!

  28. There are no resources for learning the indiv parts of SJBE – I know youve been hounded for years but Id love to see you do this!

  29. Great resource for learning this song, thank you. What would be helpful for me is to mix in a tiny bit of the other parts so that you can hear each vocal line in it’s harmonic context. Still good, thank you.

  30. I literally was crying as I was listening to the different parts. I am neither a singer nor a musician but I love singing and I love harmony and I love this song. I was so frustrated after years of not being able to stick with the melody (bc I couldn’t hear it!) that it led me to Google something that led me to your page. And then tears. Your voice is beautiful and I hope that someday I will learn to sing harmony but for now, I can sing the melody and stick with it!!! How beautiful and what a gift to give us all:)

    1. Wow Maria, thanks for that feedback! I’m so very glad you found what you were looking for!

  31. Hello Ken ! Thank a lot for your work, it’s really helpful and I enjoy singing in harmony with your voice 🙂

  32. Great recordings Ken. I actually have a question about Reaper…. before I invest…. is it possible to create sheet music of the recordings with this program??

    1. Thanks Sandi! And no, you’d need a notation program to be able to create sheet music. But you can import MIDI files created by notation programs and work with the MIDI in Reaper. Also though, the investment in Reaper is super small. You can evaluate for 60 days and it won’t stop working after that, only tell you it’s not free software. But the price is only $60, which is amazing. Then if/when you start making serious money using Reaper, they ask that you purchase the commercial license for $225. But it’s totally on the honor system! There is no difference in the software between the $60 version and the $225 version. Reaper is unique with this pricing scheme. Never seen anything else like it.

  33. Hi Ken. Just googled you and love your beautiful breakdown of these harmonies. Thanks for making it so easy and accessible as well. I am taking voice lessons and we are currently focusing on harmonies/counter harmonies with a lot of CSN tunes. Would you, by any chance have this similar format for Carry on/Question & Teach Your Children since we are trying to isolate these presently. If not, would you be able to refer me to a source or site that might have them as well. Thanks again for sharing. Please let me know.

    1. Thanks Rich! Unfortunately I don’t have parts for those songs. And I really don’t know where else you could get them. I have plans – based on on many requests – to do another CSN song or two. And most of those have been for either Suite Judy Blue Eyes or Southern Cross. So when I get around to doing another of these, it will be one (or both) of those songs. Possibly Wasted on The Way as well, since again, I’ve had requests for those.

      It’s amazing how many folks have responded to this. I was just doing it as an example of how to sing and record harmonies. The recording aspect of it was the intended draw. But this has been pretty popular. If it weren’t so time consuming, it might be fun to make a business out of just this though :-).

  34. This is perfect, it’s so helpful! Thank you!
    Have you also recorded the individual vocals for Our House, or any other CSN song?
    Regards from Brazil.

  35. Hi Ken, i found this page a few years ago and ever since dreamed of finding the right partner to do this. Meanwhile, my two daughters, ages 13 and 11 now,are mature enough to take the challenge and we are practicing this, as a corona curfew challenge and this is great fun an we made a great progress. thank you so much for sharing this.
    Eilat Harel from Israel

    1. You’re welcome, Eilat. I hope you and your daughters make beautiful music with this!

  36. OMG!! Thank you so much! I want to sing this with my acapella group and you just saved us a ton of time. You are so kind to share your talents this way. 🙂

  37. Hi! Thank you so much for this I listen to it all day! It helped a ton!
    Greetings from Spain!

  38. Hi there. Do you perchance have the individual harmonies for Our House by CSNY?

    1. I know them. But I have not done the same thing I did with Helplessly Hoping. I’ve had requests to do that and a few other CSN songs :-P. Maybe I should just go ahead and do it.

  39. Hello there from Cape Town,
    The parts are excellent! Thank you for your time and effort, much appreciated.

    1. Thanks! I actually do plan to do this. But it keeps getting delayed. I will do it though, at least the vocals. Check back occasionally. I can’t say when it will be done. But it will be done :-).

  40. Ken I just discovered this and its a gold mine. By chance do you have written notes written out for each of the harmony lines? I am trying to understand the logic for their harmonies. Much appreciated.

    1. Thanks Jack. Glad it’s helpful. I don’t have the notes written out. I’ve always been more of a seat-of-the-pants musician, doing things mostly by ear, I rarely write things down like that :-P.

      And though I obviously can’t speak for them, my thoughts from having learned a lot of their harmonies is that the logic is pretty simple – tight harmonies with 3-parts on most things. I’d say the parts are about 80-90 percent simple triads to keep things tight. Sometimes they cross over each other so the person singing the melody can stay on the melody. And sometimes there are suspensions in there that I suspect started out as accidents but that sounded so cool that they left them in. My 2 cents on it :-).

  41. Wow thank you so much for doing this! Can’t wait to rehearse with my friends. Happy New Years!! ❤️

    1. Thanks Matt. Well, I’m really not familiar with that one. So probably not :-P.

  42. Found this page bumbling around looking for a shortcut for parts for Wasted On The Way after finding out about the death of the truly amazing David Crosby. This will be a great help for Helplessly Hoping! Thank you! In the meantime, I’ll do the old ‘listen & jot’ method for Wasted On The Way, which I’m really feeling deeply lately — I’m 65 and the friends are starting to die too frequently, particularly the older ones.

    Have a wonderful day and here’s to being ALIVE!

    Jill Stefansen

    1. Thanks! Yes, a sad thing and here is to being alive! I will try to do Wasted On The Way. You are not the first person to ask.

    2. Hi Jill. I finished the recording of Wasted on the Way! In part thanks to you pinging me about it :-P. And I’ll make a video and put the separated parts on a page. But if you want to hear it now, here is a link. Hope you like it. I just focused on the vocals and used a basic single acoustic guitar for accompaniment.

        1. Wow, fantastic!! Really appreciate this, as I’m sure many will! Bravo to you!

  43. Ken I have just discovered your site and I think you’re amazing! My friends and I have learned Helplessly hoping and are in the process of learning wasted on the Way. I wondered if you might think about doing ‘Blackbird”? My two friends and I are over sixty, and just found each other as a trio this past year. I am so grateful that you do this. And I’m surprised that these broken down part versions are free. You should seriously think about charging for them. I’d buy them in an instant.
    Thanks so much.
    Hilary Ledingham
    Ontario Canada

  44. It’s 2023, almost 2024, and I still love and use this page regularly. Whenever I meet new friends who like to sing in harmony, I’ll give them the link to this page and we decide who sings what. So in the meantime there are quite some people around my hometown who can sing a part of this song and/or play the guitar. And whenever I meet at least two of them we sing the song. Thank you very much for making this page for free. You’ve created so many beautiful moments!

    1. Thank you for that comment! I’m so SO glad that it is causing so much joy and music :-)!

  45. My band covers this song on a regular basis, and we also cover many CSN & CSNY tunes including Wasted on the Way in our showcase tribute to the music of CSN&Y. I was looking for You Don’t Have to Cry, and came across this so I gave it a listen and compared what I sing and was glad to see I’ve got it right. LOL! Great production. Wasted on the Way was also fantastic and similarly, glad to see things are spot on 🙂 If you do happen to get some time to do You Don’t Have to Cry, I’d love to hear it. Always curious what others might hear with their ears compared to mine. Cheers!

    1. Glad it was helpful! I’m not actually all that familiar with You Don’t Have To Cry. So I’m probably not going to be doing that one, sadly.

  46. Hey Ken,
    Great stuff here. Me and some friends just covered this song using your material as our learning aid, and it came out great. Thanks for sharing! I just sent you our video of it in an Instagram message (at least I think it’s your Instagram haha). Check it out!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *