Queen Harmony Demo
What do you do when you don't have anyone else to sing harmony with? You sing harmony with yourself!
Okay, what the heck is Ken talking about this time? Well, I was watching Glee a while back, and one of the songs in the show was the Queen song, Fat Bottomed Girls, which opens with a killer a capella harmony. I couldn't get the song out of my head, so I decided to sing it (the intro anyway)...all 9 parts...myself...at the same time.
Normally one person can't sing harmony with themselves, which is something I have wished for since high school. I think there ought to be a surgery that allows it:). Anyway, with a computer and a mic, you can be every person in a Glee Club! Listen to what it sounds like when one person sings 9 vocal tracks (each of 3 harmony parts sung 3 times) by clicking on the audio player below for the intro (just the intro, so don't get all disappointed when the rest of the song doesn't follow;)) to Fat Bottomed Girls as sung once again by me, myself and me 2.
Here's how I did it.
1. I Opened Reaper Software
Reaper is my favorite tracking and mixing software (You can read more about it in this article I wrote about it - Why Reaper Rocks as a DAW). I started a new track, and then saved the project as "Fat Bottomed Girls."
2. I Sang The Melody Part
I sang all parts into a microphone called the Rode NT2-A, which is connected to my computer through an interface like the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2.
Unlike the "Carry on Wayward Son" demo I did, which only needed 6 voices, this song needed 9. It was still only 3 parts (the melody and two harmonies), but each one needed at least 3 voices on it. So I sang the melody once on the first track. Then I opened another track and sang it again while listening to the first one. Ditto for the 3rd pass.
Here is the audio for the melody:
3. I Sang The Middle Harmony Part
I repeated the above steps for the middle harmony part, requiring me to open up 3 more tracks in turn, singing the second harmony part on each one. I now had 6 tracks playing two harmony parts.
Here is the audio for the middle part:
4. I Sang The Low Harmony Part
And I just repeated the same steps for the last 3 tracks, singing the 3rd harmony part onto each track. I now had 9 tracks.
Here is the audio for the low part:
5. Mixing Down & Editing
The final steps were to tweak each track to make sure the timing and pitch of all parts were correct. Next, I panned the tracks across the stereo spectrum (like spreading 6 playing cards out in a fan). Then I made sure the volumes were all even and rendered/"mixed down" all the tracks to one stereo file.
Finally, I opened the stereo file in Adobe Audition, my favorite audio editing software. I added a few effects like EQ and compression to the file, normalized it for good powerful volume, and Saved it as an mp3. Done.
I don't know how many folks there are out there who dig vocal harmony as much as I do, but I know there are at least some. I don't think The TV show, Glee would be as popular as it is otherwise. Who knows? I just think it's cool to be able to sing harmony with yourself and turn yourself into your own glee club if you want to. You couldn't do that when I was in high school.
If you'd like to learn more about how to record pro audio from your computer, visit Home Brew Audio frequently for our many articles and audio recording how-to tutorials.
How To Be Your Own Glee Club - Queen Harmony Demo http://t.co/iZAAxCS via @en
Ken - I used to sing barbershop with Sweet Adelines. So, obviously I love harmony. My only problem is that I can sing - but feel computer illiterate. Where are you located?
I am located in San Antonio, TX. You'd be surprised how quickly you could pick up how to record yourself on a computer. Was there anything specific about the whole computer thing that gives you the wiggins?
Hey Great Job!!!!!!! I'm going to try and learn the harmonies to this song so I can cover it with my band and I just came upon this page while trying to find stuff online that might help. Really there's not much. I was listening to yours and then Queen's after and I think I noticed something different. Are you missing a low note? or maybe just singing it up an octave instead on the lyric "Let it all hang out?" That phrase just sounds different to me?
Thanks Nick. About your question on the Queen harmony, I honestly don't know. I recorded what I heard. I don't think I left anything out. There are 3 parts all the way through except on ..."go 'round" at the end, where it goes to 2 parts.
Thanks for the feedback. I'm glad you were able to find the site.
Nice job, Ken! Like you, I often need to scratch my harmony itch (I cut my harmony teeth in high school, singing along with groups like CSN&Y, Eagles, Doobie Brothers, etc.). Today, barbershop harmony satisfies the chord freak in me. It's not all straw boaters, candycane jackets & handlebar moustaches anymore. In your area, check out The San Antonio Chordsmen. Think of it as a capella harmony singing in the barbershop style.
Awesome Joe. Yeah, I did barbershop in college and also had a group we called "Spontaneity," because we could do our a capella songs anywhere any time. We were sort of a Nylons cover group, doing that jazzy pop a capella (they called it Rockapella before another group took that name). Fun stuff. But when your peeps aren't around....
Do you HAVE to have a microphone to do harmony or can you just sing in front of the computer? I have a microphone from a karaoke machine but it doesn't fit into my computer. I don't really wanna buy one but do u have any suggestions?
Julia, yes you do have to have a microphone, but it need not be terribly expensive. To start, I recommend a $49 USB mic called the Samson Q1U. OF course, there are dozens of other choices for USB mics. And they work by just plugging them into a USB port on your computer. Hope that helps!
Hey, is there any chance we could have a listen to each of the 3 harmonies separately? I'm DYING to know how to get each part so our band can play it, but I can't find it anywhere online!
Any help would be GREATLY appreciated!
Sure Jeremy. But not this week, since I just had surgery yesterday and will not be back in the studio until next week. But remind me if I don't reply back by, say, Monday. I have a bad memory;).
Will do! Thanks a lot, and I hope everything is going well after surgery.
I hope your recovery is going well. Any chance you made it back into the studio?
See? I told you I'd forget unless you reminded me:). I'll try to do it right now.
Any chance you've been back into the studio? I'd love to hear the individual vocal tracks to Fat Bottomed Girls.
Jeremy, I just e-mailed them to you. Let me know if that worked.
I would like to hear the individual tracks to Fat Bottomed Girls, too.
Not a bad idea, since I did that for Helplessly Hoping. Give me a few days.
I just put up the individual parts to FBG:). Go here to listen: https://www.homebrewaudio.com/queen-harmony-demo-fat-bottomed-girls/
[…] Imagine trying to perform Kansas' Carry On Wayward Son, solo! I don't think so (actually I managed to do it...the intro anyway. Wanna hear it? It's right here: How To Be Your Own Glee Club – Queen Harmony Demo.) […]
i wanna make harmony
Try my course "Harmony Recording Awesomeness" here: https://www.homebrewaudio.com/lander/harmony-recording-awesomeness-lander/