This article is about home music recording – in case the title was a little misleading;). If you’re like me…and a few other people I know (which is why I assume I’m not insane), you love vocal harmony so much that you find yourself singing with inanimate objects that make noise. OK, assuming there are still people reading this article who don’t immediately know what I mean, let me explain.
Some singers must work and live with non-singers. It isn’t fair, but there it is. Those folks who discovered that harmony with one or more other singers is the closest thing to magic in real life can get a kind-of addiction to it. So what do people like that do when they don’t know a single soul who can hold a harmony…or even hold the melody if you try to sing harmony? A lot of people can sing, but not all of them can sing harmony…or even know what it is! I know…it’s crazy. Have you ever noticed someone near you can sing, so you try to add a harmony and they immediately jump onto your harmony? Don’t you hate that?
Well I’ll tell you what “harmony-lovers-surrounded-by-the-harmony-handicapped” do. They get it wherever they can find it. For me, that includes inanimate objects that make an even vaguely musical noise. I’ve sung duets with the repeating warning bell in my car, my car horn, vacuum cleaners, and trains. Those last two are great because they usually have their own harmony going on that I can add to. Are you in this category, and you own a computer with an internet connection, you are in luck. You get to sing harmony with yourself….yup….no surgery involved.
Here’s what you need: a computer with a sound card and an internet connection, an mp3 player (for the headphones), and a microphone, and a pc microphone. If you don’t already have one, you can get one for about $5.00.
Next, download and install the open-source (free!) audio program called Audacity. Plug your mic into your sound card’s input jack (usually a pink hole), and your headphones into the green jack. You may need to unplug your speakers, but that’s actually what you want to do for this, otherwise you’ll record what’s coming out of the speakers, which you don’t want to do. Now you’re all set up.
All you need to do at that point is open Audacity, punch the button with the big red dot on it (which means “record”), and start singing into your microphone. Now you can either just play that back and sing 2-part harmony with a voice rather than a vacuum cleaner, or you could record a 2nd track along with the first one to record two harmonies. That way, two of you will be singing, and you can sing along for 3-part magic! Actually, you can keep doing that until you turn yourself into a choir if you want to.
How cool was that? Now all you need to do is clean up all the hissy noise from your soun dcard, which Audacity can do. There are tons of tutorials out there showing you how to use Audacity if you get a bit lost. Home Brew Audio even has a video tutorial lesson on singing harmony with yourself. Give it a try if you have 30 minutes to spare. It will be a trip! Plus, you can stop singing with your appliances… or not 😉
Here are some audio and video examples of what results you can get singing harmony with yourself: http://www.homebrewaudio.com/vocal-harmony-experiments
Learn more home music recording tips at Home Brew Audio. It really is a blast.