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How to record harmonies

Recording Week
(Image credit: Future)

RECORDING WEEK: Although they're most commonly used for vocals, pretty much any melodic instrument can be double/triple tracked as a harmony.

Learn how to record them in four easy steps.

• Recording Week is brought to you in association with Universal Audio

(Image credit: Future)

Step 1: Although we typically associate harmonising with vocals, any melodic part is fair game, and the techniques involved are similar. Much like double tracking, the first thing to do is to make sure your core melody part is compiled and edited well, and in time and in tune.

(Image credit: Future)

Step 2: Decide which musical parts to add. They could be above or below the main melody and will need to follow the chord changes in the song. Also decide if you want to fully harmonise the melody – quite unusual – or add harmonies to specific phrases, which is more typical.

(Image credit: Future)

Step 3: Set up the cue mix so that you can hear both the harmony you’re adding and the core melody. This not only helps with timing, but also reveals straight away if the harmony is going to work both against the melody and in the context of the song.

(Image credit: Future)

Step 4: Finally, you’ll probably have to follow the same compiling technique you used for the core melody. Harmonies usually play a supporting role, with their levels balanced below the main melody. Checking them in context will make the editing and compiling task quicker.