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DiegoDiego Moderator, 2.0 PRO, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 1,139

Agh, since I want to record this song, I'm trying to figure out the harmonies.
I can't seem to do so, what effect do they use to make the harmonies sound like that? Is it just double-tracking? or what?


  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 2,111
    Being an engineer junkie I have read up on how they perform their vocals in the studio.

    They say Freddie Mercury was so good at doubling his tracks that they were perfect, and would cause phase cancellation.

    For this particular song Freddy did double his main track. The harmonies were done by Freddie, and Brian.
    The background vocals which gets wild at times consists of 3-three part harmonies with the singers switching parts for each harmony, there is also reversed, phased, and flanged vocals buried in the mix.

    You have a big job ahead of you on this one my friend. Good luck!

  • highmtnhighmtn Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 15,240
    I have a video where Queen talked about how they recorded their vocals. Essentially, the routine way they got their recorded vocal sound was to have each singing band member sing a track of every vocal part. So Freddy sang every part, Brian sang every part except the lead vocal, and Roger Taylor would sing all of the backing parts. So if they were doing 3-part vocal harmony, then that would be nine tracks. If they were doing 5-part harmony, then that would be 15 tracks of background vocals. Needless to say, Freddie probably did a few extras on top of all of that.

    I saw them live. Freddie was a fantastic singer, but their live vocal harmonies fell far short of what they accomplished by multiple-passes of studio overdubs. It was a great show, but they just played a recording of Bohemian Rhapsody, and then the band came in after all of the intricate vocals on tape.

    Ken has a nice lesson on recording gang vocals in the KTVA 2.0 Pro Pack.
  • TommyMTommyM Pro Posts: 270
    Bob's spot on here with regards to how Queen tracked their harmonies, that's partly why they sound so lush and full. I can only imagine how daunting mixing that down would be, I struggle with any more than three vocal tracks. (And now Bob's just frustrated me by talking about KTVA 2.0 and the gang vocals thing, which is something I've been trying to do for ages...time to get saving again.)

    Tony's right too on the additional, heavily processed vocals buried in the mix but replicating that would be a gargantuan task.

    If you're going to try to cover this one, try to simplify it with your own arrangement. The workload involved in just balancing the multiple harmonies to sound anything like the original would - since we're really just practicing here and using these tracks as examples - far outweigh any benefit you'd get from performing them all. It'd certainly give you some serious practice with your pitch and then with mixing down so many tracks, but for the sake of your sanity I'd suggest maybe sticking to just doing three harmonies yourself. It'll sound clearer, you'll be able to distinguish the notes more easily and you'll possibly manage to avoid a complete nervous breakdown through not doing 15+ tracks...hahaha!

  • DiegoDiego Moderator, 2.0 PRO, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 1,139
    LOL that just makes me want to try doing all harmonies even more.
    Let's see what turns out..... This is going to be a big project...
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 2,111
    Just be careful when you mix all of that spaghetti ha ha, it can get muddy really quick.

  • DiegoDiego Moderator, 2.0 PRO, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 1,139
    I'm just trying to dig out each harmony piece by piece. Which is already hard tbh.
    I usually try to hear the track very closely like for example the vocals only video which I linked above, and it still gives me problem. I'll be working on other stuff simultaneously. I have like 4 projects I'm working on.
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