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How to handle harmonies in sections where the main singer dubs his own backing vocal.

Vocals Harmonies Phrase Marker Counterpoint Overdub

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#1 PuppetMaster9

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Posted June 16, 2019 - 01:59 AM

The song in question is "A Change of Seasons" by Dream Theater.


There are two instances in "Part III: Carpe Diem" (the third of the song's seven parts) where main vocalist James LaBrie has more than one vocal line going on. All of his singing is on one stem, including parts that are dubbed over each other.


  • The first of these is a brief instance where James holds a note that bleeds into the next phrase ("Ticking away" "Seize the day..."). While I cut off the slide in solo vocals, I was intending to reassign a part of it to a harmony.

    Unfortunately, every option I've considered feels awkward and forced, feeling like a harmony pops out of nowhere for no reason. Should I have a harmony here, or just cut off the note in all charts altogether? I'd be interested to hear what the most natural solution to this would be. It seems likely this type of situation has happened in official DLC, but I can't recall any examples to use as reference.
  • The second, much weirder instance is this sustained note here (quick reminder: this is just the main vocals stem). For Solo Vocals this was simple: I handled it Spoonman-style, with "gone" cut off just before "We". Harmonies, on the other hand, is where it gets complicated. I wanted to assign the held note to HARM1 and the accompanying lyrics to HARM2.

    The problem is that HARM1 notes aren't supposed to span multiple phrases, and alternatives like leading with HARM2 or making it all one phrase would look ugly and wrong. I read about a dirty solution for this, but some of the wording goes over my head, particularly the comments regarding phrase markers (is it acceptable for markers to touch in this case?). Given the surrounding context, would this be considered an acceptable place to use said fix?

#2 Emotional Flight

Emotional Flight
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Posted June 16, 2019 - 04:40 AM

For the first one, I would take everything from "Seize the Day..." until the next phrase starting with "Look around..." and put it on HARM 2. It's not the only solution, but I would argue it's the one that feels the most natural from a phrase perspective.


For the second one, using HARM 1 over multiple phrases can be done by having two phrase markers and notes that touch in the same place. Use the lyric on the first note and a "+" on the second note. This will avoid the lyric glitch that pops up from having a note that touches the beginning of a phrase marker, since there is no lyric, only a "+".


This would be a relatively safe place to use this exploit imo, but another alternative is just to put everything after the spoken word on HARM 2 or 3 instead and put HARM 1 on the section beneath the held note. For this to look good you'd need three harmony parts to differentiate from the spoken word just before and I don't know how many you're working with.

Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Vocals, Harmonies, Phrase Marker, Counterpoint, Overdub

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