Practice tool to learn vocal harmony

All about the tools and techniques involved in capturing sound, in the studio or on location.

Moderator: Moderators

Post Reply

Practice tool to learn vocal harmony

Post by SandyE »

I have two files- one containing a song with the lead vocal without harmony, the other with the harmony without the lead. I'd like to create a single file containing both lead and harmony where the lead will play through my computer speakers (Win 10) and the harmony through my headphones. My goal is to learn to sing harmony. I have the ability to create the two source files in either wav or mp3. I'm a newbie when it comes to recording but I do have Audacity and FL Studio 20, How would I go about mergiing and syncing the tracks and then separating the audio output? Or is there any other simpler solution? Thanks
SandyE
Regular
Posts: 52 Joined: Sat Feb 20, 2016 1:00 am

Re: Practice tool to learn vocal harmony

Post by blinddrew »

Hmmm. I don't think W10 will naturally let you send a different signal to speakers and headphones. Not sure if there's an app that will do it though.
One technique that's reasonably commonly used when trying to listen to two sources is to send one signal to the Left and one to the Right, might this work for you? That would be simple to set up in FL I believe.
User avatar
blinddrew
Jedi Poster
Posts: 16172 Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2015 12:00 am Location: York
Ignore the post count, I have no idea what I'm doing...

Re: Practice tool to learn vocal harmony

Post by BJG145 »

First thought on sending different sounds to different devices via a single PC was to use L/R as blinddrew says, but I don't understand how having one half on speakers and one half in headphones is going to help you learn to sing harmony anyway. What's the thinking behind it?
User avatar
BJG145
Jedi Poster
Posts: 5419 Joined: Sat Aug 06, 2005 12:00 am

Re: Practice tool to learn vocal harmony

Post by SandyE »

I'm the origional poster answering the question asked about why I'm wanting to do this.
I buy karaoke tracks from Karaoke-Version.com. They allow you to customize and download each song as many times as you like. I download one file wiith the lead vocal minus harmony (I include drums, piano, guitar, etc. in that copy). Next I download the harmony track into a separate file (no accompanient tracks- just the harmony). Both files BTW include a 4 beat intro "click". My thinking was to play the lead track thru my PC speakers just loud enough that I could barely hear it with my headphones on. Then I'd play the harmony track through the headphones just a hair louder and practice singing along with it. I've tried YouTube videos to learn harmony but it's too hard for me to grasp the music theory behind harmonizing in 3rds, 5ths or other intervals escpecially since the lead often sings a major note while the harmonizer sings a corresponding minor note. So I thought I'd try to learn by example. I used a song by the fantastic Everly Brothers- "Whenever I want you all I have to do is dream, dream, dream". The lead is sung per the melody but I was surprised to find out much the harmony differs from the melody. Using this technique I hoping I can eventually develop an ear of my own for learning/practicing harmony without the use of backing tracks. I did try putting the lead track to a CD boom box and the harmony track to my PC desktop but that was diasterous. I couldn't manually sync them both to start the 4 beat into click at the same precise time. Results something like a couple people on Zoom singing together with latency.
SandyE
Regular
Posts: 52 Joined: Sat Feb 20, 2016 1:00 am

Re: Practice tool to learn vocal harmony

Post by ConcertinaChap »

Am I right that what you want to do is learn to make up your own harmonies on the fly? I can tell you how I learned to improvise harmony (a common practice on the folk scene). If I was driving on my own, especially on quiet roads, I would play songs that I knew well (Beatles songs, mostly, given my age). I'd then try and improvise harmonies. No problem with people complaining about the duff notes because I was on my own. Beatles songs are remarkably easy to harmonise as well which helps. A few months of that and I was home and dry.

You don't need to listen to other people's harmonies. Let your ears be your guide. If what you've just sung sounds good it's OK, if it doesn't try something else. As I say, the knack comes surprisingly quickly.

CC
User avatar
ConcertinaChap
Jedi Poster
Posts: 10272 Joined: Wed Jul 20, 2005 12:00 am Location: Bradford on Avon
Making music: Eagle Alley
Recording music: Mr Punch's Studio
"Sir, more than kisses, letters mingle souls" - John Donne

Re: Practice tool to learn vocal harmony

Post by Murray B »

Are you able to import the tracks from the Karaoke site into FL Studio?

If so I would recommend the following

Create a backing track - no vocals
Create a lead vocal track - no other instruments or harmony vocals
Creating a backing harmony track - no lead vocal or instruments

Add the three tracks into a FL Studio Project and then mix them to taste with left right separation if you want as well.

You hopefully wouldn't need to use headphones and speakers at the same time to achieve what you want if you use this approach.

I am not familiar enough with FL Studio or Audacity to give you any help with the how to's on importing the tracks. I think you might also be able to do above in Audacity too.
User avatar
Murray B
Regular
Posts: 249 Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2011 1:00 am Location: Staffordshire

Re: Practice tool to learn vocal harmony

Post by BJG145 »

^^

...yes, I was thinking along the same lines. Instead of trying to balance headphones with speakers, it would be easier to use a program (a DAW) that will allow you to import different audio tracks, adjust the volume of each track individually, and then play back the mix. There are various free ones available, eg Cakewalk if you have a PC.

(I'm sure there are going to be various Apps and websites to learn and practice vocal harmony singing, though I haven't tried any.)

https://www.singharmonies.com/
https://harmonyhelper.com/

I buy karaoke tracks from Karaoke-Version.com. They allow you to customize and download each song as many times as you like. I download one file wiith the lead vocal minus harmony (I include drums, piano, guitar, etc. in that copy). Next I download the harmony track into a separate file (no accompanient tracks- just the harmony). Both files BTW include a 4 beat intro "click". My thinking was to play the lead track thru my PC speakers just loud enough that I could barely hear it with my headphones on. Then I'd play the harmony track through the headphones just a hair louder and practice singing along with it.

Karaoke-Version allows you to adjust the volume of the individual tracks before downloading the mix, so alternatively, couldn't you just adjust the relative levels that way?
User avatar
BJG145
Jedi Poster
Posts: 5419 Joined: Sat Aug 06, 2005 12:00 am

Re: Practice tool to learn vocal harmony

Post by SandyE »

Thanks for all the good ideas. You gave me some new avenues to explore.
SandyE
Regular
Posts: 52 Joined: Sat Feb 20, 2016 1:00 am

Re: Practice tool to learn vocal harmony

Post by awjoe »

ConcertinaChap wrote:If I was driving on my own, especially on quiet roads, I would play songs that I knew well (Beatles songs, mostly, given my age). I'd then try and improvise harmonies. No problem with people complaining about the duff notes because I was on my own. Beatles songs are remarkably easy to harmonise as well which helps. A few months of that and I was home and dry.

CC

That was my thought as well. Abbey Road's great. Why's that? Because their melodies are so strong and because they supply so many harmonies already?
User avatar
awjoe
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 3276 Joined: Tue Mar 08, 2011 1:00 am
The worst is elevator versions of good songs. All the life sucked out of them in a most amusing and yet irritating way.
Post Reply