mod note: to discuss this topic see
I am trying to figure out the vocal harmonies of some songs. There's pretty good stuff available on youtube, but not much. I was wondering if anybody here can help me out with this. I would like to come as close as possible to their vocal lines (I am not talking about masterpieces like "Because" but about songs that could be done with some friends on guitar, like "All My Loving", "Nowhere Man", "I Saw Her Standing There", "Girl" etc.).
Here's a link that may explain quite well what I mean: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....gm49b1R9v0
It might be my TV being funny (though I don't think so), but there's a live version of I Saw Her Standing There on Anthology where Lennon's vocal is turned up much higher in the mix than McCartney's, making his harmonies much easier to work out. I think it's one of the Sweden recordings, 1963 or 64.
Other than that I can't really help. I'd probably try and work them out by recording the basic vocal line, then multitracking it with what I thought were the harmony lines. Trial and error should be quite a learning process. It'd be harder to do with three-part harmonies though.
yeah - trial and error is the method of the day. it's pretty easy to figure out the 2nd voice on the early recordings, but as soon as it gets to 3 voices and later recordings the story is different. i like the method that is used in this link for "because", but i probably have to wait for more uploads from this guy. the point is that doing a decent cover of the beatles is mainly a matter of vocal harmonies. you can do perfect guitar parts but if the voices don't match perfectly it always sounds awful...
This is from Mark Lewisohn's wonderful book The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, in the entry for 14 June 1966. I thought you might find it interesting.
Paul McCartney had already shown himself extremely adept at writing beautiful ballads, but they don't come any better than this gorgeous piece of music, 'Here, There And Everywhere'. It has long been Paul's own favourite.
The song was perfected in sessions spread over three days, and on this day four takes were recorded. Just one of those – the fourth – was complete and even then it used only two of the four tracks available. But it was the first to feature any vocal work, the result of a drop-in and at least one overdub. Paul had yet to record his lead but here he was joined by John and George for a take of the charming backing vocals, the highly melodic "oohs" and "aahs". These early takes were faster than the version released on disc, with the vocals speeded up to match.
The great charm of 'Here, There And Everywhere' was undoubtedly its terrific vocal harmonies, shared by Paul, John and George. But lthough this talent was largely innate it did need promoting, and Geoff Emerick knows where the help came from.
"George's [Martin] real expertise was and still is in vocal harmony work, there's no doubt about that. That is his forte, grooming and working out those great harmonies."
George himself is more modest, especially about 'Here, "There And Everywhere'. "The harmonies on that are very simple, just basic triads which the boys hummed behind and found very easy to do. There's nothing very clever, no counterpoint, just moving block harmonies. Very simple to do ... but very effective."
thanks for posting this - it's truly interesting. i doubt that one can simply say that the talent for these vocal harmonies was innated. i suppose that the gigs they did before they started recording were a good school. paul mccartney was doubtless the more talented singer. george harrison is a little bit underrated - in my opinion he contributed some very good vocal lines. john lennon was the one with the most distinctive voice, but as a singer he was average. but what is really amazing is how good the "colours" of their voices match. even if what they did was "just basic triads".
i think i'll get in touch with these guys:
Hi DoBotherMe. Thanks for dropping by. The Beat Gear Cavern forum is a very good one, well worth joining to see (though they really should let guests view the threads without signing up).
Joe said:Hi DoBotherMe. Thanks for dropping by. The Beat Gear Cavern forum is a very good one, well worth joining to see (though they really should let guests view the threads without signing up).
Yeah, I don't know why it's that way. We could ask, cuz I saw you there! Dana ; )
DoBotherMe said:There's a Beatles board BeatGearCavern http://www.beatgearcavern.com/.....m/ on how to sing and play Beatles songs. It's a great place to find out ANYTHING about the Beatles. You have to register to navigate around the board. Well worth the time. Dana ; )
hey, that seems to be a good place to find information. i will register and post a feedback. thanks.
This could be worth reading: The sound of the Beatles. Of coarse, it's probably more "theory" than you want, but there a ton of articles on this site on how the harmonies work and the songs in general.
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Anyone know what the harmony voice is singing in "I Will" ?
Couldn't find anything at YouTube.
(I just registered at Beat Gear, but it will take a day or so before I'm fully registered.)
It seems like a 2-part harmony, with Paul singing both parts.
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