Vocal Harmonies from same take?

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bbs
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Post 03 Dec 2018

Hi. I have a vocal recording (the lead) and I want to add harmonies without singing.. Is it possible to make harmonies within the DAW itself from that lead vocal track? If yes: how? I'm new to Reason and music theory, hope you guys can help me out.. :D
Last edited by bbs on 03 Dec 2018, edited 1 time in total.

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Loque
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Post 03 Dec 2018

Duplicating and manually editing via Pitch Editor would produce probably the best results: https://www.propellerheads.com/blog/per ... pitch-edit

You could also try Neptune with a given scale - good luck :-)

Beside all this, there are pitch shifters, but they are not aligned to a scale or dedicated VSTs, which names i forgot.
:reason: 10, Win10 64Bit.

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bbs
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Post 03 Dec 2018

Thank you, but i dont feel like it sounds natural.. what are the rules for harmonies? how many semitones should I transpose it lower than the lead vox
Loque wrote:
03 Dec 2018
Duplicating and manually editing via Pitch Editor would produce probably the best results: https://www.propellerheads.com/blog/per ... pitch-edit

You could also try Neptune with a given scale - good luck :-)

Beside all this, there are pitch shifters, but they are not aligned to a scale or dedicated VSTs, which names i forgot.

PhillipOrdonez
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Post 03 Dec 2018

bbs wrote:
03 Dec 2018
Thank you, but i dont feel like it sounds natural.. what are the rules for harmonies? how many semitones should I transpose it lower than the lead vox
Loque wrote:
03 Dec 2018
Duplicating and manually editing via Pitch Editor would produce probably the best results: https://www.propellerheads.com/blog/per ... pitch-edit

You could also try Neptune with a given scale - good luck :-)

Beside all this, there are pitch shifters, but they are not aligned to a scale or dedicated VSTs, which names i forgot.
The best would be to record more takes.

If that's not possible, I would suggest you get Nectar (try the demo of you don't own it) and see if you can get pleasing results, I assume you will.
Kjempefint :)

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selig
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Post 03 Dec 2018

bbs wrote:
03 Dec 2018
Thank you, but i dont feel like it sounds natural.. what are the rules for harmonies? how many semitones should I transpose it lower than the lead vox
Loque wrote:
03 Dec 2018
Duplicating and manually editing via Pitch Editor would produce probably the best results: https://www.propellerheads.com/blog/per ... pitch-edit

You could also try Neptune with a given scale - good luck :-)

Beside all this, there are pitch shifters, but they are not aligned to a scale or dedicated VSTs, which names i forgot.
There are some basic rules, but many cool harmonies over the years have broken those rules too. One starting point is the harmonics should stay in the scale of the lead - if the lead sings a C major scale, harmonics should follow. That means for some notes there will be 3 semitones between harmonies, for others 4, and maybe for others 5. For example, to sing a C major chord, the first interval (between C and E) is 4 semitones, the second (E to G) is 4, and the third interval (G to C octave) is 5.

At the most basic level, the first decision is whether to have the harmony sing above or below the lead. The next decision is whether or not to have a second harmony (things can get "pretty" when you add 3 part harmony).

Far too much more to go into here - best way I can think to immerse yourself in this world is to find harmonies you really like, and either reverse-engineer them yourself or get help in understanding what they do that you like!
:)
Selig Audio, LLC

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bbs
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Post 03 Dec 2018

selig wrote:
03 Dec 2018
bbs wrote:
03 Dec 2018
Thank you, but i dont feel like it sounds natural.. what are the rules for harmonies? how many semitones should I transpose it lower than the lead vox
There are some basic rules, but many cool harmonies over the years have broken those rules too. One starting point is the harmonics should stay in the scale of the lead - if the lead sings a C major scale, harmonics should follow. That means for some notes there will be 3 semitones between harmonies, for others 4, and maybe for others 5. For example, to sing a C major chord, the first interval (between C and E) is 4 semitones, the second (E to G) is 4, and the third interval (G to C octave) is 5.

At the most basic level, the first decision is whether to have the harmony sing above or below the lead. The next decision is whether or not to have a second harmony (things can get "pretty" when you add 3 part harmony).

Far too much more to go into here - best way I can think to immerse yourself in this world is to find harmonies you really like, and either reverse-engineer them yourself or get help in understanding what they do that you like!
:)
Thank you so much for that great answer. So I can’t just transpose the whole track some semitones to get a harmonie I need to go manually and find out the individual parts of the words that needs to be transposed?? Is that right?. Are there really no smarter/quicker solution? Maybe a plug-in or rack extension? Were I could just type in the scale or something?

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buddard
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Post 03 Dec 2018

bbs wrote:
03 Dec 2018
Are there really no smarter/quicker solution? Maybe a plug-in or rack extension? Were I could just type in the scale or something?
I recommend you try out Neptune Pitch Adjuster, which is already included with Reason.

https://www.propellerheads.com/en/reaso ... ts/neptune

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eusti
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Post 03 Dec 2018

I think there are two factors possibly working against each other here: Not wanting to sing the harmonies and wanting them to sound natural... Not that they have to sound natural by most people's standards... ;)

D.

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Loque
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Post 03 Dec 2018

eusti wrote:
03 Dec 2018
Not that they have to sound natural by most people's standards... ;)
^^This...for just creating that "harmony" sound, it should be enough to pitch them up and down, change the formant and mix carefully back. Add some chorus here and there, and you reached 75% which nobody can differentiate on the latest mobile phone.

For really good harmonies, you need to sing it. It is the same with instruments if you just have one sample available.
:reason: 10, Win10 64Bit.

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bbs
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Post 03 Dec 2018

eusti wrote:
03 Dec 2018
I think there are two factors possibly working against each other here: Not wanting to sing the harmonies and wanting them to sound natural... Not that they have to sound natural by most people's standards... ;)

D.
Its not coz i dont want to, just curious to know the possibilities with in Reason or if 'm working with others vocals were its not possible to get a new recording :D fx a remix of an acapella..

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bbs
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Post 03 Dec 2018

Loque wrote:
03 Dec 2018
eusti wrote:
03 Dec 2018
Not that they have to sound natural by most people's standards... ;)
^^This...for just creating that "harmony" sound, it should be enough to pitch them up and down, change the formant and mix carefully back. Add some chorus here and there, and you reached 75% which nobody can differentiate on the latest mobile phone.

For really good harmonies, you need to sing it. It is the same with instruments if you just have one sample available.
Thanks. can you specify what "change the formant" means :puf_smile:

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pushedbutton
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Post 03 Dec 2018

"A formant is a concentration of acoustic energy around a particular frequency in the speech wave. There are several formants, each at a different frequency, roughly one in each 1000Hz band. Or, to put it differently, formants occur at roughly 1000Hz intervals. Each formant corresponds to a resonance in the vocal tract."

So you can sort of see it as throat shape if you need a real life analogy, not strictly as simple as that but you get the idea when you play with the formant knob on neptune. It's sort of like emphasising the frequencies in speech to effect which sound resonates. The human voice is hard pushed to produce a pure tone and formants are designed to reflect this. It's still a bit of a wishy-washy explanation but the general ideas is you can make something sound more masculine or feminine by increasing or decreasing the formant value.
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selig
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Post 03 Dec 2018

bbs wrote:
selig wrote:
03 Dec 2018

Far too much more to go into here - best way I can think to immerse yourself in this world is to find harmonies you really like, and either reverse-engineer them yourself or get help in understanding what they do that you like!
:)
Thank you so much for that great answer. So I can’t just transpose the whole track some semitones to get a harmonie I need to go manually and find out the individual parts of the words that needs to be transposed?? Is that right?. Are there really no smarter/quicker solution? Maybe a plug-in or rack extension? Were I could just type in the scale or something?
Short answer, there are no “automatic” solutions in Reason - look to the VST (Antares Vocal Harmony Engine) or hardware (TC Helicon line) for viable solutions (there are others too, just mentioning the ones I’m aware of).

As for simply offsetting the pitch - same things happen when you detune an oscillator on a synth patch by a set number of semitones. There’s a few times this may work, but it gives you a very specific feel because some notes end up outside of the scale/key used for the song.

The question is kinda like asking why you can’t just slide drum notes around to make new beats - beat, like harmonies, are pretty involved with each subtle change giving you a slightly different feel. Again, reverse-engineering your favorites (in both cases) will reveal much about what makes you like one beat/harmony over another.

As for quicker solutions, even totally automatic solutions require you to make choices first, such as whether the harmony is above or below the melody, what key is it in, how many harmonies are involved - and even then you’ll end up with pretty conventional harmonies. Whereas, when you have vocals sung by good harmony singers they make unique choices about whether to drop a harmony on certain lines/words, whether to go outside the scale for certain parts, how to shape the tone to blend with the lead, how to drop certain syllables so they don’t stick out (more blending), etc - which is why certain groups get a certain “sound” with their harmonies beyond just the sound of their voice.

Building on the drum analogy from earlier, it can be like asking for automatic percussion tracks to be generated from your drum track - sure, you can do the obvious thing, but it’s more interesting in most cases to put a human in charge of making these myriad of choices.

I’ve used Neptune for creating decent harmonies, but I had to play the harmonies in by hand, making choices based on my experience recording and directing real singers over the years.

Bottom line:
You ask 10 different vocalists what harmony ought to go with a vocal and you’ll likely get 10 different answers. Any “automatic” solution is likely to sound automatic.


Sent from some crappy device using Tapatalk
Selig Audio, LLC

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bbs
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Post 03 Dec 2018

pushedbutton wrote:
03 Dec 2018
"A formant is a concentration of acoustic energy around a particular frequency in the speech wave. There are several formants, each at a different frequency, roughly one in each 1000Hz band. Or, to put it differently, formants occur at roughly 1000Hz intervals. Each formant corresponds to a resonance in the vocal tract."

So you can sort of see it as throat shape if you need a real life analogy, not strictly as simple as that but you get the idea when you play with the formant knob on neptune. It's sort of like emphasising the frequencies in speech to effect which sound resonates. The human voice is hard pushed to produce a pure tone and formants are designed to reflect this. It's still a bit of a wishy-washy explanation but the general ideas is you can make something sound more masculine or feminine by increasing or decreasing the formant value.
Couldn't ask for a better answer!! Thanks!

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NekujaK
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Post 03 Dec 2018

bbs wrote:
03 Dec 2018
Thank you, but i dont feel like it sounds natural..
Keep in mind that in most cases, harmonies don't need to be mixed very loud to contribute their effect (unless you're mixing a barbershop quartet, or somesuch), so while an artifically pitch-shifted harmony may sound unnatural in isolation, when properly mixed into the final track, the artificial qualities tend to get buried, leaving only the overall sense of the harmony. In most cases, only a seasoned ear listening very closely could tell that it's not an actual harmony take. And has been pointed out, it may not even matter that it might sound artificial.

Have fun!
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Creativemind
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Post 03 Dec 2018

bbs wrote:
03 Dec 2018
Thank you, but i dont feel like it sounds natural.. what are the rules for harmonies? how many semitones should I transpose it lower than the lead vox
Loque wrote:
03 Dec 2018
Duplicating and manually editing via Pitch Editor would produce probably the best results: https://www.propellerheads.com/blog/per ... pitch-edit

You could also try Neptune with a given scale - good luck :-)

Beside all this, there are pitch shifters, but they are not aligned to a scale or dedicated VSTs, which names i forgot.
I'm not great at harmonies either but three things I know about harmonies are 1) the harmony isn't always the same words (can be a similar phrase but sometimes can be the same), 2) they aren't always directly at the same time (they might be slightly after or late) and 3) they aren't always a specific amount of semi-tones higher than the note you're harmonizing with. They can vary.

They're actually really difficult sometimes. On occasion, I've spent half an hour or more trying to do a harmony on a chorus vocal to sometimes still not be happy with it after many attempts.
:reason:

Reason 10.2

mcatalao
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Post 05 Dec 2018

IMHO Reason is a great tool for harmonies if you use it judiciously.

As Selig stated there are no automatic solutions for this in reason but imho as a composer you don't want them.

What i usually do, is if i know i want for example a harmony that is predominantly a third up, i'll copy the vocal, set the track as a vocal track, get the vocal a third up in the sequencer, because the time stretch algos in the sequencer are really great, then start working out the harmonies in the pitch editor. If you go to the pitch editor directly and just scroll the whole notes up, it is less natural than transposing up first.

The same for the transpose down. Anyway, if you want to do more vocals (imagine, triads up) you're better off redoing them because the transpose will be too agressive to vocals from the 4th up (imho). If your range doesn't get there, you can do a full project transpose down, record your take, and then conform transpose for all tracks, then pitch edit just to tune the track.

I have examples of full acapella tracks all tuned and edited with Reason, where some of the tracks had to be tuned to extremes with pitch edit. And the result was quite nice.

mcatalao
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Post 05 Dec 2018

The other thing that i can add up is that after adding the vocal harmony, the way you mix it is quite important. I usually have de harmonies separated from the position of the main vocal. If i have 2 different harmonies, i put them on different sides, to create a nice separation from the main vocal.

I like to make multiple takes of the same harmony and mix them. So my harmony lines even for just 2 phrases might be 4 or even 6 different tracks.

For example, if you have a given chorus with a line, i usually don't copy the chorus from one to two, or i usually will have multiple takes of the same line on the comp editor. So i duplicate these tracks, and select different takes on the comp editor or go to the second chorus and get it to the first. Always to have slightly different timmings, slightly different tunings, slightly different performances on the different harmony takes. I then will try to mix these in stereo, keeping these away from the main vocal so that this main vocal is clear and the mix of harmonies doesn't get in its way.

Another good option, is to get this harmony blend in a different group than the main vocal. Once you have a great blend, you will want to level it against the vocal and the rest of the song, and it's easier to control volume of the group with one fader than having to control 4 or 6 or 10 faders. I am usually more dynamically agressive with the chorus than the main vocal, as i like it
to "sit" better in the mix than the main vocal. IMHO the words in the main vocal have to be perfect clear, while the words in the choir can be more muffled.

mcatalao
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Post 05 Dec 2018

Just to finish, i find it interesting nobody talked about Melodyne.

Melodyne works more or less like Reason's pitch editor. It has a lot more controls than Reason's pitch editor, it allows you to select a mode (scale) and it is a bit more natural than reason's pitch editor. The scale will help you create harmonies quicker because when you transpose the line with the mouse, the notes fall onto the scales or mode you selected in the song's tone.

The process is however destructive, while in Reason everything you do to the audio can be undone.

Yonatan
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Post 05 Dec 2018

If the harmonies is in more modern pop music with a denser mix, the Voice Synth function in Neptune may be a good starting point. There are some videos about that, but simply copy the lead vox into a new channel, put in a Neptune there in the rack and choose "Voice synth", and create a track for Neptune in the sequencer. Then just play the harmonies with the midi keys, or draw in the notes by hand. If only wanting the harmony notes, make sure only the voice synth is audible (and reduce "pitched signal" level in "Mixer" section of Neptune). One can also play a new melody-line out of a vocal, or instead of an already recorded vocal track, one can try out singing "live" directly a tone while playing around with the midi keys to try out different harmonies or melodies.
Reason for all Seasons

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Bloma
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Post 05 Dec 2018

selig wrote:
03 Dec 2018
bbs wrote:
Thank you so much for that great answer. So I can’t just transpose the whole track some semitones to get a harmonie I need to go manually and find out the individual parts of the words that needs to be transposed?? Is that right?. Are there really no smarter/quicker solution? Maybe a plug-in or rack extension? Were I could just type in the scale or something?
Short answer, there are no “automatic” solutions in Reason - look to the VST (Antares Vocal Harmony Engine) or hardware (TC Helicon line) for viable solutions (there are others too, just mentioning the ones I’m aware of).

As for simply offsetting the pitch - same things happen when you detune an oscillator on a synth patch by a set number of semitones. There’s a few times this may work, but it gives you a very specific feel because some notes end up outside of the scale/key used for the song.

The question is kinda like asking why you can’t just slide drum notes around to make new beats - beat, like harmonies, are pretty involved with each subtle change giving you a slightly different feel. Again, reverse-engineering your favorites (in both cases) will reveal much about what makes you like one beat/harmony over another.

As for quicker solutions, even totally automatic solutions require you to make choices first, such as whether the harmony is above or below the melody, what key is it in, how many harmonies are involved - and even then you’ll end up with pretty conventional harmonies. Whereas, when you have vocals sung by good harmony singers they make unique choices about whether to drop a harmony on certain lines/words, whether to go outside the scale for certain parts, how to shape the tone to blend with the lead, how to drop certain syllables so they don’t stick out (more blending), etc - which is why certain groups get a certain “sound” with their harmonies beyond just the sound of their voice.

Building on the drum analogy from earlier, it can be like asking for automatic percussion tracks to be generated from your drum track - sure, you can do the obvious thing, but it’s more interesting in most cases to put a human in charge of making these myriad of choices.

I’ve used Neptune for creating decent harmonies, but I had to play the harmonies in by hand, making choices based on my experience recording and directing real singers over the years.

Bottom line:
You ask 10 different vocalists what harmony ought to go with a vocal and you’ll likely get 10 different answers. Any “automatic” solution is likely to sound automatic.


Sent from some crappy device using Tapatalk
You mean I actually have to make the damn music manually? Geez!

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Oquasec
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Post 06 Dec 2018

With newtone & Reason's neptune I don't see much of a point in having melodyne. gave that away years ago.
Might even train relative pitch again just to be able to do that on the fly.
Producer/Sound Designer.
Anything works.

calebbrennan
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Post 08 Dec 2018

bbs
Posts: 25
03 Dec 2018

Hi. I have a vocal recording (the lead) and I want to add harmonies without singing.. Is it possible to make harmonies within the DAW itself from that lead vocal track? If yes: how? I'm new to Reason and music theory, hope you guys can help me out.. :D
Last edited by bbs on 03 Dec 2018, edited 1 time in total.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I think I know what you are asking because I wanted to create generated harmony on sections where I could hear the harmonies in my head and not reach the notes. I experimented with both "Reason's pitch correction" and transposing those notes to 3rds of 5ths and it sounded like crap. You're best bet is to take your vocal track Vox 1 and insert a Neptune under the insert devices tab on the rack unit Vox 1. You need to right click on the neptune and look for "create track for this device.
Turn on the voice synth button on the Neptune and you can control the harmony pitches from your keyboard. Make sure to turn the the Formant button on and play with the volumes and reverbs.

If you keep the harmony signal lower than the main vocal it can be convincing background vox
or in my case it might be a "vocal guide" for my human background singers I will hire later
All electronic harmony will have artifacts but what a great tool

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Dabbler
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Post 08 Dec 2018

bbs wrote:
03 Dec 2018
Hi. I have a vocal recording (the lead) and I want to add harmonies without singing.. Is it possible to make harmonies within the DAW itself from that lead vocal track? If yes: how? I'm new to Reason and music theory, hope you guys can help me out.. :D
This is a composition made up of blocks in Reason 7. The bed was done over a period of several sessions by simply riffing over a 8 or 16 bar loop. Then one night my singer told me the story of her dream. I wrote it down in song form and she sang it and rapped it. She did about 7 takes, that one and only night. At the time I did not have the music completely done in so far as it had a logical conclusion. So I recorded subsequent blocks to bring it to an end. This posed a problem as her vocal stopped at about the two minute mark. Using Reason I copied her vocal and transposed it as necessary and added harmonies - all her.


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ScuzzyEye
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Post 08 Dec 2018

Oquasec wrote:
06 Dec 2018
With newtone & Reason's neptune I don't see much of a point in having melodyne. gave that away years ago.
It was the opposite for me. I knew of Melodyne, and did the 30-day trial. But passed on it, because it was a VST, and expensive. Then Reason got pitch editing. It was using it that let me see the possibilities, but ultimately left me wanting more.

Funny enough, the "more" I really desired was directly related to making harmonies from one take. I knew musically what notes I wanted the harmony to hit, and had them in a MIDI track. But Reason's editor doesn't make it easy to see the MIDI notes, and the pitch editor notes at the same time (or even quickly switch between them). (Also I don't like how Neptune sounds. It's great for a real-time auto-tune effect, but I think the off-line rendering of the pitch editor or Melodyne just sounds better).

So after hours of tediously tweaking a few pitches, and then looking at the note piano roll, and then finding my place in the pitch track again, and hoping I remember the note sequence, and making a few edits, répété ad nauseam. I gave up, and the track sat unfinished for months.

Then I upgraded iZotope's Nectar plug-in to the new version 3 release, and it included the most basic edition of Melodyne. That got me looking at Melodyne Studio again. The ability to see multiple tracks at the same time is exactly what I want from a pitch editor. Also, the sound that comes out of Melodyne's algorithms is by far the best I've heard. They also have a lot of controls for shaping the pitch, timing, and formants, that just aren't in Reason's pitch editor. Yes, Melodyne Studio is very expensive, but at least their upgrade program to step up to the next version allows you to simply pay the difference (in fact it's actually $1 a step cheaper than buying the full version), and upgrades are on sale until the end of 2018.

If you've read this far I'll offer this tip that works with any pitch editing to make a harmony. Yes, it sounds better if you add timing variations in addition to the pitch shifting, but even better is if a line is repeated several times in the track, swap positions between the repeats. That is use the second time the line is sung to make the harmony with the first, and the first time as the harmony for the second. This introduces even more variation than you can make with the tools, and ultimately lends to the believably of it being from more than one take.

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