Octave-Doubled Vocals

From: Dan

To: Ian, Jeff, Miah

I basically think that doubling lead vocals an octave above or below, and appreciably quieter than the lead, makes any recording monotonically better, and is neither here nor there in terms of “interesting”:

I would conjecture that for all songs in the universe, you could add a double’d vocal and either turn it up so as to be perceived, or turn in down so as to be imperceptible, and one of these would make the song better. It’s like make-up. Or almonds. Or profanity.

Remind me someday when I run a giant studio to always have every vocalist record an octave above and below the lead, just in case.

Speaking of Dead Man’s Party, Dead Man’s Party has unambiguously my favorite horn-section solo ever, which is a low bar, since I couldn’t think of another horn-section solo I care about:


From: Miah

To: Ian, Jeff, Dan

Depending on your visceral reaction to trashy country music, you may think that this is an exception to the "doubled > otherwise" rule:

The redneck at my core doesn't mind it though.

From: Dan

To: Ian, Jeff, Miah

True story: I was driving to a soccer game in Seattle one night... probably an hour in the car one way, 30 minutes the other. 90 minutes total in the car. A local country station was doing some very bizarre promotion where they played "Save a Horse Ride a Cowboy" non-stop for 24 hours, no commercials, no other songs. I listened for the full 90 minutes I had to devote to this project.

So yes, I'm still all-in on octave-doubled vox.

From: Dan

To: Ian, Jeff, Miah

Today I came across a rare instance of octave-*tripled* vocals:

Also, IMO Use Your Illusion is the best rhythm guitar album in the history of rock. I can't get enough of the guitars, Izzy on one side and Slash on the other, both constantly doing interesting things and so cranked that they're *just* on the safe side of feedback.

Then I also came across a less-common case of octave-doubling, with the new octave is *below* the lead (like Dead Man's Party), which in this case sounds ridiculous on purpose:

You'll get the most out of hearing the lower octave if you're watching the video. Or, if you prefer, 2 minutes later:

Simpler times, the '80s were. Simpler times.

From: Jeff

To: Ian, Dan, Miah

Those tripled octaves are crazy.

"Gone" by Ben Folds off his first solo album has a section (the bridge, i think) where the melody is doubled an octave up.

Tons of chords in second inversion there too.

"Gone" also has one of my most favorite bVI chords at the end of the section that starts in the link above. (Gone also has the III that was brought up recently.)

More doubled octaves (maybe tripled?):

Speaking of Dead Man's Party, its melody starts on the same note as Danger Zone does (they're both in Eb minor). I had just got an app for making mashups, so I put together this:


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