Melodyne Advanced Techniques
Illustration by John Hersey

Correcting harmony vocal pitch


Melodyne Advanced Techniques

with Skye Lewin

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Video: Correcting harmony vocal pitch

Now let's dig into the rest of our backgrounds which are really our harmony vocals. In this session, we have left off right at the end of the last video. We have already tightened up a background section at the beginning of the song that we'll use again under the double chorus. So now we're going to move forward and edit the rest of what's on those tracks. So in this Melodyne session 03_03, everything is set up and ready to go so we can start editing BG 1a. So let's open that up in our Melodyne Editor, and let's have a listen here. (music playing) So, hat's what we already did, so we're going to move on and start at Bar 10.
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  1. 2m 44s
    1. Welcome
      1m 23s
    2. Using the exercise files
    3. What you should know before watching this course
  2. 26m 6s
    1. Setting Melodyne preferences and keyboard shortcuts
      4m 28s
    2. Utilizing Melodyne with your digital audio workstation (DAW) through Melodyne Bridge
      6m 42s
    3. Utilizing Melodyne with your DAW through ReWire
      6m 9s
    4. Using Melodyne in a standalone workflow
      8m 47s
  3. 1h 3m
    1. Editing the lead vocal
      2m 5s
    2. Exploring the live editing approach
      9m 49s
    3. Using the "separate first" approach
      9m 31s
    4. Correcting pitch automatically
      10m 48s
    5. Correcting lead vocal pitch
      13m 16s
    6. Correcting lead vocal rhythm
      9m 34s
    7. Finishing up the lead vocals
      8m 55s
  4. 1h 11m
    1. Correcting background vocal pitch
      9m 56s
    2. Correcting background vocal rhythm
      11m 1s
    3. Correcting harmony vocal pitch
      18m 2s
    4. Correcting harmony vocal rhythm
      13m 6s
    5. Creating new background parts
      3m 50s
    6. Creating effects using the Pitch Modulation tool
      13m 44s
    7. Creating effects using the Formant tool
      1m 24s
  5. 6m 31s
    1. Exporting your edits from Melodyne
      3m 17s
    2. Importing your edits into the DAW
      3m 14s
  6. 26m 31s
    1. Revising your edit
      5m 47s
    2. Making further edits using the Melodyne plug-in
      3m 17s
    3. Using Direct Note Access (DNA)
      5m 55s
    4. Changing the tempo of your audio
      1m 35s
    5. Using Melodyne with instruments
      2m 1s
    6. Using MIDI to edit or perform a recording
      5m 47s
    7. Using Melodyne to trigger an instrument
      2m 9s
  7. 36s
    1. Goodbye

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Watch the Online Video Course Melodyne Advanced Techniques
3h 17m Intermediate Sep 14, 2012

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In this course, producer and engineer Skye Lewin reveals the techniques that professional musicians and producers use to get the best-sounding results from Melodyne. The course covers digital audio workstation (DAW) and session preparation, and shows how to perform rhythm and pitch corrections on both lead and background vocals. It includes lessons on importing and exporting tracks between the DAW and the standalone version of Melodyne, as well as utilizing Melodyne as a plug-in, through ReWire, and through Melodyne Bridge. Skye also shows how to use a MIDI keyboard to edit the pitch of a recorded performance in Melodyne and how to trigger a MIDI instrument using an audio recording.

Topics include:
  • Preparing for a standalone Melodyne workflow
  • Setting up a session
  • Using a live editing approach for vocal correction
  • Batch correcting vocals
  • Correcting the pitch and rhythm of vocals
  • Creating new background parts
  • Adding special effects
  • Revising an edit in Melodyne Studio
  • Changing the tempo of your audio
Audio + Music
Skye Lewin

Correcting harmony vocal pitch

Now let's dig into the rest of our backgrounds which are really our harmony vocals. In this session, we have left off right at the end of the last video. We have already tightened up a background section at the beginning of the song that we'll use again under the double chorus. So now we're going to move forward and edit the rest of what's on those tracks. So in this Melodyne session 03_03, everything is set up and ready to go so we can start editing BG 1a. So let's open that up in our Melodyne Editor, and let's have a listen here. (music playing) So, hat's what we already did, so we're going to move on and start at Bar 10.

I'm going to set this to Play arrangement, so we can hear it along with the instrumental and the lead vocals. (music playing) So we can hear that this vocal right here is going to play as a harmony to the lead vocal. I'm going to tighten this up just a hair. (music playing) Here move on to the next section. Now we kind of know what we're looking for. It's going to be a little quicker to grab it. (music playing) I'm just tightening up the pitch on these, making them sound a little bit more tuned, essentially, more poppy.

Here we know this one needs to do the same melodic change as it did on the first part. There we go. (music playing) So this one really just sits on the same note, so this one is going to be pretty simple. Remove the sibilances from this, so we can tighten up the modulation a little bit. We want to leave the vibrato on the last one. (music playing) Reset the pitch center on the sibilance, so we don't introduce any phasing artifacts like we talked about before.

I'm just, again, tightening these up. (music playing) So we got a weird pitch here. There we go. And here we're into the chorus, and again, I want to keep this somewhat raw. So really, it's these notes that are going to be the problem. (music playing) And that's better, maybe...maybe make the pitch on this one just a hair sharper.

And let's check the second half of that. (music playing) Yeah, again, just these bottom notes. And since we did this already before on the lead vocal, we know that this section essentially repeats. Now we can see that it's a little bit different this time, because there's more after the section that does repeat. So what we'll do, finish editing this section. I'm going to snap these in and tighten them up just a hair. (music playing) And then we can copy and paste that whole section to save ourselves from having to edit it again.

In a song like this it's very, very acceptable to do that because we want that kind of tight pop sound. Now if this was a more natural sounding song, you might actually have a different performance there like we talked about before, and you would actually want to keep that a little bit more unique rather than copying and pasting. So we're going to select the section that we want to copy. I'm going to use our key command for Copy whatever you have set earlier, and then again we're going to select where we want to paste it, making sure that you select starting from the first note and ending at the last note of the selection you have already copied. And then when you paste it, it's just going to replace that section with your already edited section, and then we just got a few notes here at the end that we need to address.

(music playing) Okay, so I'm going to snap the pitch of these. I'm actually going to make a few changes to this pitch. (music playing) Change these all to that note, and what we're probably going to want to do as well is actually change the format so that they don't sound so affected. Now we can play around with that as an effect if we want.

(music playing) Making it a little more natural is our goal right now. I'm just finding the right spot. (music playing) That's pretty good, so we'll go ahead and use that same setting for the other sections of this. (music playing) So you can hear there is still a little bit of an artifact sound to that, and if we really wanted to dial it in, we could mess with that a little bit more. For now I'm going to leave it alone so we can move on.

So now that we have gotten through BG 1a, we're going to use that as a template and go through BG 1b, C, and D. And essentially we're going to tighten these up to make the match what we have done on BG 1a. Now if you want to edit rhythm as you go, you're more than welcome to do that. However, it makes more sense for your workflow. I often like to go back through and do it in a separate pass, but it's really just a matter of preference. (music playing) It looks like I might want to actually do this on the 1a track. So we have found something that we want to change on the track we have already tuned by going through the next track.

And that's something that actually happens fairly commonly. You may think one thing sounds good and then something else sounds better, and you decide to change the entire part to match that. (music playing) So it's going to do this really quickly. So again, I'm just using whatever key commands we set earlier to switch tools. You can also use the right-click, however you're comfortable working. Another thing that we can use is our main tool by just positioning the cursor over different parts of the region represented with different tools. (music playing) Another technique that I like to use a lot is actually just moving the note slightly off the center of the pitch rather than changing the modulation too much.

(music playing) And again, just making sure we are not changing the pitches of our esses so that we don't introduce phasing. (music playing) So you can separate first like we did before, or you can just make all the changes and then separate later and reset, again, using your Reset Pitch to Center command. Here we are, back at the chorus. (music playing) So I'm just going to tighten these bottom notes and leave the top notes there, as I mentioned before we were tuning the lead vocal, kind of wanted to have a bit of an attitude, so I like that they are not perfectly in tune there.

(music playing) Tighten those up a bit, and again, we can make our selection, Copy, and make our paste selection and Paste. Let me just the same changes we made at the end here on this vocal, holding Shift to select multiple regions or blobs. (music playing) So that is bothering me a bit. If we were really going to finish this out properly, I would find a slightly better place for the format.

We can actually spend a minute doing that now, but I don't want to spend a ton of time on it right now. That's a little bit better. We can still dial it in more if we want. I just have one more listen to that end section. (music playing) So now, what we're going to do is move on to our lead vocal 2 track, edit lead vocal 2a, and essentially, this is another harmony part.

So I'll just do this quickly. (music playing) It just needs to be tightened up slightly to the center, most of these are pretty much where they need to be already. (music playing) And here, you can see I'm just going to move this slightly above center so that we keep the shape of the Vibrato centered around the note, or as if the pitch center were selected, it would go a little bit flat.

So I'm just going to move it slightly up. (music playing) To keep that centerline kind of around the center of the true pitch, and I'm going to copy and paste that whole section and address the last little bit here. (music playing) Okay, I'm guessing this note should be a half step higher. (music playing) I'm also going to want to move these 'tude' notes down again, kind of match the change we made on the other part. (music playing) We'll go to our lead vocal 2b, make those same changes.

(music playing) And here, I might want to change this vibrato just a hair. Looks like I could maybe make it center a little bit better at the beginning. (music playing) Again, using that same technique just to nudge it. And here I can see that if we do a copy and paste, we're going to have to separate the breath off the beginning of this note blob so that we can paste it on the second half, because the second half does that breath.

So make that separation with the Note Separation tool. Copy and Paste. Let me just double check our time and make sure that I didn't paste in the wrong place. (music playing) And grab that last little section one more time. (music playing) You can see I'm going fairly quickly now. I'm not really messing too much with addressing the note modulation, just really kind of addressing the center for most of these. (music playing) So I'm going to switch back to the Arrangement window and use our Zoom to > Full Song marker just so I can get a sense of what else is on these tracks.

I can see here that we have got 2c and 2d, are really just the triple and the quad of this part. So let's move on to 3a, and let's take a listen to this part. This is the harmony to that earlier part in the song. (music playing) And pretty much is where it needs to be. I'm just going to tighten up a little bit of that. Okay, and so here is the case where I may actually want to make some separations to really have a little more fine-tune control over that. (music playing) And if we want to be really clearer with the stuff, we can separate out the breaths and reset them just to make sure we are not shifting the pitch on anything that doesn't need to be shifted.

I can do the same thing here, take out the sibilances. And you can also just quickly move everything and then reset the sibilances all in one pass. Looks like I missed this one breath here. (music playing) And maybe tighten that one up a hair. (music playing) Some more mixed stuff that we may want to address later. In this part, they are just speaking, I believe. (music playing) So we can just play it by itself, Play visible. (music playing) That's just a little attitude part. We don't need to tune that because its fine the way it is.

That's the intention there, and we are back here to the chorus again. (music playing) So here we have got a harmony on top that we need to tighten up a hair. Let me go through and just separate the notes first like we did when we were editing the lead vocal, and do a quick and dirty. (music playing) I may choose to Play visible again here just so I can hear this a little better without the track in the background. (music playing) Okay, pretty much there just a couple notes that were pulled to the wrong direction from what we want.

Now that we have got that shape sketched out, we can put the arrangement back together if we want. (music playing) Okay, so we're going to just tighten this whole thing up, and there is one note I'm going to actually change in this. (music playing) Let's have a listen to that. (music playing) I might actually change the second note here. (music playing) And I'll probably slide the second half of this, might separate this out so I can have a little more control over the vibrato. (music playing) Again, using this technique that we talked about earlier, we are essentially making our own vibrato by changing what was naturally there.

So we can keep it kind of growing naturally, or keeping the center a little bit more a lot. Even though there is so much going on that it's really not going to make a huge difference in the overall picture. It's still one of those things that I like to do. So now let's copy this, make a selection, and paste it and just double check that that's in the right place. (music playing) Cool! We can move on and do double of that. Make sure we can hear what we were doing here.

Now we have kind of heard this part. It will be a little quicker to do the double again. (music playing) Same thing with the next part. I'm just going to do this first and then my separations later. You can always do it in any order you like. Sometimes I like to make the separations first. The important thing is that you actually make the separations, and you don't tune the sections that don't need to be tuned. (music playing) Cool! The next section here, this is the speaking part, so we'll just breeze right by that, back into our chorus.

Here we just want to make sure this match is what we did before. So I'll make our separations first here, do a quick tune on it. Kind of looks like this note on 3a might actually be better off. (music playing) Up here, where it is on 3b. (music playing) So I'm going to make that change, correct anything else that needs to be moved. I'm just worrying about the pitch right now. (music playing) And if you want to be doing the rhythm at the same time, you're more than welcome to.

I'm going to grab that next part here. (music playing) I'm just going to make the same changes we made before. And there we go. (music playing) And once we have made those changes, we can make our selection, Copy and make our selection and paste, and just double check the timing. (music playing) We know it's pasted in the right place, and now we can move on to lead vocal 4a, and as we get higher up in the parts, in this session at least, you can see that there are fewer and fewer parts, so it's going to get quicker and quicker.

So let's look at 4a here. (music playing) Okay, so this is pretty simple just a line on top. (music playing) And there we go. Jump to the next one. It's like these might need to be a little bit separated out here to be true to what they are intending to be. (music playing) I'm going to play this without the track so we can hear it a little better. That's more like it.

And I may actually choose to Play selected only just so I can hear it truly by itself. Cool! I'm going to make that T separate so that I can reset its pitch to center. (music playing) Go back to our arrangement now that we know what these notes are supposed to be. Same thing here that we just did on the other section. And then we'll do our double of that on 4b, and if you want, you can start at the end and go backwards.

It's really kind of up to you. Sometimes it's more fun to go backwards. (music playing) I'm going to tweak the Vibrato here just a hair. (music playing) Nice and simple, pretty simple part. Now here we can see that the note starts a little flat and ends up a little sharp. So we can either use our Pitch Drift tool to flatten it out and then we center it, or we could if we wanted instead separate that in several different chunks and center each of them.

And if you wanted to make the vibrato grow you can use your Pitch Modulation tool to increase it gradually through each of the sections. There is actually lots of ways you can fine tune stuff in Melodyne, which is one of the best things about it. (music playing) Now that we have gone through the first two of each of our harmony parts, go ahead on your own and finish the other two of each of the harmony parts. In the next video we'll come back and correct the rhythm for these harmony parts.

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