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Hints And Tips 4: CHOIR SINGING ALONG WITH YOUR VOCALS - SCII

17 May

HAVING A CHOIR SINGING ALONG WITH YOUR MAIN VOCALIST
tutorial for Storm Choir II Sustains and Staccatos by Abel Vegas

This tutorial will guide you through a simple yet effective technique. At the end you will create an illusion of Storm Choir singing the same lyrics that your main vocalist is singing.
The first thing we are going to do is locating the part of the song where we want the choir to sing along with the vocalist. In this case, I'll use as example an excerpt of the main chorus from my song 'Rise of a Kingdom'.

April L. Gibson wrote these lyrics for the song, we'll need to have them as reference in order to build our Storm Choir version:

"We won't give up now,
we swear to our gods.
you have no power anymore."

We now need to de-construct the original phrases syllabe by syllabe so we can find the most similar-sounding ones in the Storm Choir II Phrase Engine. Of course you can also use the keyswitches to trigger the syllabes. That way you'll be able to write longer phrases, but in this example I will use the Phrase Engine to make it easier to see, so please make sure you activate it on the GUI under the PERFORMANCE tab:

Toy around until you find the most similar syllabes. Pay special attention to the vowels, that's the key that will give the impression we want: the choir singing the same as the vocalist. Here are the syllabes I selected for this example:


Let's hear how it sounds like with the Women Sustains patch, I used the modweel to trigger the louder articulation. Don't worry, sounds dry and the mics are the ones that are loaded by default, we'll take care of that later:
 

If you follow the original lyrics while hearing this example you'll notice it already sounds very close to the real thing!


It's time to blend it with the reverb of the project, choose different mic positions to our taste and mix it so the choir stands out, but not too much or it will cover the main voice. Remember, if you 'hide' the consonants with some mixing (less 'close' mics for example) it will sound even closer to what the main voice is singing!
Also, remember to set the MIDI event a little bit before the click track (some DAWs have an special option to make it sound some miliseconds before, but you can also do it manually). Keep in mind that the choir needs time to sing the consonants that sound first, so listen carefully and make sure it matches the main tempo perfectly. Otherwise, it will sound messy.

After some mixing, here's the final result, the full mix plus Storm Choir 2 singing the melody!


Remember, you can always use the keyswitch function if you feel like you'll run out of slots on the Phrase Engine, and you can combine the sustains patch with the staccatos patch if the melody requires it, but make sure the settings are the same or it will sound different.

In this example I just followed the melody with a simple two note interval, but you can build a more complex chord progression to make it sound richer and bigger if your project needs it, and of course you can do the same thing with the men patches, the full mixed choir blends together perfectly!

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