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A Guide for Making Better Choruses

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A Guide for Making Better Choruses

Post by Aerlith on Sun Mar 02, 2014 11:40 am

★ A Guide for Making Better Choruses ★

Hi everyone! This guide is meant to help people who both organize and participate in collabs. Since everyone has to start somewhere with collabs, we hope this thread can provide some tips for you! Feel free to also give us suggestions for what has helped YOU with organizing or participating in collabs!

If you are going to join a chorus project, make sure you stay committed. It's a big pain to go hunting down people and hounding them for lines. Then if someone drops out, you end up having the delay the project even more while trying to find someone to replace them. I'm sure no one likes that done to them, and no one likes doing it either. If you are organizing a chorus, it is best if you can find someone who can either mix or animate for you before you start your thread! This way, you don't have to worry as much about finding someone to mix or animate after you have a bunch of people! The chances of the project being delayed are much less! You should also include a link to both the on- and off-vocals, along with the lyrics. Lyrics can be put under a spoiler tag if needed or also linked.

This thread will be divided into different sections and put under spoilers. For the purpose of this thread, the Organizer information will be grouped with the Mixer information.

For Mixers
What's a groupdub? You make a topic, people join and they send in their lines. You throw them together, and you get a chorus. You know this, right? You really better know this. Right? Right.

It can be put into one sentence, but how much that sentence is worth is really up to you! A topic is just a topic, but it reflects all the work put into your group and what they're trying to accomplish! As the dub host and mixer, you're the one that brings it all together. The end result reflects you much more than your singers! You can't afford to be lazy! Time and time again, I've been excited and eager to listen to a chorus, only to find out that lots of the singers are off-key, nobody's harmonizing and the timing is very poor. You can't afford to be lazy! People are putting their time and effort in to sing for you, so you can't let the ultimate goal be a disappointment to anybody! If this means writing a script for everyone to follow, pestering people for their lines before the deadline or going back and telling people to re-record, then that's what you have to do! Your chorus is built off of the people who sing in it, and it's up to you to make sure they work together. Unless you want a chorus that sounds rushed and careless, communication with everybody is top priority.  Don't be shy!

We'll go a bit deeper later.

For Singers
There's one thing you really should be concerned with above everything else; Hitting the notes right. Never mind not sounding cute or not having enough emotion or whatever else you could be worrying about. If you're off-key, you won't harmonize and you'll be messing up the entire chorus in the end! Before you ever, EVER send in your lines, put them against the original song. See if it harmonizes well. The mixer may not tell you to revise things and just take it as it is. Not good. Make sure your lines are something you'd be proud to post on your own channel as a solo dub! Also, if the mixer asks you to fix your lines, fix it! It usually means that it's something the mixer can't fix on their own (ex. timing is too off, notes are off-key). If you need help with understanding what is wrong, don't be afraid to ask!

Also, mixing. You should probably make use of it. Take a look at Ciel's examples and see what a difference it makes. No doubt that it'll increase your chances of getting in if there's auditions. Not to mention if you've made any slight mistakes, you may be able to correct them. (That doesn't mean being off-key, though! Only your singing can fix that!)

For everyone to know
Chorus producers on Nico take other people's completed covers and edit them. They're working with entire songs that they have to modify; Get the vocals out from the background (Which results in a massive quality loss), mixing (Making sure the transitions have absolutely no jarring noise), and lots more! Since all the choruses on YTC are scripted, we have much, much less to worry about. Choruses at YTC actually have the capability of being much greater than the choruses at Nico! Remember this.

What's in it?
What can a chorus have? Let's break it down.

You'd sure as heck better know this. It's the main vocal track of a song that your singers, well... Sing!
Kick it up a notch like Kettaro or Taitson!
Our backing vocals. They can give your song a very rich tone to them, if done right.
Don't like those lame, boring instrumental solos? Nothing a few passionate woooaaahhh~s can't fix! If it's done right.

Play an instrument? Why not throw it in? Sometimes it can really spice up a chorus!

The main vocals are the only thing that's going to be in there in every chorus. Having the others doesn't necessarily make it better. If they're done right, however, they can add a perfect flavor that you may be looking for in your chorus.

Vocals are vocals. They convey your emotions while you're singing, so it's incredibly important that you make your voice reflect the song you're singing.

Think, for a moment, about Kouhei singing Toeto, or nayuta singing Tengaku.

You should be choosing to dub songs that suit your voice. It doesn't mean you have to be some raspy man to sing Nashimoto-P songs (Creepy lolis are just as awesome in those, by the way), but there is a line of reason. On your own, just sing a whole slew of different songs! See what fits your voice, and give your unique edge to the chorus you're auditioning for.

Melodies <Changed>
How to do it
How also also to do it

Taitson's and LOLI.COM's raps. Ooh, yeah. Not always raps, but... Mostly.

Alternate lyrics sung at a different pace. This can be IS VERY difficult to pull off right and have it sound good. You're gonna need one hell of a mixer, and your singer better be pretty good at staying on tempo.

For mixers

Mixing melodies behind the regular track is not something easy to do. Volume control and panning will be your best friends with things like this. Remember, unless it's in the middle of an instrumental, you're trying to compliment and back up the main vocals, not take them over. You'll need to balance and play around with this a lot until it turns out right.

For singers

Different lyrics at a different pace? Oh dear.
Chances are, you may be writing these yourself (Or maybe the host, depending on what's been worked out), so MAKE ABSOLUTELY SURE they fit the song's pace and work well with the instrumental. Sing over the off-vocal several times if it sounds good, then record it and put it back against the original song. If there's any awkward timing, it'll jump right out at you. One little mistake just might be many too many.

How to do it
How NOT to do it

Harmonies are backing vocals sung at different pitches to harmonize with the main vocals. You have to know your musical theory for this. Hit the wrong notes, and it's not going to be pleasant.

For mixers

This isn't easy to do in a group. Communication is the most important thing you'll ever run into here. Give your singers an example. Link to a cover that has good harmonies you'd like to use, or record yourself doing the song with the harmonies in there. If you can IM or chat (skype maybe) in a group, you could coordinate some really good stuff with this. I mean REALLY good stuff. Listen to that example up there. You can pan the harmonies, or use a different reverb with them to help them stand out. However, please do remember to NOT make the harmonies louder than the melodies. The melodies are the backbone of the song, so more power should be given to them.

As a mixer, if you're up to it, you could play with the lines you've been sent in and turn those into harmonies. It could turn out something like this.

For singers

This is where hitting the right notes can make or break it. Of course, getting it right on the main track is important, but having incorrect harmonies on top of flawless singing is, uh...

Not good at all.
Make sure you know your musical theory and which notes will harmonize with the main track for this! Record your harmonies and put them behind the original song! If it doesn't sound amazing there, it's probably not going to sound amazing in the chorus, where other people may be off-key and make both even worse. Never any harm in being correct, at least.

How to do it
How NOT to do it (I'll explain soon)
This is what gives Nico singers their personality!  Throwing in their own flavor to songs. Having some extra humming in there could fill in that gap of waiting for the vocals to start.

For mixers

Script it! For god's sake, script it! Check with your singers and see who's doing adlibs and when! If there's two people adlibing at the same time, give them each other's and make sure they work with each other. If you don't script it and decide to let your singers come up with their own work, make sure to let them know that you will add or subtract adlibs according to your own discretion. After all, it is up to the mixer to decide what adlibs work well together and what adlibs don't!

With that "How NOT to do it" example up there. At 1:20, it's very, very good. Flawless for the song, actually.
A few seconds later, 3 people going at once. It's not bad, but they do clash. It's okay, I guess, but taking one of those people out would certainly have made it better. If you're going more than one at the same time, make sure their words are well-timed with each other.

For singers

Adlibs can be difficult. If you have a good idea of what you want to do, record it and play it against the original song first. See how well it blends. Your adlib may sound flawless in your head on its own, but even one note could ruin the whole thing by not harmonizing well.

What kind of adlib you should be performing depends on the song. Having "Ooohhh~"s in the background can be perfect for slow, peaceful songs where as a high-energy "Hey! Hey! Hey!" would fit a quicker song. It'll come to you as you listen.

Adlib is something that happens in breaks between the singing, so things like Nimo's dialogue here could be considered something like this. Just make sure it rolls with the song, and you know what you're saying.

How to do it
When those Nico mixers make choruses, you'll sometimes see some instruments thrown in. They can be quite the addition. Whether right through from beginning to end or just on top of the song's instrumental solo, adding your own instruments can make your chorus stand out.

For mixers

Balance the original track and the instrumentals you're laying on top carefully. Generally, you'll want your new instrumentals to overpower the original to the point where you can recognize it and distinguish it, but not so much that it drowns out the rest and causes noise. For instrumentals that aren't going through the entire song, you can afford to make them a tiiiiny bit louder. If it's right in an instrumental break, you don't have to worry about your instrumentals overpowering the singing, so you can play with it how you please.

For instrumentalists

Make sure your playing is up to snuff! Chances are, the listeners don't want an amazing climactic solo filled with mistakes. It's not a live performance, so if you can't go more than a minute without making a mistake, you could go ahead and record your playing in parts, just like with singing. Otherwise, make it like you'd make any other instrumental performance.

Hope this guide was of use and clarified any questions you guys had about organizing and participating in a group dub! Original thread was written by an old member of YTC, has been edited, and is reposted with their permission.
Forever messing with staff.
Forever messing with staff.

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