I don't know if anyone noticed, but in many modern day songs, the vocal seems as if it is being played twice with a small delay to prevent it from being noticed. Alternatively, it is accompanied by a musical note that is identical to the singing voice.

Does this technique have a name? Is it used to enhance the vocals artificially? Some examples:

1:39 (seems like it's even played three times!)

Focus purely on the vocals from a few seconds before to a few seconds after the time provided, it sounds as if the vocals are playing twice.

Here's another example where the chorus doesn't inhibit this behaviour, but the bridge does

1:17 until mid-chorus

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    I only listened to a couple of seconds each, but these all seem to be just simple harmony lines. Another singer (or the same singer on another recorded track, or even a machine) sings a line that fits with the main vocal line - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vocal_harmony. The use of subtle vocal harmony to lift sections of a piece by a solo singer is not really that new - here's an older example I like : youtube.com/watch?v=t6EV49ERWFc (warning - bad girls - NSFW :) Commented Jan 21, 2016 at 1:20
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    A common recording technique that can also be produced live with vocal effects processors is called "doubling". It's nothing more than repeating the recorded vocal with a very slight delay to add a thickening effect. I also hear some harmony in some of the examples where another voice (or the same singer in an overdub) is singing a third or fifth higher than the lead vocal. Another effect that can be used is chorus which is like doubling but with a subtle pitch shift. Some may call the effect you describe as simply a short delay which is like an echo only really fast. Commented Jan 21, 2016 at 2:38
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    All those times you've listed are vocal harmony. It's a technique that is literally as old as western music. Perhaps what makes it sound weird and new is that in modern pop music, the vocals are automatically pitch corrected and time aligned so the harmony sounds more like an electronic effect than like music. Commented Jan 21, 2016 at 4:53
  • @WheatWilliams From a very quick listen. the example in that question uses simple double-tracking; the examples given in this question are all harmony lines, so I'm not sure it's an exact duplicate. Commented Jan 21, 2016 at 14:45
  • Simple double-tracking is a form of overdubbing. It's the same mechanical action whether the person is overdubbing a unison line or a harmony line.
    – user1044
    Commented Jan 21, 2016 at 20:11

2 Answers 2


Sometimes called 'double tracking'. The single vocalist sings another track, virtually identical to the original, and that's put onto the recording as well. It may be slightly quieter than the original, but still comes out like unison singing. The phrasing needs to be pretty close, though, with plosives together, but things like the vibrato slightly different will thicken things up. Otherwise, as others have said, the same words with a different tune that fits to the underlying chords, called harmony, is often recorded. Sometimes with different singers, but also the same vocalist will double/triple track part of the song. All as old as the hills. In a choir, there may be one or several people singing a particular melody line, so it's the same idea.

However, having chance to listen, it's vocal harmony, either overdubbed by the same singer, or with session singers together, or using a harmonizer, which will electronically provide extra singing when it's told which harmonies (and which key!) are wanted.

  • Also automatic double tracking
    – Dave
    Commented Jan 21, 2016 at 13:09

The technique is called "overdubbing" and it's been used since the early days of recorded music. The technique is almost 100 years old.

Wikipedia article on Overdubbing.

  • I've always heard overdubbing referenced as comp takes (fixing small mistakes) or "punching in/out" for corrections. I'd say it's a lot more common to reference the technique stated above as "double tracking".
    – user6164
    Commented Jan 21, 2016 at 14:27
  • @ShawnStrickland, No. Corrections are only special cases of overdubbing. Did you read the Wikipedia article? "Double-tracking" refers to just that -- doubling a part in unison. Overdubbing includes all of it, including harmonies, or one person playing multiple instruments, or adding whole new tracks to a session done elsewhere on a different day.
    – user1044
    Commented Jan 21, 2016 at 14:30
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    Punching in/out is not overdubbing at all, since traditionally on a punch-in you are re-recording onto the same track, not adding an additional track. I'm referring to the original use of the term going back to the earliest tape recordings in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Overdubbing means adding additional tracks or bouncing tracks using a secondary recording medium or a mixing bus on a single multi-track medium.
    – user1044
    Commented Jan 21, 2016 at 14:39
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    Overdubbing is a term with a number of slightly different but specific meanings - it can refer to the technical process used (the most literal meaning is mixing another signal in while dubbing - recording from one source onto another medium). It does also have a connotation of 'fixing', or adding something 'after the fact'. So although it's somewhat synonymous with tracking (laying down individual tracks to a multi-track medium), it is a slightly 'nuanced' term. Commented Jan 21, 2016 at 15:03

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