Harmonies schmarmonies

I'm still working on 'Fiftieth Anniversary Edition' (aka 'I'm back').

I spent most of the day testing out the mic at various settings before starting to record, in order to avoid the previous problems with 'pop' ("time to put that pen to paper" had turned into "time to P(boom)ut that P(boom)en to P(boom)aper") to which end I'd bought a pop shield.

As I sang the lyrics again and again I also realised that I needed to change them. Which was OK except for the fact that it also meant re-recording all the backing vocals on the chorus. And that decision provoked me into analysing what I was actually singing.

This has put serious strain on my limited grasp of the theory of harmony.

It's only now that I've realised I'm singing all sorts of wacky notes against a seemingly simple chord structure. No wonder it was difficult to pin down the harmony parts.

I have two problems: one practical and one technical.

In the past, I've been lucky enough to work with good singers who understood harmony, so it was easy in rehearsal to find the space for my voice to occupy and avoid doubling; in fact almost instinctive. I don't have that luxury now on my own in this tiny studio at 3 in the morning. That's the practical problem.

The technical problem is that the chorus vocal holds an A against a G major chord. No problem with that, but what should the backing vocals do? Follow the A or follow the G? Following the A gives a slightly jazzy sweet sound, while following the G delivers a more plaintive folky sound dominated by fifths. I know this because I've spent the last hour recreating the vocals as piano parts that I could tweak and edit prior to using them as guide tracks for the vocals.

More profoundly, this process has thrown me back to the question 'What am I actually doing here?'

On one level, I have supporters who want me just to crack on; fans who are quite happy with 'Fiftieth Aniversary Edition' as it stands and want to hear more songs in the same vein. But I need to know that I've done my best to make this recording work, and so far I think that my jury is till out.