#1
Simple question...

How common is it for a band to record the chorus of a song and then simply copy and paste it?

I also wanted to know how common this was in days like the 70's 80's, but I realised that there were no in-ear monitors back in the day so the actual tempo changed throughout the song. Or did they have some other technique like recording every chorus seperately while playing back the current recording?

So how common is copy paste in modern recording? And how do you look at this technique. I mean, if I have to record one whole guitar part, I will probably make mistakes. Whereas if I record a chorus once and copy paste it, I'm less likely to make a mistake.
#2
Quote by liampje
How common is it for a band to record the chorus of a song and then simply copy and paste it?
Not much.
Definitely not much.
Quote by liampje
I also wanted to know how common this was in days like the 70's 80's
Before DAW's, more or less nobody did that.
Quote by liampje
but I realised that there were no in-ear monitors back in the day so the actual tempo changed throughout the song.
This doesn't really make sense - the first pair of true headphones is more than 100 years old.
Quote by liampje
And how do you look at this technique.
It can help save time.
Quote by liampje
I mean, if I have to record one whole guitar part, I will probably make mistakes. Whereas if I record a chorus once and copy paste it, I'm less likely to make a mistake.
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#3
Quote by liampje
I realised that there were no in-ear monitors back in the day so the actual tempo changed throughout the song.

They used over-ear monitors

Anyway, anybody who copy/pastes a chorus has no idea what dynamics are, and their song is going to be really boring.
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#4
If the same spot comes up in a track why track it twice? You are recording to get the best possible takes.
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#5
I once brought that up the first time I was in a proper studio with my first band. The tech wanted to kill me simply for suggesting it. It is lazy and will sound terrible.
#6
Quote by CNC-Digity
If the same spot comes up in a track why track it twice? You are recording to get the best possible takes.

Because there should be more energy/volume/attack on the final chorus than the first one (generally). There should be a crescendo across the track, maybe with a decrescendo at the very end. You can't copy/paste those parts and then automate master volume for the same effect, it's just not the same.

Obviously all music is subjective, and this doesn't apply to every genre, but I feel like it holds true across most forms of rock, from pop to punk to metal.

I made an EP using drum loops and copy/pasted choruses, and listening back now, a few years later, it's boring as heck. I still construct a song with loops, but then I replace each track with a single live overdub (punching-in is fine, but no copying/pasting). Makes a world of difference.
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#7
The ENTIRE chorus - instruments and vocals? Will sound terrible. One particular part? Maybe ok (not the lead vocal, though!)
As to your recording issues - keep tracking/retracking, then comp the best parts together - this is the way its done if you can't play one complete track completely perfect.
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#9
Lot's of people do this... if the guitar take is spot on then why not? I know for a fact that Misha Mansoor copy will loop guitar parts on albums. Albums aren't about showing how good you are at guitar... it's about making music.
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#10
Quote by ChemicalFire
Lot's of people do this... if the guitar take is spot on then why not? I know for a fact that Misha Mansoor copy will loop guitar parts on albums. Albums aren't about showing how good you are at guitar... it's about making music.

Copying guitar part loops is different than copying an entire chorus. If you copy the entire chorus, it will feel abrupt and out of place, since there's frequently buildups to the chorus after a verse (drum fills, syncopation, etc.).
#11
It's a matter of personal taste. I did something similar in recording a friends band. They recorded a nice song with three part harmony on the choruses. A week later after getting some rough mixes I was asked by the band if I could copy and paste the background vocals from the fourth chorus to first three choruses. I looked at it as a challenge but I also knew that it was possible since the song was created following a click track and I knew that the timing was the same on each chorus. It worked perfectly on technical level and fell in place with no problem (I was excited to do it) but both the band and I agreed that it felt sterile and out of place. Each chorus was dynamically the same. Thanks to having saved the original tracks it was no problem to scrape the idea and I’m glad I tried it. Maybe it works for other songs or cloning instruments but that was my experience.

Maybe it was like that Jeff Goldblum line in Jurassic Park; we were so caught up in idea that we could, that we didn't think about whether we should. In our case it just it took away a lot of the dynamics of the song and made it sound sterile. Just my two cents.
Last edited by Rickholly74 at Aug 25, 2014,
#12
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
Copying guitar part loops is different than copying an entire chorus. If you copy the entire chorus, it will feel abrupt and out of place, since there's frequently buildups to the chorus after a verse (drum fills, syncopation, etc.).



It could feel abrupt and out of place or it could work perfectly fine.

Sometimes it's just a matter of changing a few vocal lines or bumping up the harmony, or cutting out the rhythm section and adding a fill to get back in.

It's nice if you can get both different and good takes, but some producers and artists are sold on the very best take and want that pasted everywhere. Also sometimes you don't have time to get a bunch of takes, so you have to work with what you have.

I'm all for pasting clips/lines, but I would try to avoid full sections. If you are going to do it I would at least change a few things, like adding a sycnpated lick in the background or cut out the drums(or other instruments) early when moving into the bridge. Find a way to add or remove something so they are at least not identical.
#13
Quote by ChemicalFire
Lot's of people do this... if the guitar take is spot on then why not? I know for a fact that Misha Mansoor copy will loop guitar parts on albums. Albums aren't about showing how good you are at guitar... it's about making music.

That's why his shit sounds stale as hell though.

And even still he won't copy an entire mixdown of audio, that's one guitar track at a time we're talking about here.
#14
Yeah, I don't think using Periphery as an example of stuff not sounding boring/lifeless/repetitive by copy and pasting choruses is the best of examples, Chem Probably shouldn't let my personal taste bias the discussion though...


Anyway, the biggest problem is that subconsciously we do things differently depending on what section is coming next, and the tiny variations in groove and tempo accuracy vs the click track (if you're using one) still make a difference to each chorus. Copy and pasting is fairly common these days, but the fact of the matter is: there's also a lot of dull productions out there these days. More so with everybody sample replacing/augmenting with the same sets of samples, and all striving for the same few productions' as references, I think doing as much to keep things interesting elsewhere is a good thing and I wouldn't want my band to be copy and pasting sections instead of being able to play them right the few times required to complete a song if capable of playing it well live.
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#15
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
Why would you do this? There's no benefit to it.


I can see it being done as part of a demo when working out the arrangement - but your right I can't understand why in a finalized song / mix anyone would cut/paste a chorus.
#16
I do it all the time

There's no real benefit to tracking things multiple times, especially if the band is on a budget and they got it right the first time. If the part changes the second/third/whatever time around, then obviously you retrack, but if you're going for a tight feel, rather than a "live" feel, I don't know why you would use different tracks every time, especially if you're heavily editing it to fit into the kick patterns. Why waste time doing it again?

Obviously, you don't just cut a live drum track and throw it in there again, because it will sound weird - but you can automate and crossfade it into the part before it, if you need to clean up a part that wasn't good the second go-around. Vocals are the same - I always track sections, not the whole thing. You're just going to tire out the vocalist quickly and unless they're freaking amazing, they're going to have A LOT of bad parts throughout the whole thing. Honestly, I hate it when the chorus of a song is totally different in vocals from the last - I might add in some overdubs to change some parts in the background and whatnot, but again - unless I were going for that "live" feel, or something changes in the song, I would use the same take(s) for every chorus, to make it consistent
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#17
Quote by DisarmGoliath
Anyway, the biggest problem is that subconsciously we do things differently depending on what section is coming next, and the tiny variations in groove and tempo accuracy vs the click track (if you're using one) still make a difference to each chorus.

This needs to emphasized. Seriously, it's so common for the drummer to tell himself/herself, "The chorus is coming up. I'll do a fill or syncopate here to build up things a bit". As a result of this, the other musicians react. If you just copy the chorus 4 or 5 times, you miss out on these moments, which often result in a VERY STALE mix.
Last edited by crazysam23_Atax at Aug 26, 2014,
#18
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
This needs to emphasized. Seriously, it's so common for the drummer to tell himself/herself, "The chorus is coming up. I'll do a fill or syncopate here to build up things a bit". As a result of this, the other musicians react. If you just copy the chorus 4 or 5 times, you miss out on these moments, which often result in a VERY STALE mix.

The problem is, most people aren't recording real drums
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#19
Quote by MikeBmusic
The ENTIRE chorus - instruments and vocals? Will sound terrible. One particular part? Maybe ok (not the lead vocal, though!)
As to your recording issues - keep tracking/retracking, then comp the best parts together - this is the way its done if you can't play one complete track completely perfect.


Hmmm... This seems to get rid of the dynamics problem. I will probably go with this technique for my further recording sessions :3. Thank you for this nice insight.
#20
Quote by liampje
Hmmm... This seems to get rid of the dynamics problem. I will probably go with this technique for my further recording sessions :3. Thank you for this nice insight.

You're welcome!

Seems like so many of the people answering this post were saying 'it's ok to copy/paste the whole thing, but then change parts of it.

If you're recording to a click so timing is not an issue, you can copy JUST the parts you need to get things better, or just pieces of each track. I've done that to clean up a bad guitar note or bass line where the part didn't quite have the OOMF of a previous chorus/verse/take. When you get good with fade in/fade/out/crossfading it's seamless, but it takes practice to do it well.
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#21
Quote by MatrixClaw
The problem is, most people aren't recording real drums

Yeah, but a decent drum programmer will simulate this.
#22
I tried this once in order to record a song extremely quickly. It sounded like crap because even if you're playing in time to a click/percussion, your timing is still imperfect enough that any variances in tempo will accumulate over time to the point where you will be wildly off-tempo by the end of the song.

At least, that's what happened to me. My little "time saver" wound up causing me to have to re-track the entire song anyway.
#23
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
Yeah, but a decent drum programmer will simulate this.



Then you just rerecord the buildup before it.

Mostly, I copy/paste as a songwriting tool, so I can hear what the song would sound like in different orders, but I don't see any huge benefit to recording every part that repeats again. If your playing is tight, then I don't really understand how there's any benefit to recording the same thing again. If you want it to sound slightly different, just swap the right guitar with the left, your verses should still transition into the chorus just fine, as long as you're crossfading into them and not just chopping it off at the end and starting the next part immediately.

If you have time to record each part, and the person can play them tightly each time, then you might as well - but in many cases this can be a huge waste of time in a studio environment, especially when parts get pretty technical. Especially if you're quad tracking. Forget it - gigantic waste of time for most bands. They'll often get it right once or twice and then continue to fail every time from there on out. Takes FOREVER and most bands don't have the budget for that.

Quote by CarsonStevens
I tried this once in order to record a song extremely quickly. It sounded like crap because even if you're playing in time to a click/percussion, your timing is still imperfect enough that any variances in tempo will accumulate over time to the point where you will be wildly off-tempo by the end of the song.

I don't know why it would... You're not playing to the off-tempo part that you've copied and pasted, you'd be playing to a different part of the song. If you're that off-tempo in parts, then you need to record the parts over until it sounds right.
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#25
Quote by MatrixClaw
I don't know why it would... You're not playing to the off-tempo part that you've copied and pasted, you'd be playing to a different part of the song. If you're that off-tempo in parts, then you need to record the parts over until it sounds right.


It's hard to explain without visual aids. But ultimately, you're right. It was off and I had to re-record it, so it didn't actually save me any time. I should have just recorded the whole thing in the first place.
#27
Quote by captainsnazz
if you're not duplicating sections at least as a building block then you do not deserve to be making music in 2014

If you think that not using one tool means you shouldn't be making music you do not deserve to be making music ever.

I'd like to see you record anything Jazz or Classical derived with duplication and have it sound good.
#29
Snazz... don't troll this forum, stick to "RIM dissing" in The Pit.
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