Hi there.

I'm currently working on a song I wrote (singer-songwriter stuff), and I want to record it. I noticed how a lot of other musicians use harmonies. Often they sing the same lyric, but in a higher pitch (an octave higher), is this some sort of technique or is there any guide on how to do this? When I write my music, I usually don't use hamonies, but I want my recording to be a "professional" as possible.
Any help/thoughts are highly appreciated.

(Sorry for bad english).
Harmonies in singer/songwriter create an almost "wall of sound" effect, similar to what rock/metal artists do with guitar. Which is kind of interesting, cause you'd imagine it's more like a choir, but it's not.

It's up to you if you want to. I would say to write harmonies if you want to, but it's not 100% needed. I love the sound of a good, well-arranged harmony, but if you don't know how then i wouldn't worry about it as it can sound bad real easy.

As far as "learning how to" look up basic music theory and chord construction. Most artists typically sing in 3rds above and 6ths below, but recently I've heard some artists doing almost Bach chorale type harmonies (The 1975 is a GREAT example of this, and Taylor Swift's "Style" during the chorus repeat has some cool stuff happening) where you have multiple melody lines going on that build each other up.
Most music is harmony itself. But you shouldn't feel obligated to use something you have no knowledge about. That would just come out half assed. If you really want to use harmony, analyse your favourite songs that use them and/or check out some lessons on harmony (hint - use 3rds)
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I might look into the theory behind harmonies before actually trying to compose some.
Regarding double-tracking the vocals, how does that work? Wouldn't it just sound the same as a single track of vocals? Or am I missing something?
Quote by kimbo-jack

Regarding double-tracking the vocals, how does that work? Wouldn't it just sound the same as a single track of vocals? Or am I missing something?

no every time a take is recorded there are slight variations between takes.


watch this all the way thru as BV explains why CC double tracked his vocals and it has a ton of recording tips in it.
Quote by Leather Sleeves

Also, listen to Simon and Garfunkle for ideas of how to use vocal harmonies right.

Agreed, simple harmony lines from artists such as that come out quite well.

To the original poster, the way to get the harmony into your production can be done dy re-singing, doubling a vocal track in post, or using a harmony box such as those by TChelicon
It really just depends on what the intended effect of your song is, and that's up to you and your ear. A lot more vocalists than you would think use harmony in their writing, some more subtle than others. Chad Kroeger, for example, has a pretty recognizable voice in the pop-rock world but that tone and timbre come from vocal layering and harmonies. The "gravelly" rock voice is just a 3rd and 5th harmony layered behind the main line which creates a kind of harmonic distortion.
Then there's Layne Staley era AiC which used harmony a lot more obviously, and for the purposeful effect.
Do whatever sounds good. While it depends on context, harmony parts tend to improve a song. You can do that for both guitar and vocals.