Silent Night: A Breakdown

Silent Night - Barbara Rose/Kreil 

Role: Producer, Mixer, Engineer, Arrangement, Programming, Guitar. 

The challenge in this track was having the vocals sound fluid throughout the piece.  In a faster track with more instrumentation involved, I find that it is less noticeable having breaks for breath between words.  However, in a song that is extremely vocally prominent, that is not the case!  To emulate the effect of a choir, each vocal harmony was layered four times and panned around the stereo field, with slight delays added to a few of the tracks.  Each vocalist sang one line at a time on two different tracks (“Silent Night, Holy Night” on track 1, “All is Calm, All is Bright” on track 2….etc.).  After I had comp’d their best performances together, I then went in and crossfaded everything together and applied pitch correction as needed.  To add extra support, I bounced out each layer of vocals and threw them a few milliseconds behind while bussing them to a reverb to extend the sound out further.  I also added an “airy” synth to gain a similar effect.  You can watch segments of the sessions that brought this version of “Silent Night” to life, as well as a mix breakdown on my YouTube channel.  

The vocal tracks after being comp'd and tuned, including the vocal synth at the bottom to help the lower vocal harmony part connect each phrase.

I arranged the instrumental for this song after a pre-production session with the artist.  The arrangement features a piano part at its center and software synths build around it to create an atmosphere.  The climax of the song is the instrumental bridge between verses 2 and 3.  The solo heard in this section was originally composed for synths, but the client preffered the sound of harmonized electric guitars in similar vain to Queen or Trans-Siberrian Orchestra.  After I performed the solo on guitar, I used a pitch shifter to double the takes an octave lower.  The resulting artifacting from the pitched down guitars gave a desirable sound in the mix that bridged the gap between synth and guitar.