2 voices on Mercy Street? Can you hear them?
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Hooster

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Just for fun, do this test if you feel like. Listen to the track Mercy Street on Peter Gabriel's So album. Kindly comment on whether you hear 2 voices, and if you can, how clearly. Enjoy.

I would love to have your impressions and it would be nice if you say what equipment you are using.
 
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bigshot

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That’s called doubling. Pretty common recording technique.
 
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bigshot

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Doubling is clearly audible, unless you aren’t paying attention to it
 
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I might be missing the point as well - I definitely hear multiple voices. If you're talking about the verse, there are two vocal tracks about an octave apart - probably Gabriel on both of them?. Other parts have three or four voices - maybe Gabriel on all of them?

I think "doubling" would be the exact same notes sung twice on different tracks by the same singer, correct? I would say that this isn't doubling but simply multiple vocal tracks.

But again, maybe I'm not sure what Hooster is wanting me to listen for here... Other than getting me to listen to So, an album I'm not too familiar with (mostly only know Gabriel by his singles).
 
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sonitus mirus

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Just for fun, do this test if you feel like. Listen to the track Mercy Street on Peter Gabriel's So album. Kindly comment on whether you hear 2 voices, and if you can, how clearly. Enjoy.

I would love to have your impressions and it would be nice if you say what equipment you are using.
Clearly hear 2 distinct voices with my PC's onboard sound playing on a pair of $10 speakers at very low volume levels.
 
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bigshot

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Doubling means it's the same singer singing on top of his previous vocals hitting all the consonants in sync. It's used to "beef up" vocals.
 
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gregorio

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It's not really possible to say how many voices there are (I hear), there appears to be some confusion about "doubling", plus some missing information, "harmonizing".

"Doubling" and "harmonizing" both have two different meanings. In musical terminology, "doubling" means to double the line, either two different musicians singing/playing the same line or the same musician playing it twice (multi-tracked). Same with "harmonizing" either two different musicians playing the same line but one of them shifted harmonically (say by a 3rd, 5th or an octave) or again, one musician playing it twice (multi-tracked). In recording terminology, it's effectively the same thing except there's only one musician and only one performance/recorded track. That "track" is duplicated, shifted a little in time and pitch and then both played together. This is "doubling" and now we have one voice that sounds like two voices, although to be honest it's often used with such a small shift in time and pitch that it still sounds like one voice but a "phatter" voice. Incidentally, this studio "doubling" was invented by Sir George Martin (and Geoff Emerick) on the Sgt. Pepper album. "Harmonizing" is effectively the same thing, one musician and one recorded track which is then duplicated, shifted in time and pitch shifted by a harmonically related amount (say a 3rd, 5th or octave). In the 1970's you didn't even have to physically do this duplication, you just routed your track through a "Doubler" or "Harmonizer" effects unit. In the mid 1970's a company called Eventide released their "Harmonizer" (the first harmonizer effects unit, and by far the best). Within a few years Eventide's Harmonizer became a required/ubiquitous effect unit in pretty much every commercial pop/rock studio on the planet, was used by pretty much every music producer on a large percentage of all commercial music releases and it (or it's plugin equivalent) is still used fairly widely today. In fact, the studio term "Harmonizer" (or to "harmonize") would generally be taken to specifically mean Eventide Harmonizer.

Getting back to the question then: It could be just one voice/track that's been put through Eventide's Harmonizer, so that it sounds like 2 voices and in some places about 5-6 voices. Or, it could be Gabriel multi-tracking himself several times. My guess is that it's a bit of both. I think where there's two parts (with one part an octave lower than the main line) that's been achieved with one track that's been "harmonized" (an octave lower) and later, where there's several voices, we've got the main line, another track that Gabriel's sung higher and then a harmonizer used to create the 5-6 lines/voices. Incidentally, Gabriel was always at the forefront of recording technology and employing it innovatively/creatively in his productions, although the Harmonizer wasn't particularly new technology when "So" was produced. When I was in his studio ("Real World Studios") in the early 1990's, he had two Eventide Harmonizers if I remember correctly.

G
 
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gregorio

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[1] yes you can hear it, sounds like doubling... [2] or like my brother calls it cheating
1. It's not really "doubling", technically it's "harmonizing" as the two voices are not the same notes but an octave apart.

2. Back when I was a classical musician, before I knew anything about studio production, I too thought that just about all the effects, corrective and other types of processing/editing were "cheating"! However, once I started understanding the rock/pop music production process; the creative possibilities, the history of music production and that the evolution of pop/rock genres went hand in hand with the development of these production techniques, I eventually came to appreciate that it's not "cheating", it's an intrinsic part of the music that deserves to be judged on it's own merit, rather like an additional "member of the band" and indeed, that's exactly how it was intended and described/reviewed in the mid/late 1960's, "the studio was made a member of the band".

G
 
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There's only harmonizing on one part of the lyrics as I remember. Most of it is doubled.
 
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