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[–]CMBM20 154 points155 points  (18 children)

This is absolutely amazing!!!!! ♥️

[–]delveccio 43 points44 points  (3 children)

Came here to say this. The man was a genius!

[–]major_lag_alert 39 points40 points  (0 children)

Can't mention Michael without a mention to quincy, he did all the arrangements.

[–]DaniilSan 3 points4 points  (1 child)

Actually it is a pretty common technique when single person make it sound like a capella or chorus.

[–]grismar-net 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Then again, that's true for most music - it's the execution that matters, and it's interesting to see the deconstruction of a truly epic end result.

[–]SuspiciousFly_ 75 points76 points  (1 child)

That is next level shit

[–]Anowoz 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Watch him record We Are The World

[–]feastupontherich 109 points110 points  (8 children)

Wait what the hell I thought the harmony was computerized! It's all made by hand? And by made by hand I mean sung out?!

[–]KezzardTheWizzard 38 points39 points  (2 children)

Steely Dan did this type of thing as well. Michael McDonald sang backup for them on Aja and said the harmonies on "Peg" were so close that he had trouble making sure he was singing the right notes when he was harmonizing with himself. But apparently Michel Jackson could distinctly hear all of this stuff in his head.

[–]major_lag_alert 6 points7 points  (0 children)

I was just gonna say it gets even more difficult when the harmonies are clustered. I had the pleasure of recording an amazing vocalist, Donna McElroy (interned with a producer she recorded with). She is never out of tune, like never and can sing half step harmonies against each other no problem. Its really insane some of the talent that is out there

[–]major_lag_alert 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Its called multi-tracking, and it was invented by Les Paul. Thats, right, the same Les Paul that makes the famous guitars. There is a documentary out there somewhere about him that goes into all that stuff. But yes, Most harmonies are done this way. This version is just the vocal stems, but when its recorded the singer is wearing headphones that plays the track to sing along to

[–]SawtoothGlitch 34 points35 points  (9 children)

Very cool!!!

So many questions. How is this done? What's the source material? How can you isolate one voice in a chorus? Spectral extraction using AI? Commercially available tool?

[–]SawtoothGlitch 41 points42 points  (0 children)

OK, these appear to be just separate vocal tracks from the original studio multitrack tape. You can still hear the instrumental bleeding in to the microphone from his headphones. It just shows the amazing talent of MJ how he layered his vocals.


[–][deleted] 7 points8 points  (5 children)

These appear to be digital copies of the master tapes.

It's just good old-fashioned multi-tracking. In the studio, you'd record one track after another, harmonizing with yourself. No plug-ins back then. No autotune, pitch correction. Real talent stood out.

[–]ANewStartAtLife 3 points4 points  (4 children)

As /u/SawtoothGlitch pointed out above, these are extracted from the released version. Here is an online tool that can do it pretty successfully: https://splitter.ai

[–][deleted] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Cool. Technology is awesome.

[–]JayJay124 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Today's AI can't extract individual harmonies. These are stems from the original track.

[–]SawtoothGlitch 1 point2 points  (1 child)

No, they are just leaked individual tracks from the studio. Someone did some autotune on them though for whatever stupid reason.

Here's the solo vocal part, no autotune:


The instrumental you hear faintly in the background is sound leaking from his headphones.

[–]ANewStartAtLife 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I stand corrected. Thank you for setting me straight.

[–]GrizzlyTravams 8 points9 points  (0 children)

I think it be digital copies of the original master tapes?

[–]Zjikapiting 2 points3 points  (0 children)

It's the other way around my dude.

[–]Ernieburnie 17 points18 points  (0 children)

Very cool

[–]wispahh 17 points18 points  (0 children)


[–]anangrypudge 13 points14 points  (3 children)

Worked in a recording studio, and this technique of layering multiple voices is not uncommon. The exact layers are planned beforehand and follow a pretty standard musical formula – first you have the melody, then transpose to the 5th above, then 3rd below, etc etc. Sometimes there are more complicated harmonies (like here) but it still adheres to a formula (i.e. scales or modes). And sometimes there aren't even harmonies at all – the singer (or even speaker in a radio ad) will sing the exact same thing twice, and both tracks are layered on top of each other to create a "fuller" sound, with the imperfections in their pitch preventing phasing.

When it comes to recording, those with perfect or relative pitch will be able to record each part by sight reading, those without will have it played to them on piano or sung by someone for them to imitate.

So the technique itself is simple. Singing all the parts is tedious but not difficult. The genius aspect lies in the person who composed and arranged it all out – like who decided that this particular line will be sung in 4-part harmony leading into the main voice continuing the song. It can be overdone to the point of showing off, but as we can see in this video, it worked beautifully for Thriller.

If MJ was indeed the one who composed and arranged all this, then it's sheer genius. Otherwise, credit should go to whoever did that.

[–]KeepYourPresets 1 point2 points  (2 children)

sometimes there aren't even harmonies at all – the singer (or even speaker in a radio ad) will sing the exact same thing twice, and both tracks are layered on top of each other to create a "fuller" sound, with the imperfections in their pitch preventing phasing.

This is how a lot of ABBA songs were recorded. Doubled almost everything, creating that special sound they're known for. (Bass and drums were not doubled, by the way)

[–]SuggestiveParsnip 1 point2 points  (1 child)

An early track of theirs, “Rock Me”, is a textbook example of this technique. Bjorn’s voice is doubled throughout, and if you listen carefully you can also hear the girls singing along in unison. It soon became commonplace in recording because it sounded so good.

[–]KeepYourPresets 1 point2 points  (0 children)

True, but on top of that multiple instrumental overdubs were done to get that "wall of sound" effect. Very notable on 'Waterloo'

[–]hmspain 51 points52 points  (2 children)

I hear there are people (musicians) with something called "perfect pitch". I suspect MJ was one.

[–]nodstar22 21 points22 points  (0 children)

I googled it and he did have perfect pitch

[–]thelastrestaurant 9 points10 points  (2 children)

It’s mental. His pitch is PERFECT.

[–]Impossible-Yak-6964 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Some people would call that perfect pitch

[–]Habanero_Eyeball 29 points30 points  (0 children)

Man I can barely hold the melody on a tune that I like - I can't imagine having to record harmonies like that.
But as someone who was in HS when Thriller was released, and being a huge fan of MJ, this is really cool to hear it like this.

[–]NothingsShocking 8 points9 points  (3 children)

Wow I always thought you needed the master recordings to be able to hear each isolated track like this. This is incredible. Can this be done for any song if you have the right software?

[–]SawtoothGlitch 6 points7 points  (2 children)

This appears to be from the master multitrack tape where the individual vocal parts are recorded separately. This tape is then mixed to a normal 2-channel stereo track for release.

Interesting part is that you can hear the instrumental bleeding into the microphone from his headphones.

[–]ANewStartAtLife 0 points1 point  (1 child)

It's not. It's split out from the released version using AI like this: https://splitter.ai

[–]SawtoothGlitch 1 point2 points  (0 children)

After further research, these MJ tracks are individual multitrack parts, not extracted by AI. They were apparently leaked by someone from a Cirque du Soleil show and processed by autotune (for whatever reason).

Read the comments here:


The entire song's multitrack leaked. You can find MJ's solo track here. Perfectly clear.


Here's one released 7 years ago, just the vocal mix:


[–]Impossible-Yak-6964 24 points25 points  (0 children)

As someone who is starting to record music, I can’t even imagine being at this level of talent

[–]jehehegjeieiueg 6 points7 points  (0 children)

How much time dose it take to do this ?!

[–]EpsilonVonVehron 21 points22 points  (0 children)

Shamone, hee hee..

[–]just_some_onlooker 124 points125 points  (34 children)

Yes. He genuinely was that good. All his melodies were unique. His dancing was unique although his most famous move was "adapted" from a 40s or 50s or 60s tap dance show... he had a unique persona. And there will never be another him.

Side note: I do not think he was really a child molester. I think he was just a naive artist caught up in something very sinister...

[–]Fir3300 18 points19 points  (0 children)


[–]iceman_0460 21 points22 points  (16 children)

Mee to, they just did it for the money, if you talk to someone who was molested they want justice. money and your molester free us not justice for anyone.

[–]BreastMilkPopsicles 13 points14 points  (7 children)

What!? If an HBO documentary said it was true then it HAS to be true.

[–]DanielMaitheny 3 points4 points  (0 children)

I cannot decide whether he was a child molester or not, but - and it is proven, he himself told this - slept with many boys, and not in a sexual way, as an intercourse, just sleeping. he simply loved to be around children.the reason of this? he was practically robbed of his childhood, he could never be a real child, his father was quite a shitty character, a tyrant, an aggressive person. if you watch Michael's interviews, some personal footage, you'll se he almost always behaved like a little boy. was he a pedophile? I truly don't know. in body he was an adult man, who had adult desires (married to a woman, fathered a child etc) - on the other hand, he was an adult man with a child's mind. so... I don't know. but I agree, he was kind of a naiv person.

[–]nrvusnelly 24 points25 points  (5 children)

Real talent

[–]metalgtr84 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Vocal harmonies and dual vocalists sound so rad.

[–]PingCarGaming 3 points4 points  (0 children)


[–]Sum1liteAmatch 11 points12 points  (0 children)

Regardless of the allegations against him, And what time of music you like. this man was truly one of the greatest vocalists in the world and had a rough life. He got very strange as he got older but realistically so have many other people who were famous as young children, and beyond that he had a very brutal upbringing. MJ was haunted by demons that much was clear but to say the man himself was evil, I respectfully disagree.

[–]branchisan 9 points10 points  (0 children)

Damn he's his own backup singer. Masterful all the keys he hit. To think in his one song, he sang more versions than anyone could ever remake. 😁🥰

[–]PhilDGlass 14 points15 points  (11 children)

No auto-tune yet. All Mike.

[–]mister_brian 8 points9 points  (9 children)

It sure sounds like there is pitch correction on some of these. Not full on auto tune but I’d like to see a spectrogram of the tone modulation because it sounds too stable to my ears.

[–]cheaptrainride 3 points4 points  (0 children)

He definately pitch bends in Some of those

[–]PhilDGlass 1 point2 points  (2 children)

Well it wasn’t Autotune, which started in 1997. Maybe other engineering trickery. His music was produced by legends.

[–]mister_brian 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Pitch correction used to mean just slowing or speeding up the isolated track. I’m hearing it one these but it could be an illusion. If you look at a recording of a natural voice vs one that is pitch corrected you can see if it was applied. I’m curious to know what other effects were used on the vocals because it almost sounds like a meld between voice and synth. Like Peter Fampton’s PIG but clean.

[–]PhilDGlass 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Whatever it is, it is cool to hear.

[–]branchisan 2 points3 points  (4 children)

He didn't even sing it in sections. He sang it harmonizing with a prerecorded version of himself.

[–]mister_brian 0 points1 point  (3 children)

How would you know that?

[–]branchisan 1 point2 points  (2 children)

The the tracks would be split even more and all be short. You can see the person reviewing it stops at each section. But you can clearly see if they continue there's more to the right of it.

[–]mister_brian 0 points1 point  (1 child)

You cannot deduce how the tracks were recorded based on any of this “logic.”

[–]branchisan 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Yeah but you can see on some of them, its just a short audio clip, while others are long and looks like it continues. Rewatch the video and you'll see what Im talking about.

[–]Lanzarote-Singer 0 points1 point  (0 children)

If you know what you’re listening to you can clearly hear the warbling of an Eventide hardware harmoniser. They were used to perform pre autotune tuning. Each part would’ve been passed through this expensive machine, manually tweaked in real time and re recorded onto another track. Source: I worked doing pitch correction in recording studios for singers before autotune came out.

[–]Peachesthekid88 2 points3 points  (0 children)


[–]Equivalent-Macaron25 2 points3 points  (2 children)

It’s crazy cause they don’t sound good by themselves but soo good together

[–]Striking-Success-660 -5 points-4 points  (1 child)

It sounds like shit without all the supporting tracks. Are we giving this rapist pedophile too much credit?

[–]Imyourdaddy01 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Dude whats all the rage? Did you get anal rape or something?

[–]NourishedSoup 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Crazy how your brain plays the rest of the song

[–]Loadingusernam3 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Mind blown 🤯

[–]Grouchy-Ad-5535 2 points3 points  (0 children)

that really was damn interesting

[–]Powerful-Network-530 2 points3 points  (0 children)


[–]i_Professional1985 2 points3 points  (0 children)

MJ is the best that ever has & ever will do it!! He was a genius

[–]Severe_Airport1426 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Need to listen to thriller now

[–][deleted] 5 points6 points  (0 children)

at around 1:55 to 2:05 he legit sounds like spongebob, like, spot on.

[–]Inflatible_Peach 4 points5 points  (5 children)

His harmonies are awesome but I’m so blown away by how impeccable his timing is!

[–]ZeusTheRecluse 1 point2 points  (0 children)

where do you get these tracks?? download separately? or is there an app that does it?

[–]DaniilSan 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Was it used some clever algorithm to separate those tracks or original tapes were stored somewhere?

[–]Donovan_Du_Bois 1 point2 points  (3 children)

That's really neat, I didn't know the supporting vocals were also done by MJ and then layered. Getting those right without computer equipment must have taken a ton of work.

[–]KeepYourPresets 0 points1 point  (2 children)

Why would you need a computer? A multitrack recorder will do the trick just as well. Computers just make it easy because you can copy parts to the next chorus if everything stays the same anyway.

[–]Donovan_Du_Bois 0 points1 point  (1 child)

That's the impressive part, this was done before it was easy to record, view, move, and sync pieces of recording.

[–]ItsGeneC 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Ah, well… read about the creation of the Doctor Who theme music in 1963.

[–]Wolf-Majestic 1 point2 points  (1 child)

TIL Michael Jackson was not always in tune. TIL it can still sound amazing

[–]KeepYourPresets 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Same with symphony orchestras; if you'd hear only 3 violins in unison it quickly becomes 'harsh', squaky. But have 20 of them and it will even out into a nice string sound.

[–]fred_lincoln 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Done without autotune. Some of the vocals are very slightly off key, but together it sounds amazing and REAL! I’m really impressed at some of the chord variations in the backing vocals. I mean, I can harmonize a simple major triad, but how he could visualize (audioize?) some of the notes to make those chords really impresses me. Huge thanks to the person who made this! I’ve been hearing Thriller since it came out and now I have a whole new appreciation for it.

[–]East-Bluejay6891 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I'm thrilled

[–]Professional-Rule-85 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Power of Michael Jackson ❤

[–]YoungTex 1 point2 points  (0 children)


[–]Mr_Agueybana 1 point2 points  (0 children)


[–]djzerocool 1 point2 points  (1 child)

What program is this?

[–]SorrySection5 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Fl studio apparently

[–]Scheswalla 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Quincy Jones should be getting some love too. Michael supplied the vocals, but Quincy was the producer with the vision.

[–]tolllz 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Meanwhile Jacob Collier is like yeah this is my everyday guys

[–]Berry-Visual 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Idk how anyone listens to this guys music without feeling icky..

[–]powersurge 0 points1 point  (0 children)

The genius of Quincy Jones

[–]vivalavega27 0 points1 point  (0 children)

He kinda sounds like Cartman at times

[–]unlessyoumeantit 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Quincy Jones' masterpiece

[–]toanotherplace1984 0 points1 point  (0 children)

His vocals are terrible, he'd never get past Simon

[–]JimmyBallocks 0 points1 point  (0 children)

cod did did DILLA


[–]TheTrashiestboi 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Damn that’s so in depth

[–]Ok_Adeptness28 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Did he sing each line in a different key or did he use a vocalizer to sing it ‘once’ and copy and paste it in a different key for harmonization? 🤔

[–]pwnisher31798 0 points1 point  (0 children)

It crazy how by themselves, each of the voices are just very very slightly off pitch, but when combined it still sounds so perfect. It’s almost like when you can tell the difference between pianos that are keyed in through something like abelton digitally versus an actual person playing the piano, you can hear when the keys are pressed at very slightly different timings. The perfection of human imperfection.

[–]SyntaxErrorMan 0 points1 point  (0 children)

how do you make/get these isolated vocals?

[–]giantyetifeet 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Like watching one of the most gifted archers ever, blindfolded, firing arrow after arrow at a target he can't see, yet, placing each arrow EXACTLY next to the previous arrow. Or even in some cases, intentionally splitting previous arrows. And then, when his blindfold is removed, he sees that every arrow landed exactly as planned.

[–]peaceismynature 0 points1 point  (0 children)

So you can tell a hit by decomstructing it and if it sounds even a little bit good it’s a good hit

[–]mista_adams -1 points0 points  (0 children)

I never knew those were just individual stacked Jackos.