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Chorus Effect-Lynyrd Skynyrd (Can you hear the horns?)

Posted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 4:04 pm
by rogerwimmer
Doc: You wrote somewhere about the term “Chorus Effect” in reference to music. I can’t remember where I saw it, but I never got a chance to read what you wrote. Would you explain it here for me? Thanks. - Michael

Michael: I write many things and I did write something about chorus effect for another purpose. I’ll summarize it here.

So that I don’t have to reinvent the information wheel, please read this short article about chorus effect.

I assume you read the article and have a basic understanding of the principle, and if you’re interested, there are several examples chorus effect with guitars on YouTube click here .

The examples are fine, but I originally was exposed to the chorus effect while listening to videos on the Internet. I found a great example in a Lynyrd Skynyrd song. I don’t know much about music, so when I first heard this version of the song, I sent it to one of my friends who is a Professor of Music at Northern Illinois University and asked him about it. What I wrote to him was this:

“Even though there are no horns on the stage, and no synthesizer that I can see being played (there is one on top of the piano), at one point it sounds as though there are horns playing. How do they do that with guitars? The part I’m referring to starts at 3:39 of the song just after Johnny Van Zant says, “We’re gonna sig the bad boys on ya . . . here they come.” It sounds like horns to me. What’s up?”

My friend wrote back and said, “Where the boys line up and play at 3:39, it's all guitar. The horn effect is more of what is called “chorus effect,” that is, sort of a phasing of the same parts being played.”

So, the chorus effect in “They Call Me the Breeze” is where the phasing of the three guitars playing the same notes simultaneously sound like horns being played. Click on the link for the song and listen for the horns at 3:39 and especially at 3:53, where the chorus effect horns are particularly clear if you look away from the screen - Breeze. (If you can, turn up the sound and you should be able to clearly hear the horns that aren’t actually there.)

I enjoy watching talented people and these guys are talented. In addition to the chorus effect, listen for the four emphasized notes/beats that are repeated throughout the song. The first example is at :25 just before Van Zant sings “Well now they call me the Breeze” the second time. Although I’m not a music expert, I have never heard another song with the same 4-note/beat emphasis. It’s very unique.

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Re: Chorus Effect-Lynyrd Skynyrd (Young Woman)

Posted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 7:20 am
by rogerwimmer
Doc: I enjoyed your answer about the chorus effect, but I have another question about the Lynyrd Skynyrd video. How can I find the name of the young woman in the audience who appears at 3:00 of the video? I gots ta know (as you say). - Robert

Robert: Find the young woman who is in the audience of a video from 2010? Geez. I assume you’re referring to this young woman who appears for only two seconds (scroll up a little and click on the link for the video if you would like to see it again):


The video was shot in the Chicago area, so it’s possible that the young woman is from that area. I don’t know of any way to find her other than getting a tip from someone who does know her and reads this column.

However, if I do find her, I won’t post her name unless she agrees to have it posted.

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