Layering sounds (also known as doubling in Orchestration world) is all about dynamics, tone, and making your sound more interesting and complex.
Layering with another instrument doesn't add anything new melodically. It instead expands upon the existing sonic element. If you double a melody, you'll still be able to hear the same melody after its doubled up or down an octave. If you layer an instrument, you'll still hear the same melody though it's character might have changed. Layered or doubled tracks stay true to their original melodic identity.
How to layer sounds:
Start with your existing percussive or melodic track. Create a new track and copy the midi data from your first track to the new one. Keep the same sound and try using the new track to put the melody up or down an octave. Also, try taking the new track and audition sounds to see which one fits best with your creative vision for the song as a whole. You can do this as many times as you need until your sounds exactly how you want. It’s often best to experiment by layering with sounds that are sonically different than your first sound.
Layering in Sound Design:
Layering isn't just reserved for music, it's also used to bring life to scenes in many visual settings in film, games, and VR. In the video below you'll see how sound designers used layering in Jurassic Park, and in a video game. It's really incredible what this simple technique can do to bring these visuals to life. Check out the video below which explains this in great detail.
We hope you can creatively use Layering to find fresh inspiration for your productions.
James & the Multi-Platinum team.