Double Tracking

Double Tracking
February 24, 2017 Trip Wilson

Double Tracking

C. Stephen Byrum, PhD


In the early 1960s, Abbey Road Studios in London—yes, the same Abbey Road as the Beatles—were pioneers in advancing the technique of “double tracking.” Tracks of music could be layered on top of each other, first manually, and then electronically to give greater depth—the integrated sounds of multiple instruments and voices, with differences in effect like those between a solo instrument, a quintet of several instruments, or a full symphony orchestra. Early on, many of us who had been around even before the Beatles, learned the difference in the “depth” of the sound with stereo as opposed to mono. Of course, we have lived to see multi-track recording is almost infinite in its possibilities, both in high-tech, professional studios and even driven now by laptop computer synthesizers.

The whole idea had started with John Lennon. Lennon insisted his voice be “double tracked”—again, first manually and then electronically. Lennon wanted the added depth to conceal—maybe to enrich—his own voice. Basically, as hard as it is to imagine, John Lennon hated the sound of his own voice! It was only after his death, that Yoko Ono, his wife, began to release non-doubled tracks of his singular voice performing, and it was unique and beautiful.

You might imagine when a singer hates the sound of his/her own voice, that self-side issues—self-esteem issues—are being encountered. A person has a beautiful voice, but he does not see it, nor hear it himself. So, what does he do? He adds depth in order to conceal and hide, and ends up concealing and hiding something very important about his own Self from others and from his self.

In working with Judgment Index, we have typically seen about 30% of the people in our database exhibit a very “abstract” and incomplete view of Self—an under-appreciation and shallow view of Self. Our most regular response is to create developmental approaches in which individuals are encouraged to see the greater “depth” of uniqueness and singularity they possess and, once recognized, could redefine them in more profound and significant ways. I think this approach is right and appropriate in many instances.

However, Lennon’s “double tracking” may teach us there are also times in which people do not have sufficient self-awareness and self-appreciation because they have added unnecessary “depth.” Sometimes, it may be as important for us to look for “depth” that has been added as it is to look for “depth” that has yet to be discovered. Who we are, on the most intrinsic level of our existence as human beings, can be missed because of a lack of awareness and appreciation of the “depth” of our uniqueness. Who we are on this most intrinsic level could also be missed because we have intentionally and consciously added “depth”—double-tracked our own Selves because we don’t like the sound of our own “voice.” Perhaps, Lennon (and we, in turn) would have been better served to simply hear himself singing “Let it be, Let it be, Let it be, Let it be. Whisper words of wisdom, Let it be, Let it be.”