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Apr 11

THE ART OF USING BACKING TRACKS

THE ART OF USING BACKING TRACKS

In an earlier blog THERE ARE 2 TYPES OF MUSIC: GOOD MUSIC AND BAD MUSIC. I touched on the subject of backing tracks. In this blog I would like to expand on the subject.

Let me say from the outset that I will not enter into an argument with anybody about how terrible backing tracks are and how they are killing live music etc. I’ve been there, done that, and got 20 T shirts on this subject. I’ve done the live band, and original music bit for many years. Obviously I would prefer a live band, but there are far more important factors at stake, like feeding my family.

If you are living in a country or community that still has sufficient affluence that can afford a live band on a regular basis in the local pub, hotel, restaurant etc. or you are financially independent, then good luck to you. If like me you are living in a country very hard hit by the economy, and you have financial responsibilities, then the whole discussion changes. How to use backing tracks with integrity and creatively and continue working.

The first step in using tracks with integrity, is to make sure all tracks are of a high standard. In this day and age there is no excuse for mediocrity. Technology has come so far, there is no excuse for using a dinky sounding midi file, with a mechanical feel. I recently came across a German backing track website that had a NO MIIDI FILE logo/sign. (In other words their tracks were all recorded with real instruments)

I’ve known people over the years, who for their own personal integrity would only use midi files that they have created themselves. Those same people are now recording their tracks using live instruments. The beauty of this attitude is your track is totally CUSTOM. Custom tracks are the ideal way to go, as then all the parts played in the live performance, guitar, piano, solos etc. are left out of the recording. It also allows you to be creative with the arrangement.You don’t have to perform the song exactly like the original.

I tend to use a combination of tracks created especially for me, and ready made tracks that I have bought. There are 2 companies in particular that I use for bought tracks. www.karaoke-version.com and www.songgalaxy.com They are my companies of choice as they both offer their tracks in a multi-track format. This means I have far more control of the final recording. I can leave out some instruments, change volumes in the mix, and add reverb, compression etc. to certain instruments.

In my performances , I always intersperse some completely live songs with just acoustic guitar and voice. This creates contrast in colour, but also shows my audience that I’m not totally dependent on modern technology to be able to make music.

There are several advantages of using tracks:

  • – Financial. There is no need to divide the gig fee at end of night.
  • – Relationships. No arguments and fall outs with other band members jeapordising income.
  • – Rehearsal. No need to schedule rehearsals with others, and I work as hard as I want to.
  • – Performance flexibility:

It means I can play danceable music which I couldn’t play with just solo piano or guitar.
It means I can play lead guitar solos, or sax parts, which would be difficult or impossible without accompaniment.

WATCH THIS SPACE.
In the near future SaxAxeMAn in collaboration with PianoMarc  www.marc-johnston.com will be launching a range of Instrumental backing tracks. Recorded with live instruments, to the highest possible standards.
The tracks will be suitable for concert, Eb and Bb instruments.
Each file will contain recording of the track with and without melody. Plus lead sheet in C, Eb and Bb

This tracks will be great for solo performing instrumentalists, music teachers, students and hobby instrumentalists.

If you follow the SaxAxeMan website, this will ensure that you are notified as soon as the tracks are available

Subject: Backing Tracks.

Tags. backing tracks, custom tracks, midi files,music teahers, students, instrumentalists. guitar,sax, piano,rehearsal,performance, lead sheet,quality,integrity,creativity

1 comment

  1. Kevin Brown

    I am a blind, jazz saxophonist,…I am now 57…
    I have played in various venues around the world,…I now reside in Texas…

    I have found that I enjoy playing solo sax more these days,…on reason is that it is hard to find other musicians who play the type of music I like to play, and who play on my level…

    I use backing tracks, some of wich I mix down in my studio,…I am use two “Bose Compacts”,…four for larger rooms…

    At first I didn’t take playing solo serious,…but I have learned that there lots of people who want to hear what I paly…

    I can say, however, that my playing is at its peak,…I can pretty much play anything that I can imagine,…This is not boasting,…but, due to hours, and hours of intense practice…

    I thank you for your advice, and information….

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