A Band is described a group of musicians who Play together. If you’ve looked at our “Cyber Bands” section, you’ll discover our variation because musicians play in incremental recordings and each recording is merged to form a band. Backing tracks are somewhat similar, yet different. Cyber bands start with a musician playing to another musician’s recording. Vocals should be entered with the lead instrument player's recording, because band members, accompany the vocals.
In Cyber Band music we call the organizer – the Band Leader. In Backing Tracks, the Producer has more control as to the accompaniment level of play. Backing Tracks are recorded by highly skilled musicians and the producer may have hired an engineer to produce top quality sound. Of course, your budget is all important, but you are the Director, the Producer and you call the shot.
To keep everything in Sync, the backing track is composed of two parts, the instrumental part, which is sent directly to the speakers and a click track, which is a Metronome heard only by the band through head sets which keep in time with the backing track. There are more complex systems which include more tracks which are distributed to various channel mixers so sound engineers can alter and control sound. There are MIDI sequencers which can control audio and visual effects including stage lighting. Digital Mixers and Multi-trackers are used by the pros, but keep in mind, absolute perfection is unattainable. Many successful recordings have rhythmic inconsistencies with missed or flubbed notes. Even so, a good sound tech can correct most of it. Some bands use click tracks without backing tracks just to keep playing in time.
Have the band play the song several times to gain meshing. As the producer you’ll fast realize where the musicians need guidance. Perhaps a player is dragging notes or the instruments aren’t blending. Even with multiple takes, tempos sometimes change; you can change that by having the musicians listen to the metronome ticking at the correct tempo before the take.
You’ll find egos play a lot in cohesive bands, so if you’ve got a take which is acceptable, tell them so and then encourage another take for perfection. Brainstorming for ideas and encouraging creativity goes a long way to soothe the musicians ego, however it is the producer’s call as to editing and producing a cohesive sound.
Like anything else in life, experience is the best teacher. Keep doing it and soon you’ll see how you can effectively use Backing Tracks. Almost all professionals use them, so start experimenting.
The following is a list of links to articles on Backing Tracks, Midi and Music Synthesis and select instrument sites, including the Top guitar sites, drummer and Keyboard (piano) sites.
Back Track Info