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Performing With Professional Backing Tracks

Performing With Professional Backing Tracks

Including live music in a performance or as part of a rehearsal may seem like the best choice you could make when it comes to musical accompaniment. However, there are a many reasons as to why the use of professional backing tracks instead of real instruments may be your best option.

If you’re struggling with a tight budget, a limited time-frame or the size of your venue, then the easy use and application of professional backing tracks are likely to be the best alternative to ensure you put on a perfect performance.

With the calibre of most backing tracks so incredibly high, ensuring an impressive production is easy. With the flexible nature of backing tracks, you can select bespoke or rehearsal tracks to help with preparation, as well as the accompaniment for big performances with backing music for complete shows.

With this in mind, lets looks at some more benefits of using professional backing tracks instead of real instruments:

Cut Out The Cost of Hiring Expensive Musicians

As desirable as it may be, if you’re organising a performance on a tight budget, it’s unlikely you’ll have the luxury of being able to hire live musicians to provide the much-needed soundtrack.

For example, most high-quality orchestras charge in the region of £200 for each player and with a full-size orchestra containing between 50-100 musicians, even at the cheaper end you could find yourself with costs of around £10,000.

Using professional backing tracks can be a real and viable alternative. Many of those who produce backing track are legitimate composers themselves who can offer professional musical services.

With backing tracks you’re able to purchase as much or as little accompaniment, as and when you need. It’s highly flexible and normally a fraction of the cost.

Backing Tracks Can Better Imitate The Original Record

Using professional backing tracks instead of live instruments allows the composition to truly benefit from being constructed in a studio condition.

For example, not only is the recording environment organised to ensure the best sound, but music recorded in this manner also goes through a post-production stage. This often includes sound design, sound editing, audio mixing, and the addition of effects.

These additional extras can be added to help ensure your backing track is more likely to sound as close to the original track as possible. They offer the user a unique opportunity to have highly skilled session musicians or composers replicate the instruments, effects and vibe of the original recordings, all tied up within a professional backing track.

When it comes to achieving backing track authenticity, it’s often about more than just playing live.

They Can Reproduce Sounds That Are Hard To Achieve Live

Using a professional backing track instead of real instruments is often a much easier solution. Not only because it helps save on the cost of the musicians you hire but it also makes it easier when creating music or specific sounds that are hard to replicate live.

Using professional backing tracks removes the need to set-up and oversee a rigorous sound process that is normally required by live artists.

Equally, the beauty of professional backing tracks is that live instruments are usually still used to create them. However, instead of playing live they’re simply pre-recorded in the right conditions and in the right studio setting.

Backing tracks offer the best that live instruments have to offer in term of sound and experience without the expense and inconvenience of hiring live performers for a rehearsal or show.

Sample Libraries – Advantages Over “real” Players

Sample libraries are recordings of real instruments – each note is painstakingly recorded individually in order to build up a library. These individual notes can then be easily played by a keyboard player to create a professional backing track, carefully building up each part of the orchestral score.

Although backing tracks are sometimes produced using live players, this can have its drawbacks when it comes to editing a track later to suit a performer’s particular needs. If the tempo or key requires alteration this can be achieved using software, but this can give undesirable results as it artificially shifts the pitch or tempo creating audio “artifacts”.

When a track is produced using sample libraries, post-editing of a track will achieve a much cleaner result as the revised version of the track will actually be re-recorded in the new key or tempo, rather than shifting the tempo or pitch artificially.

So although live musicians may be preferable to produce a backing track, from a practical point of view a track produced with sample libraries offers much more flexibility.

They Suit Venues With Sound And/Or Space Restrictions

Sometimes the venue used to hold host rehearsals or put a main production is limited on space or lacks the correct acoustics for a fully-fledged band or orchestra.

Using the aid of a professional backing tracks instead of real instruments is just as good as if you’d been able to pack a full set of live musicians into your venue.

Backing tracks give you the best of both worlds in so many ways. Settling for a cheaper, smaller venue will no longer be an issue as you’re able to transport a backing track anywhere, in either a CD or digital format, both of which are ideal if rehearsal should take place in multiple different locations. It’s not as easy to transport a series of musicians, including all their equipment.

Eliminates Human Error

You can run rehearsals for as long as you want, as backing tracks doesn’t get tired. They won’t go out of time with the people on the stage and they won’t break a string.

Once recorded, a professional backing tracking is yours and it will not change. You can rely on it to show up and give the best performance every single time. This gives you great peace of mind when putting on a performance or running a schedule of rehearsals.

Serves As A Last Minute Solution

As with most theatre productions there are last minute problems and issues that need resolving. Whether it’s costumes or choreography, don’t let music be another issue added to your list. The process of acquiring a backing track is easy and simple and can be conducted almost entirely within a digital domain.

The use of professional backing track instead of real instruments may not seem as glamorous or as desirable as hiring musicians to provide the live soundtrack to your performance or rehearsals.

Professional backing tracks however, through the use of quality instruments and the potential for composition of bespoke backing tracks, can and do offer a fantastic experience for use in all types of performance genres and environments.

Stephen Robinson, London Arrangements
London Arrangements specialises in the production of professional backing tracks, ranging from stage and screen music, jazz backing tracks, to classical backing tracks and easy listening genres.

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