What is a Backing Track and Why Should You Use One

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Music production is continually evolving with new sounds created by the use of synthesizers and auto tuning software, but one thing that remains constant is the use of backing tracks.

If you regularly perform live, a backing track is going to be almost essential in ensuring a high quality performance. Here we’ll explain how backing tracks work and give you an overview of how incorporating them into your performances could benefit you.

What is a Backing Track?

If you have ever attended a live performance of your favourite recording artist then you might have noticed just how polished the overall level of production and sound is. This is no coincidence as reproducing studio quality material in a live setting is very difficult. This is even more so the case when a song has an abundance of musical instruments present.

To help in this process, a backing track is usually pre-recorded and then played during a live performance where the artist will then sing along in time with the music.

The Different Types of Backing Track Available for Use

There are varying degrees to how a backing track could assist you in a live performance from a slight boost to your locals to a fully automated production. The recognised types include:

  • Tracked Band and Vocals – This is usually where there is no live performance of either vocals or musical instruments. The artists you see on stage will essentially be lip syncing to the music that you can hear being played through speakers.

This form of backing track is common when a performance requires several high energy dance moves that would otherwise make singing more difficult or when a production is performed for television where audio problems could emerge.

  • Live Band and Tracked Vocals – Much more complex is when only half of a performance is using a backing track. This could either be the vocals or band section of a song. Here, coordination between the two is very important so a live drummer for instance would need a set of headphones which would allow them to keep in time with the tempo of the overall performance.
  • Live Band and Vocals with Backing Track – This is the most common format for most touring bands that you would see perform live. Both vocals and the playing of musical instruments are performed live with a backing track used to add any electronic sounds that are required that might sound sloppy if performed live.

The choice is yours but there is a backing track available for every occasion. You need to decide yourself on the complexities of your performance and which type will benefit you.

Backing tracks are readily available for purchase online. Perform a web search for where to find a backing track online and you are sure to find a catalogue to choose from. Most suppliers will even produce one for you at a cost.

If you plan on taking your stage performances to the next level then the utilisation of a backing track will work wonders for the overall quality of your live production.