What are these backing tracks for?
These backing tracks are intended to allow you to
perform as a solo instrumentalist, using the tracks in
place of a band or orchestra. You can use these tracks
to practice to, and you can use the key melody from the
original recording or improvise. The tracks are designed
and professionally recorded to have the sound and
musical quality you need to perform for any event, at
any venue, in front of any audience.
How do I use the backing tracks?
After downloading the tracks from the site, they will be
available in the directory you chose to save them in in
MP3 format. These files can be transferred to an MP3
player (such as an iPod), transferred to minidisc, or
burned to CD, for playback through a PA system, computer
speakers or Hi-Fi. We recommend a minidisc player, as
they are reliable and have excellent sound quality, but
any of the other methods will serve you well as well.
Make sure, especially on larger stages, that you can
hear the tracks clearly in a monitor mix or similar.
How were the backing tracks recorded?
The backing tracks on this site were recorded by
professional session musicians, with some MIDI
instrumentation, and arranged, mixed and produced by a
selection of the UK's top producers. The tracks were
then professionally mastered with live performance in
Why should I use the backing tracks rather than being
accompanied by other musicians?
Many a musician has despaired of his or her bandmates,
and wished they would just play the song? Well, with a
backing track, you can have just that! Perfect
performance, every time, with no tantrums or egos. In a
professional context, hiring musicians is a very
expensive and time-consuming operation, which demands
large stages with extensive technical setup time, as
well as the services of a dedicated sound engineer. With
backing tracks, it's just you, your instrument, and your
playback device. With tracks of this quality, to
re-create the instrumentation and quality of performance
with session musicians would be monstrously expensive.
This way, you and your audience can experience the very
best sound and performance quality without you or the
people who hired you breaking the bank.
Which tracks are best with which instrument?
In theory, any of these tracks are suitable for any
instrument. Of course, some instruments are easier to
play in certain keys than others, and some of these
tracks, especially some of the classical and jazz
standards, are strongly associated with a certain lead
instrument (although there's nothing to stop you pushing
the envelope!). The description of each track contains
tempo and key information, as well as indicating if a
certain track is strongly associated with a certain
instrument – the vast majority are not.
These prices seem high – why should I pay that much?
These are professional-quality backing tracks, designed
and recorded for use at functions and events, and for
buskers. They have been used, and are used every day, by
musicians who charge hundreds or even thousands of
pounds for their services. At a good busking location,
some of these tracks can make you back the money you
paid for them in less time than it takes to play them!
Compared with the cost of procuring a set of musicians
to play the music in these tracks, the costs of these
tracks represent incredible value, especially as they
have no Digital Rights Management and are yours to use
as many times as you like.
Are there recordings available including lead playing?
Many of these tracks form the basis of recordings by
virtuoso violinist and mandolinist Pete Hartley, and are
available for purchase and download from his site
www.pete-hartley-violinist.co.uk. You can use his recordings for inspiration,
guidance, or just enjoy his playing!
Is sheet music available for the lead lines?
Sheet music will be available on this site shortly for
many of the classical tracks featured on the site and
Pete Hartley's original compositions – watch this space
and sign up to our email list [link] for news on these
releases. Sadly, for copyright reasons, we cannot offer
full transcriptions of more recent compositions.
However, unless indicated otherwise, we endeavour to
keep our backing tracks in the original keys and
arrangements as the original composition or most popular
recordings, so any sheet music you can obtain should be
perfectly suitable for those tracks.
Do I owe anyone any money if I play with these
recordings in public?
No. To play copywritten music (that written within the
past 50 years in the UK) in public requires that the
venue be licensed from PRS for Music, a body that
collects royalties on behalf of composers and
publishers. However, it is the responsibility of the
venue or event rather than the musician to arrange for
and pay this fee; most venues where music is regularly
played will have a blanket licence for such activity.
However, it is best to check, especially for one-off