Musicians Backing Tracks

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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 mind.

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 events.

 

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