How to Create a Backing Track

By Christian Mullen

A backing track provides musical accompaniment for a vocalist when live musicians aren't available. Backing tracks are also used to fill out the sound of a live band and add ambiance to a live performance.

Record your backing track with an audio tracking software program such as Pro Tools, which is the industry standard in its class, or use a stand alone recording device like a Fostex MR-16, which is a recorder and mixer built into the one device. Depending on your skill level, you can do this with your home computer or go to a professional studio and employ the services of an audio engineer. If all you need is a simple piano accompaniment for rehearsal, you could use a hand held tape recorder or an mp3 player with a built in microphone.

Create and record the drum tracks you wish to use for your backing track. You can use live drums, a drum machine or a keyboard that produces drum tracks. Add percussion sounds to the drums to create a fuller and more professional sound.

Record vocal harmonies. Many performers put harmonies and background vocals on their backing tracks to make the performance sound more professional or when background singers are not available.

Record guitar and bass guitar parts. Add sound samples, effects and keyboard parts. Many artists use sound effects and and additional harmonizing keyboard parts when a musician is not available to play in a live setting or to save money on hiring additional musicians.

Tip

Keep the vocal harmonies on the backing track subtle. You do not want the audience to think you are lip-syncing.

Warning

Make sure to sound check your audio device before performing, to ensure the backing track sounds natural.

About the Author

Christian Mullen is a graduate from the University of Central Florida with a bachelor's degree in finance. He has written content articles online since 2009, specializing in financial topics. A professional musician, Mullen also has expert knowledge of the music industry and all of its facets.