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Making Backing Tracks
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Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (37 votes) 
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ELCBK
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June 9, 2021 - 10:28 am
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I'm following John's conversation (and the Greg's Groovey Stuff) , but just realized I really know nothing about Midi's (other than the def), or about creating MP3 files.

Any help with just the most important facts about making/using, would be appreciated! 

Highlights, or just point me in the right direction? 

My new "Spark" Amp supposedly comes ready to use Presonus Studio One - I haven't touched it, yet.  I'm still reading up on/watching tutorials on DAWs (Studio One and Ableton Live).  

I started off exploring, wanting to know how I could import/manipulate/transcribe parts of audio from videos (YouTube) into musescore to use for making backing tracks or composing, but stopped once I realized I'd be better served using a DAW - and my laptop was inadequate.

New laptop, now - sky's the limit!

Thanx, for all your patience. 🙄

https://clipartart.com/images/emoji-music-clipart.png

 

I see a much older thread on this subject and we have scattered conversations, so I'll try to consolidate some of of these with links in this thread for others. 

 - Emily 

 

GregW's got some treasure here!

Drones, Backing Track and Play Alongs

Conversations started in "Groovey Stuff" thread - especially pgs 2, 3. 

Groovey Stuff 

Conversations in JohnG's Blog - pgs 9, 10. 

JohnG's Blog 

Older "Help with Backing Track" Thread with some good info. 

Older Help With Backing Tracks Thread

Older conversation starting at Post No.70 in the "New Group Projects for 2020" Thread.  BillyG talks about "Reaper DAW", too. 

Recording - New GP's for 2020

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GregW
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June 9, 2021 - 3:32 pm
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in general you have 2 types of musical information on a computer...analog tracks ( recording of you playing, a song from a group,..etc) .. and sampled instrument tracks that are stored as files then played back with a set of instructions when say you press an F# key on a keyboard attached to your comuter.  you can research all the nitty grit about how midi works but generally it just does and that seems ok..lol  adds say an acckrdian player at your finger tips.. or say on the session.org you can save a midi file of a song and import it to your daw..assign it a mandolin.

your daw will have an export function that makes the mp3 file that you can play back  in presounus its called mixdown

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ELCBK
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June 9, 2021 - 4:23 pm
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So, if I got this right, you just use Studio One to make MIDIS and I really don't need to know more.

THANK YOU! 

I certainly don't need more rabbit holes🤭

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JohnG
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June 9, 2021 - 4:31 pm
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My own two cents worth. There are really about four ways of conveying music.

1. Score - you can't hear it but an individual can convert into audible music.

2. Analog Sound - In person or phonograph records played through non-digital amplifiers.

3. Digital sound - MP3, CDs, DVDs, computers, etc. There are different ways of storing and playing these back, such as MP3, M4a, WAV, MP2, M4r, and MANY more. Some, like MP4a can also store video data.

4. Midi - More similar to an electronic score. It tells the proper instruments or Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) what voice, notes, volume, and duration.

To show the difference between the sound waves represented by analog and digital see this diagram.

09-waves-and-er-day-9-digital-vs-analog-5-638.jpgImage Enlarger

Just a brief overview of just the basics and there is whole universe of equipment and software to convert, create, and manipulate all of it.

The old curmudgeon!

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AndrewH
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June 9, 2021 - 6:03 pm
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ELCBK said
So, if I got this right, you just use Studio One to make MIDIS and I really don't need to know more.

THANK YOU! 

I certainly don't need more rabbit holes🤭

  

All the notation software that I know of can also produce MIDIs. When I've made backing tracks and click tracks, my preference has been to use Sibelius because I can read music notation more easily than the timeline in most DAWs. If you really need fine control of the MIDI track, you can always generate a "rough draft" version using notation software, then edit it in a DAW.

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GregW
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June 9, 2021 - 6:11 pm
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ELCBK said
So, if I got this right, you just use Studio One to make MIDIS and I really don't need to know more.

THANK YOU! 

I certainly don't need more rabbit holes🤭

  

yeah...registering a presonus account name, entering your product code after finding it on the website, reading all the selections and figuring out whats the correct one, downloading, coming back and discovering download stopped at about 67% so you have to restart, installing and answering the so where do you want me installed...do you want this this...how bout this..questions..choose defaults by the way!  THEN..after install...you have about another hour of downloads for all the sample files and such...so plan for that!!! ...after all that...it will ask you do you want to install updates..say yes..that shouldnt take as long....THEN...its the what now.  so I would suggest using phone and recording a simple tune you know...AND YOU CAN DO THIS BEFORE HAND...either use a usb or whatever apple calls its equiv, or bluetooth transfer, or email and check on laptop the audio file.  USE THAT to figure out how to add an audio track and bring into studio one.   all that in itself will be plenty to keep you busy at first.  The thing about recording that ahead of time is, you can utilize the time when you cant practice fiddle as presonus experiment time.  like when people sleeping or whatever.  headphones are handy btw.  ear buds work just fine to start.

as far as midi...theyll be plenty of midi instruments included and the version you have PROBABLY wont let you install 3rd party instruments anyway so youd need to buy a presonus add on for that...it isnt much but its required.  i dont know what all their versions are called now since im a few behind..but the starter one used to be called artist i think.

dont forget you may have all youre looking for in the spark amp you bought..that may be easier to get up and running.  also, keep in mind internet connection speed and data constraints...does your provider charge extra if you go over certain limit?  a few movies and a big software download may touch that.  

Im just trying to give a few heads up before you jumo completely into it.. itll probably all go smooth..but yah know how things go sometimes.

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Mouse
June 9, 2021 - 6:24 pm
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What is the purpose of doing this stuff? I can’t figure out the purpose. I do not need detailed info, gives me a headache. I am just wondering, in laywoman’s terms, what this is for, purpose?

The Bumblebee Flies!

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GregW
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Mouse said
What is the purpose of doing this stuff? I can’t figure out the purpose. I do not need detailed info, gives me a headache. I am just wondering, in laywoman’s terms, what this is for, purpose?

  

i always thought chatting and interchanging ideas and experiences on the forum was just for fun and information and didnt need a purpose.

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ELCBK
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June 9, 2021 - 7:11 pm
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@Mouse -

Think of it as creating an accompaniment for our playing/performance.

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GregW
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haha...thought @mouse was asking a sorta metaphysical whats the meaning in all this question..for a second 42 popped in my head.

@mouse... think of it as learning another instrument.  all there is to it really..musical expression. or painting..like art..not wall painting although my time would be better spent around the house.

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Mouse
June 9, 2021 - 8:07 pm
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@ELCBK Thank you. I get it now.

The Bumblebee Flies!

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GregW
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back around 2016 before I got into studio one i bought a copy of this.

 

great software..makes pro sounding backing and may be something thats a better fit than getting into a daw.  There are also websites out there that do same thing for a subscription.   None of this stuff takes place of the hours of practice needed on any instrument...theyre just tools to aid that and maybe add something extra to practice and learning.  Theyre not a magic pill that will suddenly improve playing, just another tool in that process.

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ELCBK
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June 9, 2021 - 10:00 pm
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@JohnG , @AndrewH , @GregW -

That's ALL excellent info - all very helpful! 

No matter what music I end up creating/arranging, I definitely feel it's important to end up with sheet music, too. 

DAW alternatives are important for many people, too - so, much appreciated! 

 

@JohnG -

I think you meant MP4 carries audio and video data? 

Btw, ❤ the chart. 

 

@Mouse -

Hope you'll keep asking questions, someday you may want to enhance your videos, or just find it can be another creative outlet related to your music.

 

giphy.gif

 

I remember the Old Days, when having a good equalizer for the sound system in my '78 Z28 was a BIG deal!🙄😆

...a step closer to cranking up the amp! 🤗

- Emily

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JohnG
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June 9, 2021 - 11:44 pm
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@elcbk - You are correct that MP3 does NOT have video capability. And glad you liked the chart!

Edited: My original post has been changed to reflect MP4a and not MP3 has video capability.

The old curmudgeon!

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ELCBK
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June 11, 2021 - 9:00 am
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On the subject of "Backing Tracks". 

I ran across the one for "When I'm 64" (Beatles) here, from "The Backing Tracks - Topic" YouTube site, which I found has many more available for free!  

When I'm 64 Backing Track

Then, on a whim, I searched "Backing Tracks" on YouTube - and a zillion guitar Backing tracks popped up! 

One unusual video among them caught my eye - "Practice with Backing Tracks will ruin your Rhythm and Timing!" by Jens Larsen. 

Practice with Backing Tracks will ruin your Rhythm and Timing!

🤔 I see where he's coming from, but now I have more questions. 

Just out of curiosity, anyone ever thought of using 2 metronomes at once - for practicing to more complicated rhythms or rhythms on off beats? 

giphy.gif

 

...nothing like waiting until the last moment - little over a week from now I won't be 64 anymore! (lol)

- Emily

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Mouse
June 11, 2021 - 9:25 am
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@ELCBK said

Just out of curiosity, anyone ever thought of using 2 metronomes at once - for practicing to more complicated rhythms or rhythms on off beats? 

I have enough trouble with one metronome. Wouldn't you have to be very careful and exact about starting each one at the exact synchronized time? 

The Bumblebee Flies!

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GregW
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June 11, 2021 - 10:00 am
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ELCBK said
On the subject of "Backing Tracks". 

I ran across the one for "When I'm 64" (Beatles) here, from "The Backing Tracks - Topic" YouTube site, which I found has many more available for free!  

When I'm 64 Backing Track

Then, on a whim, I searched "Backing Tracks" on YouTube - and a zillion guitar Backing tracks popped up! 

One unusual video among them caught my eye - "Practice with Backing Tracks will ruin your Rhythm and Timing!" by Jens Larsen. 

Practice with Backing Tracks will ruin your Rhythm and Timing!

🤔 I see where he's coming from, but now I have more questions. 

Just out of curiosity, anyone ever thought of using 2 metronomes at once - for practicing to more complicated rhythms or rhythms on off beats? 

giphy.gif

 

...nothing like waiting until the last moment - little over a week from now I won't be 64 anymore! (lol)

- Emily

  

the one negative thing about backing tracks is if you play with others and have practiced a particular version of a tune found on youtube or whatever..and play to a backing it may not translate well to playing in a group of real people.  youll need to have access to THAT groups version by just listening to them first and recording then building on that.  every method can have stones thrown at it...best thing to do is decide whats best for you and enjoy yourself.  

look up videos on mechanical metronomes synchronizing themselves...sorta like people when they play together..well..sometimes..lol.  

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ELCBK
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June 11, 2021 - 11:02 am
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Guess if you're using 2 metronomes they can't be sitting on the same piece of furniture. (lol) 

Or else, use one mechanical metronome and one digital. 

"The Secret of Synchronization" (Veritasium).  Very cool! 

The Secret of Synchronization

giphy.gif

 

...here we go. (lol) 

- Emily

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SharonC
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June 11, 2021 - 3:37 pm
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I was reading this thread & its predecessor posts (in JohnG’s & Groovey Stuff)—I’m pretty techy, but I realized how little I know about this stuff.  After reading GregW’s post, I started reading about Presonus; I see myself tinkering with this in the future.

ELCBK said

Just out of curiosity, anyone ever thought of using 2 metronomes at once - for practicing to more complicated rhythms or rhythms on off beats? 

I don’t think I’d use two metronomes.  When I’ve come across complicated rhythms, I just break it down into smaller chunks & then put it back together.  I think multiple metronomes would be too confusing to me. 

 

ELCBK said

the one negative thing about backing tracks is if you play with others and have practiced a particular version of a tune found on youtube or whatever..and play to a backing it may not translate well to playing in a group of real people.  youll need to have access to THAT groups version by just listening to them first and recording then building on that.  every method can have stones thrown at it...best thing to do is decide whats best for you and enjoy yourself.    

I use musescore a lot to practice, particularly duets I play with my teacher.  I do find it helpful to practice with musescore, but it is different to play along with real people (real people are better, for sure). 

My teacher recently got a pianist to come & play some violin duet pieces with us (that had accompanying piano part). I only had a slight problem in the middle of one of them where the piano had some triplets I wasn’t expecting—but I just listened for the downbeat & got back on track okay. 

Just as an aside—I found this video that has some folks who play 3 of the pieces we played (from a group of 7) entitled “Anthems of America” arranged by Catherine McMichael.  This video only has the piano & 1st violin part—the 2nd violin has some more complexity to it, & so adds another dimension—but these three examples are really nice, even without the 2nd violin.

 

 

  

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JohnG
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Mouse said
What is the purpose of doing this stuff? I can’t figure out the purpose. I do not need detailed info, gives me a headache. I am just wondering, in laywoman’s terms, what this is for, purpose?  

The whole electronic panoply of options is daunting! The thing to remember is that they are all just tools that in the majority of cases for performers is to help us develop as musicians and/or to share our skills with others.

As an example, after the discussion in another thread about Raglan Road and Dawning of the Day, I decided I wanted to compare the two and I found a YouTube video that had an instrumental (or computer generated sound) version playing along with the sheet music. But I also wanted it as a score in MuseScore.

To accomplish this, I took screen shots as the music played of the score. This took me three captures to get the whole score.

The three pictures were moved into Microsoft Word, enlarged to fill each page, and the document saved.

That document was then converted to a PDF using a tool called "Doxillion Document Converter" from "NCH Software".

I then opened MuseScore and used the "Import PDF" to get into their format. Because I wasn't careful about artifacts from the original pictures (I left the playing location bar visible), I had to correct some measures.

At this point I have a score that can be edited, key changes made, and clef modification made to change for viola. Assigning instruments to the treble and bass clefs allowed me to play it through to see what it might sound like with violin and pipe organ. And can then be exported as an MP3 file for practicing and repeating familiarization. 

I could also make a version of just the bass line to use as a backing track.

Are there other ways of doing this? Yes. Is it necessary for everyone? No.

But it meets my needs. My next steps will be to convert to Alto clef and transpose down an octave (or possible other amount for key change).

The old curmudgeon!

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