Not every piece of music suits a backing track

Any piece of music can be produced as a backing track. ANY. However, there are some pieces of music that, although they can be produced as a backing track, playing along or singing along with that backing track afterwards could be nigh impossible.

One such case was a customer who is a violin player who asked us to produce a backing track of a classical piece so that she could then play her violin ‘live’ on top of the backing track. We’ve produced many tracks for this particular customer but this time we had to decline. Yes, the backing track would have been relatively easy for us to produce for her, but I knew she would have had an absolute nightmare trying to play along to it.

Here’s my reply to her with the bad news that we couldn’t do this particular work for her:

Hi

Unfortunately we are unable to do the track for you so I contacted another arranger friend I used to work with many years ago who has arranged for many orchestras in the West End.

He just got back to me yesterday to say that unfortunately he can’t do it either.

The problem that we all seem to have with this piece is that it is without tempo and no-one (myself included) can find a way to make it work with any sort of tempo.

In the original you sent through you’ll notice that the violin player is playing very much to his own timing and the orchestra is following him (i.e. the orchestra constantly speeds up and slows down depending on how the violin player is phrasing the passages he’s playing). In other places, the opposite is happening and the violin player is taking some cues from the orchestras lead.

With a backing track this is not possible because a backing track is pre-recorded so its timing is “set in stone” and won’t change with you as you play.

This means that the violin player (i.e. you) would need to keep time with the backing track…and if there is no tempo on the backing track to guide you this would be almost impossible to do.

Even if you did practice and practice to play in time with the backing track, you’d still lose all the feeling in your playing by being restricted to the timing the backing track dictates.

In some pieces of music you can get away with having a few little out-of-tempo parts (as long as there aren’t too many and they’re not too long). You would just learn the timing of these parts to make sure you keep up with the backing track.

But in a piece of music like this one where the whole song has no strict tempo anywhere in it at all, there is no guide for you and it would be nothing short of a nightmare to play along to.

If you do manage to find anyone who says they can produce this backing track for you, just be careful. Make sure they are willing to do as many remixes for you as you need because I suspect that you’ll be sending it back and forward to them for remixes quite a bit to change the timing of certain passages that have ended up too quick or too slow in places. It may be easy enough to produce a abcking track for this song but it’ll be a nightmare to get right.

The problem is that the whole song depends on the violin player and the orchestra both playing together and working together.

With any backing track that’s just not possible to achieve…