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#506953 - 10/30/22 07:27 PM Backing tracks, pre-arranged sets, etc.
cgiles Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 09/29/05
Posts: 6612
Loc: Roswell,GA/USA
I found this video very interesting and educational. A wealth of info, much of which could be applies to arranger performances. Really worth the look for a number of reasons. I'd love to hear some comments.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZXUPuiC9Eo&ab_channel=RickBeato

chas
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"Faith means not wanting to know what is true." [Nietzsche]

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#506960 - 10/31/22 01:29 AM Re: Backing tracks, pre-arranged sets, etc. [Re: cgiles]
Bernie9 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 09/21/02
Posts: 5467
Loc: Port Charlotte,FL,USA
Excellent video giving a plethora of information that involves many of us to varying degrees. I will go back over the video and comment later.

Bernie
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#506961 - 10/31/22 06:15 AM Re: Backing tracks, pre-arranged sets, etc. [Re: cgiles]
Bernie9 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 09/21/02
Posts: 5467
Loc: Port Charlotte,FL,USA
I had no idea of the extent of the use of backing tracks. I know it is because of my age because the majority of the bands started using them from the late nineties on. Many of my peers consider a backing track cheating. Personally, I think it depends on the extent of automation versus actual playing or singing, and what parts are not played by the musician. As an example, when I see lip syncing or, someone pretending to play, my estimation of him or her goes down the drain. Yet, when I play with an arranger, it seems acceptable because everyone knows one person can't sound like a full and or orchestra without some outside help. Yes, the purists even rail against this. The other question about tracks is how they are made. Is Karaoke taboo, but pre-recorded parts later mixed into the master acceptable, and by whom?

We older musos have spent many years perfecting our trade, and self satisfaction or ego enters into the equation. We see young wannabe's coming out with full backing while contributing some minor part themselves, and feeling it isn't fair. Welcome to the age of automation. As far as we are concerned, playing an arranger, we wonder if the audience even appreciates our own artistry, and think we are playing a jukebox.

Back in the day, 50 or 60 years ago, I was the first in Palm Beach County to play a B3 with a Rythm Ace(drum machine), and I was a hit; no more. I guess we either follow today's trend toward backing tracks or play to small groups of seniors.

In any event, we will always have the self satisfaction of knowing what we accomplished through the years, whether the kids appreciate it or not.
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pa4X 76 ,SX900, Audya 76,Yamaha S970 , vArranger, Hammond SK1, Ketron SD40, Centerpoint Space Station, Bose compact

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#506962 - 10/31/22 07:17 AM Re: Backing tracks, pre-arranged sets, etc. [Re: cgiles]
cgiles Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 09/29/05
Posts: 6612
Loc: Roswell,GA/USA
Gee Bernie, very inciteful. You DO have a way of articulating the thoughts of most musicians in our age group AND YOUNGER. I'm glad you took the time to plow through that video. Like you, I wasn't aware of what went on behind the scenes in both live and studio productions, especially the use of pre-recorded audio tracks. I'm hoping others will also view this, if only for the educational value. There is a lot in there that could also relate to the arranger scene. For one thing, I'll look at current musical productions with a new sense on curiosity.

chas
_________________________
"Faith means not wanting to know what is true." [Nietzsche]

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#506967 - 10/31/22 09:01 AM Re: Backing tracks, pre-arranged sets, etc. [Re: cgiles]
DanO63 Offline
Member

Registered: 10/18/22
Posts: 54
Loc: Baltimore MD
Nice video.

I like the WHO. It was obvious they had pre recorded tracks for songs like "won't get fooled again" & vocal tracks for "Who are you".

If I go to a concert, the performance is what matters. Backing tracks don't bother me.

I'm not into Hip Hop. But Rap artist use tracks all the time.




Edited by DanO63 (10/31/22 09:03 AM)
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#506968 - 10/31/22 09:05 AM Re: Backing tracks, pre-arranged sets, etc. [Re: cgiles]
Bill Lewis Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 11/12/08
Posts: 2427
Loc: Bluffton/Hilton Head SC USA
Good points bernie. And good video Chas, I've watched it before. I've gone thru the same progression of drum machine to arranger. I feel if your doing all you can live IE:Singing and playing the keyboard what's wrong with filling the song in with a track. It's like I'm playing with a band. I use about 80% edited Styles on my BK9 and because of the wonderful ability of being able to put jump markers into SMF's I also use those, again very edited. The jump markers give me the ability to extend a song if necessary. That was the main drawback of me using them in the past. It's when it gets to the point of lip syncing or faking playing that I don't like it.
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Bill in SC --- Roland BK9 (2) Roland BK7M, Roland PK5 Pedals, Roland FP90, Roland CM30 (2), JBL Eon Ones (2) JBL 610 Monitor, Behringer Sub, EV mics, Apple iPad (2) Behringer DJ mixer

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#506970 - 10/31/22 09:21 AM Re: Backing tracks, pre-arranged sets, etc. [Re: cgiles]
DanO63 Offline
Member

Registered: 10/18/22
Posts: 54
Loc: Baltimore MD
At NAMM a couple years ago. Keith Emerson tribute. TARKUS

Jordan Rudess is very well known. He is keyboardist for Dream Theater

Listen to the backing tracks. Jordan doesn't care about any one's opinion'

Warning ! This is very progressive rock


https://youtu.be/vmF0wqBHyVY


Edited by DanO63 (10/31/22 09:51 AM)
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Dan O in Maryland USA
Korg PA4Xpro - Ketron SD1plus

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#506971 - 10/31/22 10:43 AM Re: Backing tracks, pre-arranged sets, etc. [Re: cgiles]
Diki Offline


Registered: 04/25/05
Posts: 13994
Loc: NW Florida
I think the dividing line comes at the point where people come to a show to see a band, have paid full price for a ticket, and the band uses tracks to perform music that could be performed fully live with the addition of maybe an extra keyboard player or two, or a keyboard player and an electronic/acoustic percussionist. To me, that’s fraud, pure and simple. Tracks are being used to save money for the promoter and band, and most people have gone to the show expecting to hear the live band.

There’s a massive divide between that and what most of us do (if we perform live at all). People are showing up to eat a meal, or grab a few drinks and try to dance with a pretty girl (or their wife!), there is seldom a cover and the venue neither has room nor budget for a 4 piece, let alone one with a horn section and percussion etc.. No one is being defrauded, no one shows up expecting a full band, certainly no one shows up because we are a big name and they want to hear us live…

Perhaps the argument could have been made back in the late 80’s and early 90’s as sequencing and arrangers first arrived on the scene and some venues that had trios and quartets for dining and disco dancing started to cut back. In fact, I recall many about it then! But that ship has long sailed, and the solo or duo with backing has become a staple for smaller venues.

But Rick’s video is about an altogether different thing, with no relevance to us at all.

As to the whole ‘audio/SMF vs arranger’ thing too many agonize about, the truth is, we’re the only people that care. The audience couldn’t care less. The meal or that dancing partner is what they care about, as it should (remember, that’s what they came to do!). Which means of automatic backing you use is completely your choice and yours alone. Both have their strengths and weaknesses, and most of each of their weaknesses are gradually being addressed by technology.

Arrangers are sounding closer and closer to live tracks, and live tracks are getting more and more flexibility about structure, key and tempo, and flow between songs (if you use the tools provided!). So which ones you use are of concern only to you.

However… I believe very strongly in NEVER giving your audience the opportunity to think that you aren’t playing at all. Their attention is always focused on the lead solos and your piano playing, and allowing the technology to do those for you while you just hold down a chord is inviting disbelief for when you actually ARE really playing..! Once lost, that audience trust is hard to reestablish. And yes, admittedly, as I said before, a whole lot of them aren’t paying any attention at all, but some are. And so are YOU! I mean, why are you here with a keyboard if standing behind a DJ deck would do the same job?

Because you want to PLAY…

So, lay the ‘audio/SMF vs. arranger’ debate finally to rest, it’s dead and buried. Use what gives YOU the most enjoyment and showcases what you do best to your audience, and sleep soundly that night (tinnitus permitting!). You’re the only one that cares.

But a major band using tracks? If I know in advance that’s what’s on the menu, I’ll stay home and listen to their tracks on my stereo and save a fortune. I don’t mind if the live performance sounds different to the CD, in fact that’s part of the reason I want to see them, to see how great musicianship pulls off great music with smaller resources. If they feel that they can’t impress their crowd without a ton of studio magic carried around on a laptop, that reflects poorly on both them AND their crowd.

Last point… I make an exception for trade shows, product demonstrations etc. I didn’t pay good money to see the band, I came to see the gear and how it was used. But a concert? I’m not paying today’s exorbitant seat prices to listen to a CD with a band on top!
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An arranger is just a tool. What matters is what you build with it..!

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#506975 - 10/31/22 12:12 PM Re: Backing tracks, pre-arranged sets, etc. [Re: cgiles]
Bernie9 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 09/21/02
Posts: 5467
Loc: Port Charlotte,FL,USA
Good points, Diki
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pa4X 76 ,SX900, Audya 76,Yamaha S970 , vArranger, Hammond SK1, Ketron SD40, Centerpoint Space Station, Bose compact

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#506976 - 10/31/22 02:35 PM Re: Backing tracks, pre-arranged sets, etc. [Re: Diki]
cgiles Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 09/29/05
Posts: 6612
Loc: Roswell,GA/USA
Originally Posted By Diki


So, lay the ‘audio/SMF vs. arranger’ debate finally to rest, it’s dead and buried. Use what gives YOU the most enjoyment and showcases what you do best to your audience, and sleep soundly that night (tinnitus permitting!). You’re the only one that cares.



Wow! This misses the whole point of why I posted this. I posted this as a historical and educational piece, NOT, REPEAT, NOT to forment a DEBATE, especially a debate about something that had/has NOTHING to do with the posted video. Sorry if I seem a little annoyed but then again I guess I shouldn't have asked for comments (which I thought was different from a debate, especially a debate over a point no one was trying to make in the first place).

Oh, and sorry Bernie, they may be good points, just not germane to the spirit and intent of this post.

chas
_________________________
"Faith means not wanting to know what is true." [Nietzsche]

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