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A young child says to his mother, "Mum, when I grow up I'd like to be a musician." She replies, "Well honey, you know you can't do both."

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Author Topic: Click Track With Feeling :-)  (Read 2265 times)


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Click Track With Feeling :-)
« on: January 24, 2015, 01:32:03 PM »

Have you ever recorded to a machine based click track and felt constrained somehow? Sometimes it seems like you're fighting against the machine, trying to inject a bit of feeling into the performance, but you're dealing with a clinical time master. For a lot of cases, it's worth it to work this way, as the more you add to your project, the better things will sound if they're added to a solid grounding. However, for simple songs, there are ways to keep all the instruments in time, yet preserve subtle time dilations and performance dynamics.

One method I have often used when producing acoustic based artists is to have them perform a guide track with a microphone positioned near their foot. Place something hard under their foot so you can record a definitive sound. The sound itself doesn't matter, as long as it's audible. As the artist records the guide track, you'll also be recording a separate, organic, click track for use for the addition of more instruments to the project.

Another method is basically the opposite of the above. You have the performer record their basic guide with one instrument and a vocal and this is usually on the same track with one microphone. You then make a copy of this guide track and playing it back, slice on every bar or second bar. Just play it back with your finger on the slice key! Then, approximate the tempo of the song and from the last bar, snap its beginning to the nearest bar marker of the project. Do this for all slices. Then, go back to the end of the song and time stretch each chopped up section to snap the ends to the end of their relative bars. You'll have a natural sounding performance, but it'll be timed to perfection. Why would you want this? Having a machine synced performance makes it easy to arrange sections of the song and also makes it very convenient for adding sequenced sections. You can hand sequence a keyboard or string part and then just drop copies of it wherever you like in the project and they'll fit perfectly. It also allows you to add a simple drum track for use instead of a click. Many people find it hard to play well to a click track and a simple drum beat seems to aid them.

NOTE: In most modern software, there are options to automatically chop up a track and sync it to the project tempo. I suggest trying the manual method only if the automatic results are problematic. The automatic method may work best if you combine the foot generated click track with your guide performance, as the software will have a steady 'beat' to identify with.
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