Musical Composition, Theory and Songwriting/Advice for making a backing track?



I wrote an original song but am not qualified to make a backing track. By it, I mean to have a track on which I could sing.

So I plan to ask an arranger to make it and send it to me as a Wav file. As this will be my first time, I don't know if there are questions or request I should make clear to the arranger.

Could you pls advise?

My sincer thanks,


Are you supplying your arranger with a rough audio demo of your singing your song or will he be working from some sort of lead sheet?
The most important things an arranger needs to know are:

1. What key do you want it in so that you ( or the singer of your choice ) can sing it comfortably.

2.  What is the basic  musical style you want the track  to be rendered in ?

Beyond that point, it's up to you to decide how elaborate you want the backing track to be ( simple rhythm track  or augmented with
string and/or horn parts ? ) At this stage of things, I'd recommend the least complex treatment to showcase the song and lyrics.

He could then send you a mixed wav. file, but if I were you, I'd consider performing the vocal in a studio setting and then mixing the aggregate track with the same sounds, reverb, etc.

Good luck with your project.

Phil Kelly

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Dear Sir, could you please explain this part?

"I'd recommend the least complex treatment to showcase the song and lyrics."

Regarding 'least complex treatment', does it mean someone can use an arranger keyboard to produce a backing track and that is good enough to send?

Thank you.

Hi  again Ben:

Of course  ..providing is using a DAW keyboard device with good taste, good sounding samples rendering a
professional quality arrangement as a song setting, that's the way most demos are done anymore.

What I was referring to was there's no need to overproduce a demo with strings and stuff if what you're trying to sell is the song.
If you were sending this to an artist for recording consideration, you mught put on a few more bells and whiatles ..but other wise,
the song is the object.


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Phil Kelly


I`m a semi-retired professional music arranger with over thirty five years in all phases of the commercial music production business. I can try to answer questions regarding music arranging, theory, orchestration , and/or composition for most acoustic ensembles .( jazz band or orchestral ) I can try to offer suggestions about studio music recording procedures and some basic MIDI applications , too. In the course of my career I`ve worked with such artists as Doc Severinsen and the old Tonight Show Band, Bill Watrous, Buddy Greco, John Gary, Mel Torme, Julius LaRosa, as well as the Pop programs of the Fort Worth, Dallas, North Carolina, and Houston Symphonies, as well as library music material for ABC, ESPN, and NFL Films.

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