A simple tick-tock sound or an intricate rhythmic beat containing grooves and subdivisions of a beat employing percussive sounds is a click track. Its main purpose is to help you to keep in time.
Similarly, it can be called a metronome integrated into music production software. Although the term is frequently used in the recording studio, many drummers use the click tracks live to sing along with some backing tracks.
For those of you wanting to learn more about click track, you are heartily welcomed to go through this article. Here, we will answer all your queries about click tracks. Let’s dive right in!
You can also check: Ghost Notes to Exercises on Drums
What actually is a click track?
Even though we have covered what a click track really is, let us break it down further for your ease. A click track is a perceptible metronome that drummers use to stay synchronized with the multi-track recording.
Before playing the click track through the headphones of a musician, a studio’s recording engineer usually monitors the click track. What’s interesting is that you can use the click tracks for random home recording sessions as well.
During any live performance, live bands employ these click tracks as well. Through the in-ear monitors – these keep them synced in time with the rest of the band – the band members hear the clicks. It does not matter if the members on opposite sides of the stage.
What is the motive of a this track?
Does this question come to your mind? It should. After all, there is a reason these click tracks exist. These tracks help all musicians to hear synced-up music throughout the entire music or song by keeping both the live and recorded performance at the right time.
To enable efficiency and precision, the click tracks are in great use throughout the entire music industry. Without this click track or a human time conductor, time-keeping could prove to be a big hassle and tedious. The result? The parts of individual musicians would not sync in excellent harmony. You realize the mayhem it’s going to create, right?
If all the players – from guitarists to drummers to vocalists – record to one single click track, it will get easier to sync songs, thus maximizing the studio of stage time for a group.
What Does A Click Track Sound Like?
The click tracks used in the recording studio usually sound like snare drum beats, digital click noises, closed hi-hat beeps, cowbells, or sounds. To aid the players keep proper track of their time signature, the downbeat of any measure receives extra focus.
On a digital audio workstation (DAW), click tracks are, however, essentially samplers recording a chosen sound at a compatible tempo. If you wish. You can also upload your own sounds (generally as an AIFF or WAV audio file) and have your digital audio workstation play them back at your preferred time signature and tempo.
When & How to Employ a Click Track?
Using a click track can be pretty simple – for both in-studio and live settings music production. By various methods, you learn how and when to use such click tracks. Let us check out some of these.
Live Session Musicians
The studio drummers using studio headphones would primarily use click tracks. First, they attentively followed the click track, and then laid the bead for others to follow. The rest of the musicians can listen to this click track also, but in the case of a multiple musician environment, it is usually the drummer who hears this click track.
Obviously, there is a reason behind this. Everyone follows the drummer and listens to him to keep in time – she or he is the one who steers the music – so what helps the drummer to keep in time? The answer is simple: a click track.
Computer Music Production
If you wish to produce your own music, that too electronically, you can try out the track to lay down the first tracks. Let us first disclose how many “schools” of thoughts there are. When it comes to beat making, there are two such schools: the approach of ‘music first’ and ‘beat first’.
When you put down your drum beat, it is great to keep your click track playing in the beat first method. Next, you can easily change your click track and produce the rest of the music from then on.
For the music first approach, all you do is add harmonies, melodic ideas, and chords, keeping the click track functioning for the entire period until you are done adding the beats. The reason?
Harmonic and melodic music instruments can, depending on the music, allow some level of rhythmic leeway, eloquently speaking.
To keep your items organized, you would like to quantize these musical parts skillfully by a small percentage.
Now coming on to vocalists. What about them? Well, we have seen that vocalists face a difficult time singing to any click track.
In reality, vocalists tend to be rhythmically inconsistent generally, so you cannot bank on the vocals to form a consistent drum beat or groove either.
That is why you will see vocalists creating a basic beat called the pilot recording for vocalists to sing over their parts. By integrating the bass and drum in your arrangement, you can create your own pilot track and then use this basic musical groove like your beat assistant.
That’s a wrap! We have pretty much covered what a click track is and other features of it. So if you ever had any inquiry on a track, we hope you don’t have any now.
To recap, it is a simple audio file that offers sound cues to musicians or a single musician to play the instrument – especially drums – in time. If you want to play to the right beat, start using this tracks now!