Frequently Asked Questions
MP3, REAL Tracks, MIDI – What’s the difference?
- MP3 – On this site, an MP3 means a backing track that has been produced mechanically. It is not the original artists’ recording with the vocals removed. Over tens of thousands of hours we have painstakingly played and/or programmed the music of each song into a computer. We then mix them using the sounds of various sound generation modules and save them it in the common MP3 format for playing at live gigs or shows or using them as a rehearsal tool or even as a jam or Karaoke track to sing along to. These are our reproductions of popular songs.
- REAL Tracks – We use the term “REAL Track” on certain songs because our session musicians have performed and recorded real instruments on these backing tracks. This generally includes guitars, backing vocals, percussion, saxophone etc. These are played by real people and rehearsed over and over in the studio until we get it sounding pretty authentic and close to the original song. This is why these tracks cost more. We have wages to pay for the use of the talented muso’s we hire.
- MIDI Files – Are these tracks just MIDI Files? In their basic form, yes. They started life as MIDI files when we created them many years ago. But back then, technology was so slow it was inconceivable to download MP3’s over the internet. So they were in fact sold online as MIDI files for a time. However, MIDI is the source-code of these songs and like any software developer will tell you, you should never sell your source code. With technology being a lot better and faster today, we are able to convert these to MP3 format and mix them with much more realistic sounding instruments (and of course REAL Tracks) which has many advantages over MIDI. Forget MIDI backing tracks. MP3 and REAL tracks are the only way to go!
Lyrics v TAB v Chord Charts – What’s the difference?
- Lyrics – are the words of a song, only. There are no performance cues as to how long an Intro or Guitar Solo goes for or the chords or timing or other key performance indicators of a song. It is merely the words transcribed onto a page. If you only want to know the words of a song, this might be all you need and there’s plenty of free Lyrics sites on the internet where you’ll be able to find what you’re looking for. This site does not offer Lyrics (free or paid). But if you need to know how to perform a song, this is where you need to look beyond just words and think about song structure and chords.
- TAB – comes from the word “tablature”. Many people think this is a modern concept born around the time of the internet in the 1990’s, however, this is not the case. The first known occurrence was in Europe around 1300, and was first used for notating music for the organ. Nowadays TAB is more commonly associated with a simplified method of learning songs on the guitar. TAB goes some way to providing a song structure for learning songs, but due to the voluminous space it requires on page to show all the boxes of notation, it is generally not practical in a live performance setting. It’s fine if you only ever play at home, but if you perform music (or want to perform) professionally, you’ll need something more concise and intuitive for live performance. This is where our professional Chord Charts come in.
- Chord Charts – The Chord Charts on this site are specifically designed for live performers. They are different to the above as follows;
- Compact – they are concise (usually fitting all words and music onto just one page). In this way, they can be thought of as similar to the old Jazz Cheat Sheets – but with words.
- Accurate – most of the song material on the many free Lyrics and TAB sites on the internet are ad-hoc and uploaded by amateur musicians who have given it their best shot. And good on them for sharing. But near enough is never good enough when you want to perform professionally. As an example; An amateur muso might write down a “G” for a chord, but we might hear that there is a “B” bass note being played as well. When we hear that kind of extra embellishment, we would write that in the chart as “G/B”. That is, a G chord with a B bass note.
- Detailed – as an example, lookup the chords on the free Lyrics and TAB sites for the Bee Gees song “Alone” and see what you can find. Chances are, you will not find anything that comes close to the level of detail we have in our charts. See below.
Why aren’t these Backing Tracks and Chord Charts free?
- Seriously? See item 1 and 2 above!
There’s not many songs here, why so few?
- These backing tracks take thousands of hours to re-produce, so naturally this takes time. If we wanted to smash them out fast and sell any old quality online we could do that. But we are all about quality here at Soundbank, so we take our sweet time, and we get it right – so that YOU sound awesome when you perform.
Can I request a popular song to be added?
- Hell yes! Go for it. Contact us here.
Can I get a song customised to my requirements?
- Sure thing, drop us a line here.
Can I get Soundbank to produce my own original song?
- Absolutely, we love doing that. You know the drill… contact us here