Using Christian Accompaniment Music Split Tracks:
Written for Christian Accompaniment Tracks Music Magazine by Nashville Producer Tony Rollo
The particular type of Christian backing track known as Christian or Gospel split tracks is a high quality solution for many special situations. They work especially well for children’s ministry and congregational services.
The difference between the Christian and Gospel split track and the commonly formatted Christian accompaniment track is in the use of the left and right stereo channel (left and right loudspeaker source).
A standard Christian backing track has a music mix spread across the left and right speaker also known as the stereo field.
The split track is a remix where the instruments are completely moved to one speaker while the vocal singing is moved to the opposite speaker.
Having the instruments play on one speaker while the singing vocals are heard on the other speaker allows the same track to be used for listening, rehearsal or pure accompaniment. Split track CDs will also generally have complete albums or multiple song collections on a single CD disc.
Both standard Christian accompaniment tracks and split tracks have their applications. Split tracks work very well in the worship service during congregational singing. Especially in a children’s church situation and children’s ministry.
The left and right speakers’ volume can be raised or lowered easily to allow the pre-recorded vocal singing to enhance the live congregational singing. With kids, this can be very helpful indeed. When singing as a group it is common for people to follow the pitch of the group as a whole. Also, it enhances memory of the lyrics.
There are two main ways to use Christian and Gospel split tracks on either a standard stereo system or a church sound system that uses a mixing board. Each has its own aspect of operation in order to play the Christian accompaniment split tracks.
For a standard stereo, find the balance control which is normally set in the center so the left and right speakers play the audio output equally on both stereo speakers. Upon playing a split track from a standard CD player you will notice one speaker has all the musical instruments while the other speaker has all the singing vocals. Move the balance control knob either left or right and the result will be a custom mix where either the instruments or the vocals can be made louder or softer in reference to each other.
In a church rehearsal situation, the balance control can remain in the center or moved toward the vocal side so that learning the song will become much easier. For the performance the balance control can be turned toward the instruments side to eliminate the recorded vocals altogether.
For a children’s church situation, a small amount of the original recorded vocals can be allowed which will enhance the children’s live performance. The children’s Music Director can slowly diminish the amount of prerecorded vocal as the kids learned the song. This works well for adults also.
The speaker with the vocals can be positioned toward the singing group while the speaker with the instruments can be positioned toward the audience (congregation). This creates a vocal monitor for the live singers to reference. This technique works extremely well for children’s programs.
Christian split tracks work very well in these situations. The Gospel backing tracks known as split tracks make learning new songs easier for everyone and enhances a successful music program.
The other use of Christian accompaniment split tracks is using a church sound system with a mixing board. A mixing board has individual channels to connect microphones and Instruments. Each channel can be individually raised and lowered to properly mix the sound. Then these individual channels are controlled by a master left and right to a comfortable volume.
With split track CDs, insert a CD player’s left and right output into individual mixer board channels. You will be pleasantly surprised at the amount of control you can have using accompaniment split track CDs with your mixing board.
For simplicity, let’s say channel one is left while channel two is for the right. On each mixer channel you should find a knob that is labeled “pan“. This pan control is usually set in the center and moves left to right sending the signal to the left or right speaker proportional to the direction it is pointing. Take the pan control for channel one and rotate it completely to the left. Take the pan control for channel two and turn it completely to the right. Set both channel one and channel two slider volume controls (known as the “faders”) to equal levels. You will now hear a standard playback.
In order to have the music instruments play equally on the left and right speaker move that channel’s pan control back to the center. Remove the pre-recorded vocals by moving that channel’s level (the slider volume control) down to zero. You now have only the instruments playing back through both speakers of your church sound system. It will be in mono (equal signal in all main speakers) and not stereo, but there are many experienced professional live sound engineers that will argue that for live music, a mono signal sounds best to all audience members wherever they are sitting. I fully agree with that.
If your mixing board and church sanctuary has a vocal monitor connected to the sound system you can send some of the prerecorded vocal into the monitor speakers for the singers to use as a reference.
Now you can see what advantages Christian accompaniment split tracks can offer. Christian tracks in the split track format can be of great assistance in a church worship service, children’s church, children’s ministry and a children’s music program.
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