The easy way to create a backing track from a midi file using RealTracks and Band-in-a-Box

For more information on creating your first song using Band-in-a-Box and RealBand check out my online video course First Song with Band-in-a-Box for Windows

In September 2016 I wrote a blog post called 6 easy steps to create a backing track using Band-in-a-Box. This blog post is still proving to be my most popular post by far with people coming across it via Google search all the time. When I published the post my good friend Charlie Fogle from the PG Music forum wrote and told me he had another method for making backing tracks and urged me to give it a try. So I recently did and the result is super (well I think so anyway)! Here is backing track for the Bee Gees song “Massachusetts”. 


Here's how I did it.

1. Find a midi file on the internet

Use Google to find and download the midi file for the song you want to make a backing track for. Two sites that I use are 
www.downloadmidi.com 
www.midiworld.com

2. Open the midi file in Band-in-a-Box

You will notice that Band-in-a-Box creates a song with some midi tracks. We know this because they are yellow


3. Find a style that suits the song

Press the "Style" button to go into the "Style Picker" window


Type the name of your song in the box at the top right hand side of the style picker window and audition a few of the styles until you find one you like and then press enter.


You will notice that Band-in-a-Box has put 5 RealTracks in the song (the tracks in green). It has also retained one midi track (the track in yellow).



The yellow midi track will contain a composite of the original midi file. If you solo this track you will hear all the midi instruments playing.

4. Isolate the melody from within the midi track

Click on the green "SEQ" button and select "Sequencer on melody track"


The melody is usually on the channel 4. To check that this is the case, just solo that specific channel. If the melody is not on channel 4, repeat the exercise with the other midi channels until you locate the melody. Note; when you have located the melody channel you can change the instrument that is used.



You can then delete all the other midi channels using the "Edit" button and selecting "Delete"



You now have a backing track with some RealTracks and a melody. You can change the chords and also change the key to suit your voice. The melody track will be transposed along with the backing.


I would love to have a listen to the backing tracks that you have made with this method. You can email them to me here 
 

7 comments

  • Karel Jacko

    Karel Jacko Czech republic

    Thank

    Thank

  • Joanne Cooper

    Joanne Cooper

    My Pleasure Karel

    My Pleasure Karel

  • Paul

    Paul Russia

    Thanks, Joanne! Pretty straightforward, though I would have opted for some other instrument for the melody track. :)

    Thanks, Joanne! Pretty straightforward, though I would have opted for some other instrument for the melody track. smile

  • Joanne Cooper

    Joanne Cooper

    My pleasure Paul. Yes I definitely could have played around with the melody track instrument. Next time :)

    My pleasure Paul. Yes I definitely could have played around with the melody track instrument. Next time smile

  • Chris

    Chris

    I never use a MIDI file as I prefer to have the lead sheet to play the melody on my instrument.

    I never use a MIDI file as I prefer to have the lead sheet to play the melody on my instrument.

  • Joanne Cooper

    Joanne Cooper

    Thanks for commenting Chris. You can still use the midi file to generate the chords for the back track and then mute the melody and play along with the lead sheet on an instrument. Hope this helps.

    Thanks for commenting Chris. You can still use the midi file to generate the chords for the back track and then mute the melody and play along with the lead sheet on an instrument. Hope this helps.

  • bobbiedollme

    bobbiedollme san jose CA

    awesome! i needed that

    awesome! i needed that

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