Track Orders

by Matt Ho


A few ways to organise your sessions to keep your projects neat

We’ve all been there. Creating and creating at the spur of the moment, and not naming tracks until somebody asks - what are these tracks? And then you realised - you only know that they sound good together, and not what each one of them are individually?

Well, this is where good organisation comes in handy - here are a couple of ways to help organise your projects (and your creative process) to launch you back into an old project!


Naming Tracks

There isn’t a “correct” way of naming a track. If you want to use abbreviations, or abstract names for other-worldly synth sounds, do it! There are also certain conventions you can try if you’d like somebody to easily navigate your projects.

For example, if you have multiple vocal lines, you can use BGV to start a Backing Vocal track name, and name the individual ones with what part they are (A, B, C etc) and use numbers (1, 2, 3 etc) to denote which voice they are of that part.

If you have a couple of basslines, you can use the type of Bass (Electric, Synth, 808s) to distinguish them, and add a Lo or Hi suffix to say what octave they are.

There are no rules! Whatever works for you, works for you!


Orders

Different orders of tracks you may encounter, and choose from

As with the track naming convention, there is no absolute “correct” way to do this - only preferences! Whatever suits you best, you can adapt it to your workflow (or mix and match!)


Vocal Top

Exactly as the name suggests, this order begins with Vocals. I have seen this order used by modern, in-the-box producers. An example of this order would be:

  • Lead Vocals
  • Background Vocals
  • Auxiliary Instruments (Strings, Horns)
  • Synth, Keys
  • Piano
  • Guitar
  • Bass
  • FX
  • Drums

Drum Top

This is especially popular with engineers who have worked in large console control rooms for live recordings - as the mic inputs would usually come from the first channels at Kick mics. An example of this order would be:

  • Drums
  • Bass
  • Guitar
  • Piano
  • Synth
  • Auxiliary Instruments
  • Percussion
  • Lead Vocals
  • Backing Vocals

Orchestral

With composers and arrangers who work with large arrangements with strings and horns (or even large orchestral sized ensembles), some might prefer to order their projects as they are written in the score. An example of this order would be:

  • Woodwinds
  • Brass
  • Percussion
  • Drums
  • Synth
  • Piano/Keys
  • Vocals
  • Strings

Now it is your turn. Feel free to use any of the above, alter them, or mix and match to your heart’s content!

Training Subject
DAW
Production
Audio Editing
Mixing
Recording
Tags
Creative Technology Center
Knowledge base
Last modified
11/10/2020 - 3:59pm
Author
hho@berklee.edu