5 new MultiTracks

New Worship MultiTracks

We released five new MultiTrack backing tracks today for use either in the Worship Backing Band MultiTrack Player or any DAW. We even include an Ableton session file for Ableton users.

The links below will take you to where you can buy the MultiTrack, Split Track, Chord Chart and also listen to the 30 second audio preview.

Don’t forget the EveryKey Chord Charts

With all new releases we now create a complementary EveryKey Chord Chart (and have these for much of the back catalogue too). These are available for a small fee (we have to charge due to publisher’s licensing restrictions). EveryKey chord charts give you the song in 12 keys plus a Nashville chart. On a single page the charts follow the backing track structure over easy-to-read four bar sections so you can follow along even if you don’t know the song. As well as lyrics, there is also a capo guide, strumming pattern, clearly labelled song sections and even a song arrangement structure.

Real world transitions between song sections and what happens with MultiTracks

We get the odd email at Worship Backing Band asking us about the transitions between song sections when people are using the repeat, loop or jump functionality. They find that sometimes it can sound a little “ragged”.

This isn’t actually an error in the software but what is realistically likely to happen from a musical and congregational perspective when sections of songs are repeated whether live or with backing tracks.

song sections

Looping and skipping to new song sections using Worship Backing Band is easy with either single key strokes or a simple pedal but be aware that not all songs are written with looping functionality in mind so it’s often better done with a live lead singer to avoid a “ragged” sound.

In reality, there are many songs across the board where the vocal line doesn’t start bang on beat 1, it uses a pick up bar so might start on beat 3 or 4 of the previous bar. But this only is really to do with the vocals and not the rest of the music, so if you wanted to go from, say, the Chorus and back to the first verse and switch off the vocals those changes will work seamlessly together.

Given that the Worship Backing Band MultiTrack Player is a tool designed for filling in for missing musicians in a real world worship band context rather than really being designed as a substitute for the entire band. So in a typical use case, if you play the track whether with a live band or tracks and take the song in a sudden, and not anticipated direction you’d need a good lead singer to guide the congregation into that change anyway. So in all real scenarios your singer would fill in for that change across the bar and if they couldn’t sing that change live its something that’s probably unlikely to happen congregationally from purely a musicality perspective.

Pro Wav Band MixThis is why most even pro live bands without backing tracks tend to only repeat big chorus’s at the end of the song, maybe a ‘building’ section or go back to an early verse where you bring the dynamic of the entire band back down. To do much else doesn’t make much ‘musical’ sense. Similarly if you wanted to jump from say a really quiet verse in a song straight into the big final chorus at the end it would line up metronomically but you would notice and massive and sudden jump in the volume dynamics. This could be seen as not having a seamless ‘join’ even though its timing correct, but in reality its not something that would do in a time of worship.

So in working with the player you have to make a real world judgement call on what is likely to happen live. If you’ve got a great lead singer, do switch the vocals off, have a go at jumping around the song and the changes will follow you in time, but we do recommend that if there’s no lead singer the congregation are unlikely to be able to cope with an ‘off piste’ manoeuvres anyway.

Working with backing tracks and MultiTracks

worship multitracksTechnology in worship is here whether you like it or not

It’s amazing how much technology drives and redefines the very sounds of the music we make. From electric guitars to sound on sound recording, then synthesisers, decks, loops and now recorded elements being integrated into live music, all these new technologies serve as the paint brush to create new sounds, which changes the very music we make, whether we like it or not.

And when it comes to live and particularly live worship music, the introduction of the drummer’s click track a few years ago has had a massive effect on the sound of worship songs. But now again the wheel has turned and backing and multi tracks used alongside live worship bands is becoming a reality for more and more churches.

Even churches with lots of musicians are using backing tracks

Of course it’s not just churches with missing musicians that use tracks to fill out the sound, there are plenty of larger churches with full compliments of musicians using tracks to produce more of an ‘original album’ sound that simply can’t be recreated with a 5 or 6 piece band.

Wherever you stand on the merits of production verses participation in live worship, there are a number of things to consider before launching a track on an unsuspecting congregation (or even band)!

Three things to avoid making mistakes with backing tracks

  1. Firstly, treat playing to tracks like learning new instrument. Playing in time to a click track is actually quite difficult if you’re not used to it so practice it together as a team A LOT before you introduce it into a live church setting. If your track has a click track element do make sure it’s loud enough to be easily heard over the live instruments. If it doesn’t have a click try to crank up the treble frequencies so that the snare, hi-hats and other rhythmic elements can be picked out. You’ll soon discover which team members unintentionally speed up or slow down and they’ll need to invest some hard work into improving their timing. Being frank, if you do have musicians who simply can’t play in time you’ll either have to abandon working with tracks for the time being or ask them to take and break and get some lessons to develop this fundamental core skill.
  2. The next difficulty is following the arrangement. If your backing tracks have mixable vocals then do add them into the monitor mixes at low level so everyone, including vocalists, have sung cues to follow. Conversely trying to follow a vocal-less track can lead to awkward moments getting lost somewhere in the song structure. If that’s true for your tracks do make copious notes to map out the structure; making special note of odd length chorus repeats, number of intro link sections bars etc. You’ll be surprised how many things can catch you out. We’ve found plenty of strong vocalists missing where they need to come in when they are using backing tracks karaoke-style but without the benefit of the bouncing ball!Once you’ve learned your song structure well, be demonstrative in communicating that to the rest of the band as you move through the song. Use eye and body movements and spoken word vocal cues to keep everyone together and try to communicate what’s happening at least two bars ahead – not as it’s happening! Don’t get stuck in your notes or chord charts. Look up, look around. Don’t  be five individuals who happen to be playing the same song at the same time. Listen to each other. As long as you stay in time there’s plenty of scope to play off each other’s parts interact and inject meaning to make your worship music come alive!
  3. Lastly, get to know the software you’re playing the tracks on. Whether it be Ableton, Mainstage one of the proprietary worship band focused players like our own Worship Backing Band, get to know it inside out. If you’re the lead musician learn how to control it yourself rather than leaving it to another musician or sound tech. Think of it like an orchestra you conduct and learn how to make it follow you and your leading, not the other way around!


Tips for using the MultiTrack Player live


Using vocals with key change function

The pitch shift function allows you to change key 6 semitones up or down. As with ANY pitch shift engine, not just ours, vocals can be shifted up or down a lot less than the instruments before they start to sound unnatural. Therefore if you are using key change AND leaving the vocals in we’d recommend not going further than 2 semitones higher or lower. That said most churches using the key change function use it to suit their own lead singers’ vocal range so are likely to mute the vocals anyway. Do also bear in mind that to keep a song congregationally singable you probably won’t need to pitch any song more than 3 semitones in either direction.

Using tempo change

The tempo function lets you double or halve the speed of any song. Faster will of course push the dynamic a bit and slower is great for learning song parts but one word of caution…  We tend to find lots of churches play worship songs simply too fast in an effort to make the song dynamic more exciting. Do be careful with this as not only does it make the song more difficult to sing but it can lose some of the emphasis in the theme and lyrics. Listen to a pro band playing worship songs and they’ll often play them a lot slower than you think. Brenton Brown plays the song ‘Lord Reign in Me’ slower than anyone I’ve ever encountered – and he wrote it! The key to keeping the dynamic up without the speed is to play with confidence and lock tightly into the groove. Less notes, better timing, more authority. One more tip – the save song mix and tempo are independently reset so if you reset the tempo you still need to hit the save song mix button afterwards otherwise the next time you play the song it will play at the previously chosen tempo.

Using the vocal cue

The vocal cue stem is designed to give you prompts for count-ins, endings, hard to remember lyrics and band cues for the structure and arrangement of the song. If you don’t want the congregation to hear it, simply use the stem’s left/right volume slider to set up two mixes, one for the congregation through one side of your stereo output and the other side for the band. I.e. use a splitter cable from your computer’s headphone output into two channels of your church mixing desk. Then drop the stems volume slider to 0% on the congregation’s channel and boost or cut the volume on the other slider to taste into the channel that goes to the band’s fold back.

Fattening up the mix

It goes without saying that setting up and saving a song mix should be done well before you use it live in church. Most people mute the instruments stems they have playing live – but do try experimenting with leaving the some of stems unmuted that you have playing live but at a lowered volume level – e.g. 20%. Then have the live players exactly mimic those parts and it can add some real fatness and depth to the overall sound. Also if your congregation has trouble keeping with the timing try boosting the level of the drums and/or boosting the treble in the mix on your church sound desk. The treble frequencies will help bring out the top end and snare of the drums which in turn will give both congregation and band timing cues.

Playing with a click

If your team aren’t used to playing with a backing track or click do be aware it needs much more practice than you might think! Most of us think we’ve got a pretty good sense of time but you’d be surprised how easily most musicians fall ahead or behind the beat if they don’t practice to a click. So in short do try it lots in rehearsals before you use backing tracks live with a band in a service.

Click needs to be loud

Do experiment with boosting the click stem level if there’s lots of stage volume or especially if you have any older musicians who have lost some of the top end frequencies in their hearing. Research suggests this starts to happen to all of us from around age 30!

Practicing sections of songs

If you want to learn or practice a specific section of a song you don’t have to start from the beginning of the track. Simply use the < > keys on your keyboard to scroll to the desired section and hit G key (for go) and the song will instantly play from that section. As with learning any new part, make sure you practice it way more than you think you need to – both individually and collectively as a band!

Using a footswitch

The player any musician or sound tech but its primarily designed to be used by a  worship leader or musical director whose probably playing an instrument. I.e. no spare hands! Therefore once you’ve set up a song mix and playlist all you need to is hit the spacebar to start each song (remember its automatically cued up in the playlist anyway). If you’d rather use a footswitch to start the song instead try using any keystroke based foot pedal designed for gaming. Gaming footpedals generally come with a small piece of software that allows you to very simply ‘tell’ it which key strokes you want the footpedal to trigger. So setting it up to trigger the spacebar will give you total hands free operation. Gaming foot pedals are readily available online – try Ebay or Amazon.

Use the hot keys

We have programmed a number of hotkey keyboard shortcuts as follows:

esc => stop
space => play
left arrow => back (prev)
right arrow => forward (next)
‘m’ => mute
‘p’ => pause
‘>’ and ‘<‘ => scroll to section of song
‘g’ => play that song section “go”


Using foot pedals with the Worship Backing Band MultiTrack Player [Video]

The three button usb footswitch we use is designed as a gaming footswitch by a company Scythe (Amazon affiliate link).

We don’t especially recommend that pedal over any other, it is simply one that is readily available on the web and is made of metal so quite robust. That said any similar keystroke 3 button pedal should work for you. Continue reading “Using foot pedals with the Worship Backing Band MultiTrack Player [Video]”

Feedback on the Worship Backing Band MultiTrack Player

I’m an Australian professional sax player and educator with 25 years experience and I’ve been music director/arranger/band leader in a number of churches over the past 20 years or so, in addition to doing a lot of other professional work e.g. live/studio performing etc. In that time, I’ve often been in small churches where there were either no/few musicians or the musicians were very poorly skilled. I was surfing the internet a couple of nights ago and stumbled across your website and after reading about your products, was very excited because what you’ve created with your MultiTrack software is exactly – almost 100% – what I envisioned about 15 years ago: an easy-to-use, flexible, high quality praise and worship technology platform. I’ve used many software packages over the years to try and do what MultiTrack does, and I even contemplated developing my own product 15 years ago when I really started getting into music technology.

I simply wanted to congratulate your company on what you’ve created. From my experiences, I believe that many churches (and other organisations) would have to be incredibly pleased with what your MultiTrack software can do. If you guys were based in Australia, I’d even want to apply for a job with your company because not only can I see an incredible market for your products, but I’d be an enthusiastic proponent of something that I truly believe the Church has needed for many years!

MultiTrack looks incredibly easy to use. I own Ableton and a bunch of other DAWs – the majority of them are definitely too complex for many people to use for live performance if you want any degree of flexibility and reliability.

Lovely words from Gary Mulholland – thanks for the encouragement Gary!

Why Worship Backing Band MultiTrack is mono/mono rather than stereo

Worship Backing Band

We’ve had a number of queries recently on the topic of mono vs stereo outputs on the Worship Backing Band MultiTrack Player. Here’s why we decided to go the mono/mono route:

Mono/mono mixes

The stems in the player are actually mixed mono/mono (not just mono) with identical left/right mixes but crucially with completely independent left right outputs for both channels from your headphone output. It’s not a pan control, those two separate left right outputs allow you to put them into two channels of your mixing desk and are totally independent to give you a variety of options. You can pan each stem if you like to give a sense of imaging from the desk, but this only works well if you are seated in the centre of the stereo image.

Why stereo is far from ideal

If mixing in stereo, for the congregation seated off centre or further to the extreme right or left of the auditorium they only get to hear certain elements of the sound, which is why most churches mix mono anyway.

Why two independent mixes work well for a live band

Worship Backing Band’s mono/mono set up is designed for giving you two independent mixes for front of house and foldback monitors. So yes, you could just feed the click to the fold back mix only (don’t forget too that there’s a separate two bar intro click, a shaker click and a spoken word vocal cue that can also be sent to foldback) but typically if you had a not very confident lead vocalist you could feed a lot of the vocal or BV stems to fold back and then a little to front of house to boost their confidence of even have a lot more vocals in the house mix to support an out of tune vocal. Conversely the electric guitar may want a little of the multi track in the foldback to remind them of the recorded part but with only their live part being audible out front.

Also do remember most instruments (apart from keyboards) are mono anyway…

Solutions for churches that do still want a third output

Obviously the headphone output only has two outs so, a 3rd to carry a click track isn’t really an option. If you want multiple outputs we do supply a pre configured Ableton session within the stem pack of each song, so if you want to use Ableton with our tracks you’ll find all the routing flexibility you’ll ever want and much more. Do remember the Worship Backing Band Player is designed as a very straightforward solution for churches with limited technically know how so sound card routing options are beyond the knowledge base of many of our users.


The MultiTrack Player Stems Explained

Here is a detailed description of the format of the stems (individual instruments) used on the MultiTrack Player. For ease of use we’ve standardized the audio into 14 stems so as you download a new song you know where you are:

Each stem is explained below, but its also worth pointing out that each stem has a separate volume fader for the left and right hand sides of its sound. We’ve given you this for one very important reason. If you use a standard splitter cable out of your computer’s headphone socket it allows you to put the left and right hand sides into two channels in your church’s mixing desk. Then you can feed one channel to the congregation, known as a ‘Front of House’ mix and use the other side as a foldback mix to your band. If you’re brand new to this, the band basically need to hear different instrument levels to the congregation, with some stems boosted and others cut out all together in order to follow the music leader and the song.


2 Bar Click Intro This 2 bar intro click is standard on every song and helps everyone come in on cue. If you don’t want the congregation to hear the click then just put it in your foldback mix and mute the other side (see below for explanation)

Lead Vocals Even if you have a lead vocalist, this is useful on many levels. Set them low to ‘fatten up’ your own vocal or to set them high give you extra confidence and sing along. Remember not all competitor’s backing tracks have lead vocals and its pretty difficult to follow a backing track if there’s absolutely no vocal cue at all.

BV’s – Backing Vocals
These are great as a training tool too. Solo them (this mutes everything else) to hear the harmonies and then add your own harmonies for wide lush BV’s

Acoustic Guitars Most songs have acoustic guitar, where we didn’t include one we just didn’t think it needed one.

Electric Guitars 1 There are two distinct guitar parts in each song. One could be textural and the other a lead line, or two rhythm parts playing in the same place. Again try soloing the parts in practice to learn some great guitar lines for you to play live or set it low in the mix and find your own voicings to compliment what’s already there

Electric Guitars 2 As above

Keyboards 1 Keys 1 and 2 could be any combo of piano, synth, pads, Hammond organ etc. We just chose the most appropriate combinations for the song.

Keyboards 2 As above

Bass What can we say? Session standard bass guitar parts. Switch them on or off or learn the parts yourself to play along live

Drums The whole drum kit, in one stem

Extras Vary from song to song but are other elements designed to give width and texture to the recordings that are not easily grouped into the standard stem format. So programming, percussion, loops brass, extra guitars, strings pads etc

Click Track Again set this just in your foldback mix (if you don’t want the congregation to hear it) and it will help keep the whole band in time, not just the drummer!

Natural click Use the shaker loop to keep in time if you want a more ‘natural’ click sound (or aren’t using separate congregation and foldback mixes)

Vocal cue This spoken word vocal cue just reminds you of difficult to remember lyrics or song structure points, e.g “intro starts with guitar riff….2 3 4” or “repeat chorus…blessed be the name of” or “all instruments pause for soft chorus …2 3 4”

What do all the song section abbreviations mean in Worship Backing Band?


We’ve had a few customers asking about the song section abbreviations in the timeline of the Worship Backing Band MultiTrack player. We’ve tried to make them as self explanatory as possible but of course there are one or two that might mean different things to different folks. So below is a list of all the abbreviations we’ve used over the 150+ tracks we’ve produced so far, and If we’ve missed any do let us know! Of course, not every abbreviated term is commonly used by every person, so I’ve described a few of the less obvious ones below.

I – Intro – is always an intro so will never come in the middle of a song so not to be confused with and instrument (INST)

TAG – a short repeatable section often after a chorus, but not to be confused with a Bridge or a Link!

L – Link. Generally a simple 2 or 4 bar section between the end of a chorus and the start of the next verse. These tend to be very simple short chord sequences are often repeated at various points of the song so wouldn’t qualify as a BND or INST. Also L2, L3 etc. are likely to be all the same chord sequence.

BND – Band – an individual section with only the band playing that doesn’t seem like a full instrumental. Perhaps 4 gentle bars after a big chorus leading to a very quiet verse.

AL – Ad-lib. There are one or two of these and they are generally over the chorus chords. They are designed to encourage worshipers to sing something ad hoc or spontaneous. If that’s not your particular worship tradition then either sing the chorus again or miss out the section completely using the player. Also we often number each section so it’s easier for the band to understand whereabouts in the timeline the song is jumping if you choose to move from the standard arrangement. E.g. V1 and V3 may have the very same lyrics but perhaps a different dynamic so the numbers help everyone to know the difference.

Here’s the full list

I – Intro

V – Verse

VA – Verse part A

VB – Verse part B

PC – Pre-Chorus

C – Chorus

L – Link

B – Bridge

INST – Instrumental

AL – Ad-lib

BLD – Build T – Tag

BND – Band S – Solo

R – Reprise

O – Outro

E – Ending

FC – Final Chord

What about the stems?

This article explains all the instrument stems in detail.

Which Worship Backing Band option is right for your church? [Flowchart]

Flow Chart MultiTracks

Confused about the options for MultiTracks, Split Tracks and Backing Track DVDs?

Start with the question in the orange box “Do you have any musicians?” Then follow the flow chart to the best solution for you.

Here are quick links to all the products mentioned:

We’ve also got a helpful comparison table here.