Big orchestral string backing tracks are becoming more and more common in pop music, in particular when a producer is going for that huge, ‘anthemic’ kind of sound. If you’ve got the budget to hire Abbey Road studio 1 and the London Philharmonic Orchestra to play the notes on the page for you, then go for ‘cos it’ll be hard to beat! But what about the rest of us poor impoverished musicians, producers and engineers? How can you recreate that sound without having to shell out all that cash?
Well, it’s simple really; the answer is pre-recorded samples. If you could obtain recordings of each instrumental section playing all the notes in its range individually, then you could string them together in the right order and play them back to give you any combination of instruments playing any melodic and harmonic part you could come up with!
The Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra has done all of this for you. It is a collection of samples built up from several different sample banks from various orchestras, percussionists and musicians etc. to give you access to a complete orchestra.
To give you an idea of what you can do with the samples, here’s a link to their demo track.
So as you can hear, the samples do sound a bit too false in places to be upfront in a mix, and of course they won’t match up to recording a live orchestra from scratch, but they will certainly do just fine for some gentle ‘padding’ behind your track. Best of all of course, they are completely free!
[image via lorenzog]