- Bern Tan
Accompaniment track resources
Updated: Apr 9, 2020
Many of us have moved to online voice lessons and online performances this spring, and with this comes the need to find accompaniment tracks, in the absence of our usual collaborative pianists. Oh how we miss working in person with them!
Here's a quick list of resources you can turn as you try to secure tracks for your lessons and performances. They are in order of the musicality of the tracks:
Collaborative pianists. Whether you are based in NYC or not, reach out to Bern for a list of NYC accompanists / MDs. They are still the best option in these times, and can provide a range of solutions for your needs, whether what you need is a quick recording, transcription services, or playable media tracks that can include clicks, doubling of the melody line, or something else. I recommend establishing a call with any accompanist ahead of time, so that you can walk them through how you approach a piece, much as you would when you walk into an audition room.
www.appcompanist.com: This is a subscription service, currently only available on iOS, although they say they're working on Android. They're offering a special longer trial membership in Spring 2020. Tracks are flexible and allow you some control over tempo and other musical elements. Tracks are played not by machine, but by humans -- collaborative pianists that span every genre.
www.letsplayitrecordings.com. Scott Lupton is an excellent music director and track maker. He has a growing library of MT pieces, and he makes naturalistic and beautiful piano tracks as well as full orchestrations. You have to provide him with good sheet music. Talk to Bern if you need help finding actual Broadway PV scores (as opposed to musicnotes or compendium scores).
www.antescofo.com. Classical-oriented mobile iOS app that allows you to choose your tempo and control tempo of playback during the song. Limited catalog of music.
www.youraccompanist.com. Classical-oriented maker of accompaniment mp3s, from across the pond! 5000+ tracks in catalog.
mp3accompanist.com. Yet another classical mp3 maker from across the pond!
www.pianotrax.com. Buy individual tracks, or join monthly or annual subscription for access to their database of tracks. MP3 tracks are played by real pianists.
www.youtube.com has many free karaoke/accompaniment tracks. In a pinch, there are online pitch shifters that allow you to convert these YouTube tracks into other keys (without changing playback speed), though this will usually change the recording quality of the piece. There are also pitch shifting plug-ins (e.g. for Chrome) that allow you to pitch-shift from the YouTube page itself. You can do the same in Firefox, by entering a string of code into Firefox Inspector, though this will also change playback speed.
www.musicnotes.com: allows you to playback music from scores available in their database. Allows you to change tempo, and toggle which track is playing -- whether just piano accompaniment or vocal line. Computer playback. Scores are transposable.
PlayScore. Available on the 'app store' of both Android and iOS. This is a music notation recognition app: you send it an image of pdf of your score, and a computer will recognize the notes and create playable score documents that allow you play back the score. You can even export the notation to editors like Finale and Sibelius. Does not support handwritten music. Allows you to change tempo, transpose.