I have a few originals I am ready to professionally record and want to provide the musicians that will be recording with me an opportunity to listen to a "skeleton" of the song (most basic outline possible) so they can practice and figure out a few different parts and be ready to collaborate on the final piece. What is the best wasy to prepare this? What should be included in the "outline" recording? Metronome, vocals, guitar, keyboard, etc?

Thanks in advance!

3 Answers 3


I really think you should ask them.

There's no point busting a gut to transcribe your parts to a score, only to find out that your musician prefers picking things up by ear.

Likewise there's no point just giving an MP3 to a musician who can't play by ear and needs the notes written down.

Different musicians think in different ways. The only way to find out is to ask.


I guess it depends on what the musicians you're working with are familiarized with and the level of detail you want to express.

Based on what you asked I'd suggest that you get a hold of some music notation software and transcribe the parts of the song that you think are most important for the musicians to grasp your composition. Later you can export a .midi file (that can be played in almost any computer or music compatible equipment like keyboards) and send it to them. You can even send the notation file created by the software so they can listen, read and modify the piece.

As for what software you should use I'd suggest something like Finale, Guitar Pro or Tuxguitar (a free open source clone of GuitarPro that I like a lot). There are a lot more of these than I know about and choice between them is mostly a matter of taste, at least for the task I'm proposing.


I feel always the best is, when you have your own musical ideas with your own instrument programmed in a MIDI file or even a guitar pro file together with ideas that you might want to see (open for different of course) for the other instruments.

I've seen many people do the track-by-track recording as such. They create a single running example file floating around and everybody prepares for that accordingly. Then, during the recording/mixing phase (if you have) the producer changes things here and there hoping that the musicians can keep up. (the song can start as reggae and might end up like a rock song depending on the context) So you start by recording the drums and the bass and the song is updated whenever you have finished tracks (or at least almost as the final product). Iterations are still possible.

The idea of a MIDI file is that you can mute certain channels and work on it while you still have the remaining skeleton. Pro Tools/Reason/Cubase etc. all are nice but sometimes difficult to have it on everybody's computer, hence something like a midi which is (should be at least) universal in all computer frameworks (as far as I know of).

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