What Is a Drum Track?

A drum track is the part of a sound recording that is solely dedicated to the drums. What is referred to as the “drum track” in multitrack recording is usually made up of several different tracks. Each component of the drum kit is recorded with its own microphone, which is assigned to its own track on the mixing board. For example, one track might just be the snare drum, while another might just be the crash cymbal, with ambient sound captured an overhead microphone. All of these different elements, when combined, represent the drum tracks.

Many songwriters use a drum track to assist them in writing songs. Rather than programming a drum machine for a demo or trying to find inspiration from prerecorded drum loops, songwriters often find that working with drum tracks makes the process much easier. Specialty CDs containing only these tracks are widely available. Each one includes a variety of grooves ranging from Latin jazz to hip-hop beats to rock power ballads, which the songwriter can use to create a new song. A songwriting approach that starts with just a groove and works its way up is known as “building from the bottom up.”

Drum tracks are available in almost any time signature or meter. Well-known session drummers from music capitals like Nashville, Los Angeles, London, and New York City are frequently used. Each track will contain various sections such as the verse, bridge, and chorus, and will be performed the drummer. Drummers place fills where they’re needed and execute dynamic changes.

Some songwriters will pay to have a custom drum track recorded for a song or even an entire album, in addition to working with commercially available drum tracks. Many top-tier session drummers are also available to create customized drum tracks. The songwriter usually gives the drummer a demo or “scratch” version of the song to work with after hiring an available studio drummer for the job. Other times, the drummer is only hired to record drum tracks for the final mix of a song. This is the finished product, which will be mass-produced and sold in the future.

A “click track” is always used when recording a drum track. On a separate track, there is an electronic metronome. During the count-off, the drummer uses this to set the song’s tempo. To be accurate, the click track must be meticulously synchronized with all of the other tracks. Click tracks are only used as a guide for the drummer during the recording process; the recording engineer later removes them so that listeners do not hear a constant clicking sound.