Thoughts on Creating Accompaniment Music for Vocal Performances

As a music producer I sometimes produce MIDI orchestra that is meant to accompany a choir or vocal performance.

Here are a few things to consider when working on such a project.

  1. work with the choir director or conductor to spell out all tempo changes to make the music seemingly natural. Ritardando or accelerando are not enough. Actually write out the BPM as close as to how the actual choir would perform.
  2. instead of a fermata, write out the exact note length. 
  3. always ask the client to provide with “benchmark” music–these can be found on Youtube or downloaded elsewhere. Clients don’t always share the same musical taste as you do. Make sure you know what sound they have in mind. 
  4. ask clients many questions and confirm. Make sure they know what they’re talking about. Most of the time, they don’t know what they are talking about, so it’s your job as a producer/composer to help them think clearly.
  5. if you are convinced that their instruction will result in inferior music, prepare two versions–one following their exact instruction and the other your version which you think, in your professional opinion, is better.

A taste for music is very subjective and it can get very frustrating to work with clients with little to no musical background. The last place you want to be is doing infinite small edits. Avoid putting yourself in such a situation by doing a thorough preparation and planning ahead of time.

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